Arsenal, Chelsea start with wins

London, August 12:

Arsenal scored two goals in the last seven minutes to beat Fulham 2-1 in the Premier League today and make up for an embarrassing blunder by goalie Jens Lehmann.

Chelsea also conceded an early goal against Birmingham but hit back to win 3-2 and set a record 64 games unbeaten at home, moving ahead of the Liverpool team that went 63 unbeaten from 1978-81.

After Lehmann’s mistake had allowed David Healy to score, Robin van Persie equalised from the penalty spot in the 84th and Alexander Hleb netted the winner in the 90th.

The match was only 52 seconds old when Lehmann gave Fulham a goal. Lehmann collected a back pass from Gael Clichy and failed to control as he tried to pass it to the left back. The ball rolled to Healy who stabbed the ball into the net.

Gunners equalised when Carlos Bocanegra blocked Kolo Toure and conceded a penalty. Van Persie converted the spot kick. Arsenal chased the winner and it came from Hleb’s 12-meter shot in the final minute.

Striker Mikael Forssell gave Birmingham the lead in the 15th. The Finn’s header sent Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech the wrong way after Liam Ridgewell had flicked on a free kick by Gary McSheffrey. Claudio Pizarro equalised in the 17th with a low shot from Shaun Wright-Phillips’ cross despite Birmingham goalkeeper Colin Doyle getting both hands to the ball. Florent Malouda made it 2-1 in the 31st after Salomon Kalou put him clear of the defense. But Birmingham levelled five minutes later. Michael Essien made it 3-2 with a 20-meter shot in the 50th.

When the season kicked off on Saturday, former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson marked his first game in the Premier League with a victory when Manchester City won 2-0 at West Ham.

Sunderland upset Tottenham 1-0 at home after an injury-time goal by Michael Chopra, and Steven Gerrard’s 25-meter free kick earned Liverpool a 2-1 victory at Aston Villa. Sam Allardyce guided Newcastle to a 3-1 victory at former club Bolton, Everton edged Wigan 2-1, Blackburn won 2-1 at Middlesbrough, and promoted Derby drew 2-2 with Portsmouth.