Chelsea draws, United and Arsenal secure big wins

Associated Press Modified: September 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm •  Published: September 15, 2012

LONDON (AP) — Chelsea dropped its first points of the season in a 0-0 draw against local rival Queens Park Rangers, and the non-handshake between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry upstaged big home wins by Arsenal and Manchester United in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Arsenal's 6-1 thrashing of Southampton and a 4-0 victory for United over Wigan — sparked by Paul Scholes' goal in his 700th game for the club — allowed both teams to leapfrog defending champion Manchester City, which was held to 1-1 at Stoke.

A top four filled with the likely title contenders is led by Chelsea, whose perfect start to the campaign ended with the stalemate at QPR in a game overshadowed by Ferdinand's snub of Terry in the pre-match handshake.

It continued their feud following a racism row that began last season when Terry, the Chelsea and England defender, was accused of racially abusing Ferdinand in the corresponding match at Loftus Road.

Terry was acquitted in court in July but awaits a Football Association charge relating to the same case, and feelings continue to run high.

Ferdinand blanked both Terry and Ashley Cole, who gave evidence on behalf of his Chelsea teammate in the court case, in the team handshake while Terry was booed and jeered throughout by a hostile crowd.

"Everybody focused on the football and of course there would be high emotion but both sets of players played very professionally," Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo said. "As far as we are concerned, our players offered (their hands to Ferdinand) and if the other player doesn't want to receive it, then we move on."

After three straight wins, Chelsea will not be too unhappy with a point after being stretched for long periods by a west London neighbor which has picked up only two points from four games this season.

Park Ji-sung, who also refused to shake Terry's hand, headed a great chance straight at Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech before Bobby Zamora wasted another second-half opportunity after intercepting a dreadful back pass by John Obi Mikel. After dribbling around Cech, Zamora's shot was cleared off the line by Terry.

"We acquitted ourselves really well," QPR manager Mark Hughes said. "We were assured and calm and we dictated to the European champions for long periods."

Chelsea is a point clear of United, whose third straight victory came after four second-half goals at Old Trafford.

The 37-year-old Scholes scored his 163rd goal for United to put the team ahead in the 51st minute before strikes by Javier Hernandez, Alexander Buttner and Nick Powell — the last two scoring on their debuts — in a 20-minute span. Hernandez missed a fifth-minute penalty in a sluggish first half for the hosts.

Continue reading this story on the...