Barclays Premier League Title Race-  Season 2011/12
Part One of Two: August to December
Photo Gallery

 

 

By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor 

 

 

A sharp looking Fernando Torres couldn't find a way past a resolute Stoke defence as Chelsea drew 0-0 at the Britannia Stadium on the opening weekend in new manager Andre Villas-Boas' first match in charge

 

 

Manchester United began the defence of their title with a trip to the Hawthorns at the start of the new season with Wayne Rooney opening the scoring in a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion  

 

 

Substitute Sergio Aguero scored twice on his Manchester City debut as Roberto Mancini's men netted four in the second half to romp to a 4-0 opening victory over newly promoted Swansea City on the first Monday night match of the campaign

 

 

In the third round of matches into the season, Edin Dzeko scored four as Manchester City ran riot at White Hart Lane winning 5-1 in a one-sided contest against Tottenham

 

 

While the extraordinary afternoon continued as Manchester United responded with a brutal 8-2 demolition of a bewildered Arsenal at Old Trafford with an unstoppable Wayne Rooney (pictured above) scoring a hat-trick in a goal fest at Old Trafford

 

 

Manchester City dropped their first points of the Premier League season on 18th September with the Cottagers coming from 2-0 down to grab a share of the spoils as Danny Murphy's shot (above) is deflected in off Vincent Kompany

 

 

Manchester United kept up their 100% start to the season later in the day by disposing of Chelsea at Old Trafford with a clinical 3-1 victory in which Chris Smalling peeled away in celebration after scoring the opening goal- his first in the Premier League for the Red Devils

 

 

Mario Balotelli (pictured above) calmly strokes the ball past Tim Howard to help Manchester City beat a stubborn Everton side to return to the top of the Premier League on 24th September

 

 

Stoke City's record signing Peter Crouch heads in a second half equaliser for the Potters as United are held to a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium in the day's late kick-off to end the Red Devils' perfect start to the Premier League season

 

 

Manchester United could only draw again a week later as Javier Hernandez came off the substitutes bench to earn them a 1-1 draw at Anfield in which Wayne Rooney was omitted from the starting eleven 

 

 

United's draw at Liverpool meant that Manchester City went top of the Premier League table with a comfortable 4-1 win against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium with the eccentric Mario Balotelli (pictured) producing a fine overhead kick for the first goal

 

 

On 23rd October, Manchester City went five points clear at the top of the table as they humiliated their rivals with a 6-1 demolition at Old Trafford as the Argentine international Sergio Aguero (pictured above) collects the ball after adding his name to the scoresheet in the first derby meeting of the season

 

 

Chelsea's title challenge hit a stumbling block as they lost 1-0 in a tempestuous West London derby at Queens Park Rangers in a game which they ended with only nine men as Didier Drogba was shown a straight red card by referee Chris Foy (shown above) after Jose Bosingwa had been dismissed

 

 

Manchester United dropped points once again as Javier Hernandez (above) opened the scoring against Newcastle United but a controversial penalty gave the Magpies a 1-1 draw giving City the chance to go further clear in their match at Anfield the following day

 

 

City captain Vincent Kompany rises to head the Sky Blues infront but they were pegged back just a minute later as they drew 1-1 with Liverpool in a match which saw Mario Balotelli given his marching orders but Mancini's side still maintain their five point lead

 

 

Wayne Rooney (pictured) netted a cool double as United confidently saw off Wolves on 10th December to cut the gap at the top of the Premier League to just three points

 

 

And City's lead at the top remained three points as they lost their first Premier League match of the season at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea's Frank Lampard (above) converts from the penalty spot as the Blues kept alive their own feint hopes of catching the two Manchester clubs

 

 

Bulgarian international Dimitar Berbatov was the star of the show as his hat-trick set United on their way to a thumping 5-0 win over struggling Wigan on Boxing Day at Old Trafford

 

 

While Manchester City surprisingly were frustrated by West Bromwich Albion in an entertaining goalless draw at the Hawthorns as they failed to score for the first time in a Premier League game this campaign to leave them top only on goal difference

 

Click here for the second part of the Premier League title race photo gallery

 

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