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City win marks Pep’s 700th managerial game

Chelsea took the overnight lead in the Premier League on Saturday as they earned a 3-1 win over Leeds at Stamford Bridge in front of fans for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

Frank Lampard’s side have 22 points to top the table, which is one ahead of previous joint leaders Tottenham and champions Liverpool, who both play on Sunday.

Earlier, Manchester United claimed another 3-1 comeback victory against West Ham in the first game to welcome 2,000 fans back to the London Stadium.

United unseated their rivals Manchester City in fourth after Raheem Sterling scored his first goal since October in a 2-0 win over 17th-placed Fulham that saw Pep Guardiola’s men move into the top six.

And Everton picked up a 1-1 draw at Burnley with Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring his 11th league goal of the season.

Patrick Bamford grabbed the opening goal for Leeds with four minutes played against his former club Chelsea.

Oliver Giroud levelled the scores before half-time with goals from Reece James and Christian Pulisic in injury time rounded off the win, which extends their unbeaten run in all competitions to 16 matches.

“We knew it was a big task. Character-wise and performance-wise, on lots of levels, I’m absolutely delighted,” said Chelsea boss Lampard.

“It’s amazing what 2,000 (supporters) can do. They brought their voices and support against a good team. I was nervous of Leeds. They’re a threat until the end if you don’t get a cushion.”

London is in tier 2 of the British government’s coronavirus restrictions system, which meant up to 2,000 fans were allowed to watch West Ham’s clash with Manchester United in the stadium. No away supporters are allowed.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted not to start Rashford or playmaker Bruno Fernandes, but their introduction in the second-half massively improved his side’s performance.

Tomas Soucek scored to give the Hammers a half-time lead but United recovered with three goals in 13 second-half minutes from Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford to clinch their ninth consecutive away victory.

Fernandes set up Pogba for a stunning long-range strike into the top right corner to level the scores in the 65th minute.

Greenwood scored three minutes later before Rashford finished off a long pass from Juan Mata.

United move one point ahead of neighbours City, who were in dominant form against Fulham, despite no fans in the stadium because Manchester is in the highest tier 3 level of restrictions.

Sterling raced through to collect Kevin De Bruyne’s pass and slot in the opener after five minutes before the England winger earned a 26th-minute penalty, which was confidently converted by De Bruyne.

Guardiola’s City started the day in 11th but are now fifth with 18 points.

“We struggled at the beginning of the season for many reasons,” Guardiola said.

“Now four games, four clean sheets. It’s so important for us to maintain this solidity.”

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