Soccer-Villa maintain perfect start, Bale's Spurs return eclipsed by West Ham fight back
By Martyn Herman
LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Aston Villa preserved the Premier League's only 100% record as Ross Barkley's late goal earned them a 1-0 win at Leicester City on Sunday to move into second place, one point behind early leaders Everton whose perfect start ended on Saturday.
Gareth Bale's first appearance for Tottenham Hotspur for seven years, following his loan move from Real Madrid, was eclipsed by West Ham United who scored three times late on to draw 3-3 in the London derby.
Brighton and Hove Albion scored late to earn a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. Sheffield United and Fulham also drew 1-1 as both teams picked up their first points.
Villa's dream start to the new season, following last season's narrow escape from relegation, continued as Barkley sealed a generally dour Midlands derby in stoppage time -- his second goal since joining from Chelsea.
Dean Smith's side have won four out of four, the first time Villa have done that in the top flight since the 1930-31 campaign when they went on to finish second.
"An important win today," Barkley, who also scored in the 7-2 win over champions Liverpool before the international break, said. "I dedicated that goal to the physio because I was 50-50 in the week and he did a really good job getting me right."
Villa are one point behind Everton who drew 2-2 with Liverpool in a controversial Merseyside derby on Saturday which left Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk with a serious knee injury that will require surgery.
While the Premier League goal rush slowed a little on Sunday, it did not in north London where Tottenham and West Ham battled out an extraordinary derby.
Son Heung-min put Tottenham ahead inside a minute and two goals from Harry Kane had Spurs three up after 16 minutes.
Bale, back at the club he left in 2013 to start a trophy-laden career at Real Madrid, came off the bench in the 72nd minute for his eagerly-awaited homecoming, but the script was not written for the Welsh winger.
Fabian Balbuena's 82nd minute header and Davinson Sanchez's own goal set up a nervy finale and then in the fourth minute of stoppage time Manuel Lanzini fired an unstoppable shot from outside the area to spark wild celebrations from the visitors.
Bale missed a great chance when the score was 3-2.
"That's three matches at home and two draws that could perfectly be two victories, and it's a big punishment because we look to the table and it's difficult to believe after scoring so many goals and playing so well that we only have eight points," Spurs manager Jose Mourinho said.
West Ham are the first team in Premier League history to avoid defeat in a game having trailed by at least three goals as late as the 81st minute.
"We are playing against a team everyone is talking about and after 10 minutes I was thinking 'is this going to be six or seven?' We changed and it made us better," West Ham manager David Moyes said.
Palace had hung on to the lead given them by Wilfried Zaha's 19th-minute penalty but three points would have been more than they deserved against their arch-rivals Brighton.
Substitute Alexis Mac Allister netted in the 90th minute to give Brighton a point although they had Lewis Dunk sent off in stoppage time for a poor tackle on Gary Cahill.
Sheffield United substitute Billy Sharp converted a late penalty to earn his side a point against Fulham who had taken the lead shortly before when Ademola Lookman marked his first start with an excellent solo effort.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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