West Bromwich Albion are third after edging out Reading at The Hawthorns, and Sunderland are still unbeaten but without a win following a draw at West Ham United.
Southampton overcame Aston Villa to pick up their first points of the campaign, while Hugo Rodallega returned to haunt Wigan as Fulham ran out winners at the DW Stadium.
Chelsea were made to work hard at home against Stoke and had to show great patience before ultimately prevailing 1-0 thanks to Ashley Cole’s late strike.
Roberto Di Matteo decided to rest Frank Lampard and John Terry after Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League exploits in midweek, and it was a tale of frustration in the first half as the considerable attacking talents of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar and Fernando Torres were well contained by Stoke, who came closest to taking the lead before the break when Jon Walters headed against the crossbar.
The breakthrough eventually came from an unlikely source with just five minutes to go, as Cole took up the No.9 position and provided the finish to Mata’s assist.
Everton had temporarily joined Chelsea on ten points at the top of the table after maintaining their impressive start to the season with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Swansea City in the early kick-off.
Victor Anichebe broke the deadlock midway through the first half after strong play by Marouane Fellaini, before a flowing move presented Kevin Mirallas with the opportunity to open his Premier League account.
Any chance of a Swansea comeback was effectively extinguished in the 58th minute when Nathan Dyer was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Everton took advantage of their extra man to increase their advantage through Fellaini’s deflected header with eight minutes remaining.
Saints up and running
Southampton battled back to crush Aston Villa 4-1 at St Mary’s and climb off the foot of the table.
Southampton’s defensive frailties were exposed by Arsenal last weekend and they fell behind to an extremely soft goal as Darren Bent seized on a loose ball to fire home from close range for his first Premier League goal since February.
Rickie Lambert drew Saints level early in the second half with a well-taken finish after collecting Adam Lallana’s cross and making room for himself on the edge of the area.
Nathaniel Clyne made it 2-1 to Southampton after latching on to Gaston Ramirez’s clever flick to slot coolly past Brad Guzan, and Jason Puncheon’s shot from a tight angle deflected in off Ciaran Clark to provide a two-goal cushion.
Lambert then put the icing on the cake with a late penalty after Guzan had brought down Emmanuel Mayuka.
Southampton’s victory left Reading occupying bottom place after they were beaten 1-0 by West Brom.
West Brom suffered their first defeat of the season against Fulham last weekend but they always looked the better team against Reading and were unlucky not to take the lead in the first half when Jonas Olsson’s header crashed off the post.
The Baggies were not to be denied, though, and grabbed the decisive goal of the contest thanks to Romelu Lukaku’s low strike from the edge of the area which flew through a crowd of players.
Sunderland had to settle for a fourth straight draw after being pegged back to 1-1 by West Ham at Upton Park.
Steven Fletcher’s hot streak continued as he opened the scoring for the Black Cats inside ten minutes, although James Collins and Jussi Jaaskelainen could both perhaps have done better to avert the danger.
Kevin Nolan was denied an equaliser before half-time as Simon Mignolet produced a stunning save to keep out his acrobatic volley, but he salvaged a point for his side in dramatic style in stoppage time.
Wigan were beaten 2-1 at home as Rodallega scored against his former club to help Fulhamconsolidate their position in the top half of the standings.
There was an unusual incident after a quarter of an hour when referee Lee Probert suffered an injury scare after being caught in the middle of a challenge between Ben Watson and Steve Sidwell, but he was fine to continue.
Fulham then went in front through Rodallega, who decided not to celebrate after jumping highest to head home Dimitar Berbatov’s cross.
Damien Duff smashed in a second in the 68th minute following good work by substitute Bryan Ruiz, and Fulham held on for three points despite Aroune Kone’s late strike.