Defending champion Arsenal stretched its unbeaten streak in the Premier League to 49 games yesterday in London, beating Aston Villa, 3-1, behind two goals by Robert Pires.

Second-place Chelsea lost, 1-0, at Manchester City, leaving Arsenal in first by five points with eight victories in nine league games heading into next Sunday's game with Manchester United.

Lee Hendrie opened the scoring with an early goal for visiting Aston Villa. But Pires evened the score with a penalty kick before Thierry Henry put Arsenal ahead and then set up the third goal for his French countryman.

"It was not an expected start," Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger said. "But from then on I felt we developed a fantastic game and created chance after chance."

Chelsea lost its unbeaten record thanks to an 11th-minute penalty kick by former Arsenal star Nicolas Anelka at Manchester. It was only the second league goal conceded by Chelsea this season.

Third-place Everton edged struggling Southampton, 1-0, on a last-minute goal by Leon Osman. Liverpool rallied from two goals down to win, 4-2, at Fulham.

* PRO BASKETBALL: Chris Crawford of the Atlanta Hawks will miss the entire season because of a torn ligament in his right knee.

Crawford was injured Thursday during an exhibition game in Birmingham when he was fouled by Minnesota's Kevin Garnett as Crawford tried to convert a steal into a transition basket.

An MRI exam revealed that Crawford tore the anterior cruciate ligament, sprained the medial collateral ligament and tore cartilage, Hawks trainer Wally Blase said.

"This is certainly a tough thing for Chris personally and for our team," Hawks General Manager Billy Knight said. "We feel bad for him because he's worked diligently to recover from past injuries, and would have been a major part of our rotation. We wish him all the best in his recovery."

Crawford averaged 10.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 56 games last season. In 25 starts, he averaged 19.0 points and 5.1 rebounds. . . .

Toronto Raptors point guard Alvin Williams lost his starting job because of an injured right knee. Now, he's worried he might need season-ending surgery.

"Right now, I'm not even practicing," Williams said.

Williams missed Toronto's first preseason game on Friday and won't play today against Philadelphia.

* COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Oklahoma State Coach Eddie Sutton expects to be fully recovered from an offseason back injury in time for the Cowboys' season opener.

Sutton, who cracked bones in his lower back in a fall in July, carried a wooden cane on the sideline during the Cowboys' open practice yesterday in front of about 10,000 fans at Gallagher-Iba Arena in a celebration leading up to the school's homecoming football game.

"It'll heal," said Sean Sutton, Eddie Sutton's son and the team's designated head coach. "The best thing he can do is rest."

* TENNIS: Lindsay Davenport lost to defending champion Anastasia Myskina, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), in the Kremlin Cup semifinals in Moscow but will still regain the No. 1 ranking next week. Elena Dementieva defeated Elena Bovina, 6-4, 7-5, in the other semifinal and will face Myskina in the first all-Russian final at the Kremlin Cup.

In the men's semis, Greg Rusedski of Britain upset third-seeded Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia, 6-4, 6-3. He will next play eighth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, who topped fifth-seeded countryman Mikhail Youzhny, 7-5, 6-7 (7-5), 7-5.

Davenport will reclaim the top spot in women's tennis from Amelie Mauresmo, who skipped the Kremlin Cup because of a strained thigh.

* BASEBALL: A fan has sued the Florida Marlins, alleging his face was bloodied by a souvenir baseball thrown into the stands by a player at a World Series game last October.

Steve Badillo, 44, claims Marlins center fielder Juan Pierre hit him with a ball after completing warmup throws before the fourth inning of Game 4 between the Marlins and the New York Yankees last October.

Badillo is seeking unspecified damages, the Miami Herald reported. He claims his nose and right eye were bloodied and that he was hospitalized.

-- From News Services