LONDON: Liverpool took over the leadership of the English Premier League after Chelsea inflicted Manchester City’s first defeat of the season at Stamford Bridge.
Strikers were conspicuous by their absence, with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and City’s Raheem Sterling deployed in the ‘false nine’ position, and the hosts absorbed repeated pressure from Pep Guardiola’s men before earning a 2-0 win.
Infrequent goalscorer N’Golo Kante gave Chelsea the lead on the stroke of half-time, completing a devastating counter-attack by scoring with the Blues’ first shot of the game, and David Luiz headed in a second 12 minutes from time.
City had been unbeaten in 21 games, since April’s defeat in the Manchester derby, and now sit a point behind Liverpool. Chelsea are third, eight points behind Liverpool.
Chelsea had lost to Tottenham and Wolves in their prior three league games, with many anticipating a heavy defeat to City.
Maurizio Sarri either was not aware or did not take heed of Hazard’s comments after Chelsea’s loss at the Etihad Stadium in March.
Antonio Conte, Sarri’s predecessor, had asked Hazard to play as a ‘false nine’ and afterwards the Belgian expressed his frustration.
Sarri explained his deployment of Hazard, without a goal in 11 matches for club and country, was for “faster football”, only it was City who were half a second ahead.
Tottenham climbed up to third in the Premier League after Son Heung-min inspired them to a routine 2-0 win at Leicester.
The South Korea international scored one and set up Dele Alli’s clincher at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Spurs now sit six points behind leaders Liverpool ahead of Tuesday’s must-win Champions League trip to Barcelona.
Boss Mauricio Pochettino even had the luxury of resting top scorer Harry Kane until the last 16 minutes ahead of the Nou Camp clash.
Son and Alli eventually helped make light work of Kane’s early absence once Tottenham broke down stubborn Leicester.
That it took until first-half stoppage time will have been the only frustration for Pochettino, who will be delighted star man Kane was barely needed.
Leicester remain ninth after creating little and questions remain about able back-up to the injured Jamie Vardy after Kelechi Iheanacho flopped again.
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United comprehensively dispatched of floundering Fulham to kick-start their top-four push as Romelu Lukaku ended his Old Trafford drought.
Four winless Premier League matches had led pressure to mount on the United manager, which is perhaps why the Portuguese’s agent Jorge Mendes felt the need to make a statement about his future on the eve of the game.
But the Old Trafford faithful were able to enjoy some respite from the negativity surrounding the club on Saturday afternoon, with first-half goals from Ashley Young, Juan Mata and Lukaku putting the hosts in control.
Substitute Aboubakar Kamara’s penalty reduced the deficit from the spot but Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s sending off was followed by a Marcus Rashford piledriver as United ran out 4-1 victors.
Mohamed Salah’s imperious hat-trick helped Liverpool equal their club-record run of 17 unbeaten Premier League matches with a 4-0 win at Bournemouth.
Liverpool’s supporters hailed their “Egyptian king” for taking his personal tally to 10 league goals as Jurgen Klopp’s men matched that record run of the class of 2008.
Salah’s second goal proved a study in perseverance over play-acting, the 26-year-old refusing to go down under a naughty challenge from Steve Cook – before drilling home in style.
The beaten Cook stepped his studs on Salah’s Achilles in a clear act of desperation, but not even that foul could deny the Liverpool hitman.
Cook’s day turned from bad to worse when he turned Andrew Robertson’s low cross into his own net, before being bamboozled by Salah as the rampant forward completed his treble.
Liverpool’s Premier League run without defeat includes the 4-0 home win over Brighton that concluded last season.
Klopp’s 2018 Reds could now set an outright Premier League club-record run should they avoid defeat against bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield on December 16.
James Milner toasted his 500th Premier League appearance in helping Liverpool secure their seventh away win of the campaign.
Ralph Hasenhuttl began his reign as Southampton manager with a 1-0 defeat at Cardiff as makeshift striker Callum Paterson delivered again.
Hasenhuttl was brought in after Mark Hughes was sacked on Monday and, mindful that the Titanic had sailed from Southampton, spoke of not “hitting any icebergs” at his first press conference.
But Southampton were sunk by the sort of mistake which has left them in the choppy waters of the relegation zone and cost Hughes his job.
There seemed no danger in the 74th minute when Jannik Vestergaard was in control and seemingly shepherding the ball back to his goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Referee Jon Moss was considering bringing the play back for a foul on Cardiff’s Victor Camarasa, but the big Danish centre-back made a hash of his possession.
The split-second was all that Paterson needed and the striker, who was signed as a right-back and who still fills that position for Scotland, nipped in to beat McCarthy for his fourth goal of the season.
So it was the same old story for a Southampton side who have won only once in the Premier League this season and drop to 19th place, five points adrift of upwardly mobile Cardiff.
The Saints saw claims for a penalty refused after Stuart Armstrong took a tumble on the hour, but Hasenhuttl – the first Austrian to manage in the Premier League – knows he has his work cut out to turn around their fortunes.
West Ham soared into the top half after goals from Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez and a Felipe Anderson beauty sank Crystal Palace 3-2.
The Hammers, rock-bottom after losing their first four matches of the season, have now won three on the spin, scoring three goals in each.
They had to come from behind, though, after James McArthur put struggling Palace into a surprise sixth-minute lead.
Within three minutes of the restart West Ham were level, Snodgrass curling into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area. It was the first Premier League goal of his West Ham career for the Scottish midfielder, who was farmed out on loan to Aston Villa last season but has been one of the Hammers’ best performers this term.
The hosts then took the lead in the 62nd minute, after Felipe Anderson fired the free-kick goalwards and when Wayne Hennessey palmed the ball out Hernandez was on hand to fire into the roof of the net. Two minutes later record-signing Anderson scored an exquisite third, bending the ball around Hennessey and into the corner for his sixth of the season.
Palace, by now eager to get the ball back in play, pulled one back through sub Jeffrey Schlupp with 14 minutes left. But while West Ham held on to maintain their upward curve it is now just one win in 10 matches for Roy Hodgson’s Palace and the relegation zone becoming a little too close for comfort.
Lucas Torreira’s strike ensured Arsenal recovered from the disappointment of Alexandre Lacazette harshly having a goal ruled out to win 1-0 against Huddersfield and extend their unbeaten run to a 21st match.
The French striker had been unfortunate not to have given Unai Emery’s team a first-half lead and their increasing frustration showed as two players were booked for diving.
Yet there is again an optimism surrounding their prospects, owing largely to the improvement they have demonstrated in not losing since visiting Chelsea on August 18, and that self-belief and resilience gradually led to the goal they deserved with Lucas Torreira acrobatically volleying into the bottom left corner seven minutes from time.
James Tarkowski’s first-half goal secured Burnley their first win in nine Premier League games as they won 1-0 at home to Brighton to move out of the relegation zone.
The Clarets, who had picked up just two points from their previous eight matches, scored in the 40th minute when Jack Cork hit a shot and the ball went in off Tarkowski.
The defender almost added a second with a 62nd-minute header before Brighton substitute Jurgen Locadia nodded over from a great position and Solly March struck narrowly wide.
On the back of their first victory since September, and only their third in the league this season, Burnley moved up from second bottom to 17th place. Brighton dropped a place to 11th.