London (AFP) – Manchester City crushed 10-man Liverpool, while Manchester United lost their 100 percent record.
Chelsea maintained their revival and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez endured a difficult return to action.
Here are five things we learned from this weekend’s Premier League action:
Bloodied Ederson is Guardiola’s kind of keeper
Ederson ended Manchester City’s 5-0 thrashing of Liverpool unsteady on his feet and with a white dressing concealing a large gash on the left side of his face, but having enhanced his reputation in the eyes of manager Pep Guardiola. The 24-year-old Brazilian sustained the injury as he raced out to head clear Joel Matip’s through ball, his speed of thought and foot allowing him to beat Sadio Mane to the ball, only to then take the full force of the Liverpool forward’s foot in his face. Mane was sent off, Ederson stretchered off, but tests revealed no serious damage and Guardiola heralded his bravery. Guardiola’s playing philosophy demands a goalkeeper able to sweep up behind his defence and although it came at a cost, Ederson’s intervention to thwart Mane was a perfect example of that. After last season’s tribulations with Joe Hart and Claudio Bravo, Guardiola has found his number one.
Sanchez jeered on return
After a turbulent close-season, Alexis Sanchez was finally back in action for Arsenal on Saturday, but the Chile forward’s failed attempts to engineer a transfer to Manchester City had clearly left some scars. Sanchez has refused to sign a new contract, with his current deal expiring at the end of the season, and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had decided to sell his prized asset on the condition he could land Monaco prodigy Thomas Lemar. But that deal fell through, prompting Wenger to call off the Sanchez sale and put his player in a difficult position. Fed up of seeing their stars leave in recent years, Arsenal fans let their frustrations show in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth as they jeered Sanchez when he came on as a second-half substitute for his first appearance this season. Tellingly, Wenger had only limited sympathy and challenged Sanchez to win over the haters with his performances.
Chelsea back in groove
Pummelled by the critics after their shock season-opening loss to Burnley, champions Chelsea have steadied the ship impressively and Saturday’s 2-1 win at Leicester maintained their momentum. Goals from Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante, against his former club, put Chelsea in control and they held their nerve despite a late Leicester flurry featuring Jamie Vardy’s penalty. Blues boss Antonio Conte believes his team’s hectic run of seven games in 21 days in September will go a long way to define their season. On this evidence they are up to the task.
Everton’s title ambitions exposed
Harry Kane’s double in the surprisingly easy 3-0 win for Tottenham over Everton provided reassurance for Mauricio Pochettino that his point man is as sharp as ever now that August and his traditional goal drought is over. Now Pochettino will hope his side get another monkey off their backs and begin winning at their adopted temporary ‘home’ of Wembley. For his Everton counterpart Ronald Koeman, however, things are looking gloomy despite the millions he persuaded the board to invest in the transfer market. Two successive defeats and no goals scored against Chelsea and Spurs illustrates how much he needs a striker and also painfully exposed the gap that remains between his team and those of genuine title contenders.
Defensive slips trouble United
Much will be made of Manchester United’s failure to end the winless run at Stoke since Alex Ferguson retired but the more glaring factor and one that will warm the hearts of the likes of Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte were chinks in the centre of defence. United arrived without having conceded a goal in their three games but errors by Ivorian Eric Bailly and Phil Jones allowed Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to pounce and score on both occasions. They were the most costly errors but there were several others throughout the encounter and it was only a blinding save by David de Gea from Jese, after he had lost his marker, that prevented Stoke from taking all three points.