London (AFP) – Manchester City underlined their title credentials as Kevin De Bruyne’s thunderbolt sealed an impressive 1-0 win at Chelsea, while Manchester United remain hot on their heels after a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Having lost the Premier League leadership to United earlier in the day, City moved back above their bitter rivals on goal difference thanks to De Bruyne’s second half blast.
Pep Guardiola’s side celebrated a fifth successive league win, and eighth in a row in all competitions, strengthening their belief they can dethrone champions Chelsea.
Chelsea’s first defeat since an opening weekend loss to Burnley leaves them six points behind City in fourth place.
Despite the absence of Sergio Aguero after the Argentine striker broke a rib in a car crash on Thursday, City dominated and almost took a first half lead when Thibaut Courtois pushed out Fernandinho’s header.
Chelsea suffered a blow when Spain striker Alvaro Morata limped off in the 35th minute and, struggling to get a foothold for long periods, they finally cracked in the 67th minute.
Taking Gabriel Jesus’s pass in stride, De Bruyne advanced unchecked to the edge of the penalty area and smashed a fierce strike past Courtois for his first league goal this season.
With Romelu Lukaku scoring his seventh goal in his last six appearances, United maintained their own blistering form.
Jose Mourinho’s men have now won six successive matches in all competitions.
Bottom of the table Palace arrived at Old Trafford as the first English top-flight team to lose their first six games without scoring a single goal.
It took just three minutes for United to breach Palace’s leaky defence when Juan Mata marked his 200th Premier League appearance with his first goal of the season, the Spanish winger finishing emphatically from Marcus Rashford’s cross.
Mourinho’s men struck again in the 35th minute as Ashley Young whipped a cross to the far post, where Marouane Fellaini stabbed home for his third goal of the season.
Fellaini wasn’t finished yet and the Belgian midfielder headed United’s third from a Rashford free-kick in the 49th minute.
In the 86th minute, Lukaku capped United’s fourth 4-0 league win this term when the Belgium striker scored his 11th goal in 10 games since his close-season move from Everton.
“Three points and a good performance. We started strong and finished strong,” Mourinho said.
“We rotated after playing in the Champions League. The players’ mentality allowed me to do that.