LONDON: Liverpool beat Chelsea to preserve their perfect record and Manchester City romped to a record-breaking win but elsewhere it was far from business as usual during a dramatic Premier League weekend.
City were imperious against Watford, 5-0 up within the first 18 minutes and just one goal shy of matching Manchester United’s Premier League record for the biggest margin of victory — 9-0 against Ipswich in 1995.
Liverpool had a tricky-looking match on paper at Stamford Bridge but emerged unscathed, winning 2-1 to maintain their five-point gap at the top.
But defeats for United and Tottenham, and a tough battle for Arsenal, who recovered to beat newly-promoted Aston Villa 3-2, showed the “Big Six” are not going to have things all their own way this season.
Here, AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:
Imperious City show hunger
Were Manchester City losing their hunger after consecutive Premier League title triumphs?
Pep Guardiola did not appear especially worried after his side’s 3-2 defeat against Norwich last weekend, saying he still loved his team.
They responded to his affection in emphatic fashion, pummelling Watford just four months after smashing them 6-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
Bernardo Silva, who scored a hat-trick against Watford, said City had wanted to put on a show for their fans.
“After the defeat at Norwich obviously we wanted to get the three points and give our fans a good performance,“ Silva told Sky Sports.
“We were unbelievable in the first 30 minutes, scored lots of goals and had control.”
European champions Liverpool are setting a frightening standard as they go in search of their first top-flight English title since 1990 but City are not going to go away.
New faces in top six
Leicester and West Ham proved their credentials in their bid to break the iron grip of the Premier League’s top six with victories over Tottenham and Manchester United.
Brendan Rodgers’s Leicester have now faced Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs in their opening six games and have more than held their own.
Also, the stuttering form of the established powers behind Liverpool and Manchester City means there is little to fear for sides unused to the rarefied atmosphere at the top of the Premier League.
United have now won just one of their past five league games, Tottenham have not won away in the Premier League since January and Chelsea are yet to taste victory at home under Frank Lampard.
Leicester and West Ham hold a three-point lead over all three and are level with Arsenal, who battled to their first win in four league games at home to Aston Villa.
Liverpool back up Alexander-Arnold’s trophy boast
Backing his brash words with bold actions, Trent Alexander-Arnold emphasised why Liverpool are such a serious threat to Manchester City’s hopes of a third successive title.
Alexander-Arnold previewed Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday by declaring that Jurgen Klopp’s side are determined to become serial trophy winners.
Not content with last season’s Champions League triumph, Alexander-Arnold said: “We don’t want to be remembered as that Liverpool team that only won the Champions League. We want to be the team that people can’t remember how many trophies we have won because we won so many.”
That kind of talk can put pressure on a team if they are not made of the right stuff, but Alexander-Arnold walked the walk as his blistering first-half free-kick at Stamford Bridge put Liverpool on course for a sixth successive win that moved them five points clear of City at the top. — AFP