Man United go top as Man City slip up
Manchester clubs traded places at the top of the Premier League on Saturday, after a buoyant United beat Sunderland 3-0 and early pacesetter City slipped to second after being thrashed 4-1 at Tottenham.
Dutch signing Memphis Depay scored his first ever Premier League goal and Wayne Rooney notched his first league goal of the season as United eased to a comfortable victory at Old Trafford.
Juan Mata added a late third as United went top for the first time since August 2013.
With 16 points from seven games, Louis van Gaal’s United is one point ahead of a City side whose flying start with five straight wins has now come to an abrupt stop. A second consecutive league defeat for the big-spending club made it three losses in four matches in all competitions.
West Ham remains third after scrambling a 2-2 draw with Norwich, while Alexis Sanchez scored a hat trick as Arsenal rose to fourth after coming from behind to hammer Leicester 5-2.
Elsewhere, the pressure on Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers eased after England striker Daniel Sturridge scored his first goal since March in a 3-2 win over Aston Villa, Southampton beat Swansea 3-1 and Stoke edged Bournemouth 2-1.
Chelsea was playing Newcastle United in the late kickoff.
A gleeful Stretford End was chanting ”We are top of the league” after United took full advantage of City’s miserable start to the day.
Depay, who joined United from PSV Eindhoven for 31 million pounds (then $48 million) in June, slotted home in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time after a deft cutback by Mata.
Just after the restart, Rooney moved level with Denis Law as United’s joint-third leading league scorer with 171 goals, after a pass from Anthony Martial struck the captain’s knee and went in.
Mata rounded off the scoring by driving home Ashley Young’s cross in the final minute.
”It’s not easy, under pressure, to be top of the league, so I have to praise my players that they could win,” Van Gaal told Sky Sports. ”I’m a happy coach.”
City’s Manuel Pellegrini was a less happy coach after watching his side slump at White Hart Lane, a defeat helped by some poor offside decisions and Harry Kane’s first goal of the season for Spurs.
City dominated the first half and took a deserved lead through Kevin De Bruyne in the 25th minute.
But Eric Dier rifled in a long-distance equalizer on the stroke of halftime and Erik Lamela curled over a free kick for Toby Alderweireld to head home five minutes after the re-start.
Kane, who had scored 31 times for Spurs last season, ended his drought in the 61st and Lamela was rewarded for a fine performance with a goal on the break in the 79th.
”Really, Tottenham only had one shot on our goal in the first 40 minutes and after that they scored that clear offside goal,” Pellegrini said. ”And the second half, two set pieces – one of them was also offside – that decided the game.
”After that they played very well – we looked very bad.”
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose side moved up to fifth with the win, was wary of any early season euphoria.
”The potential is massive but … after a big win you need to keep your feet on the grass,” he said.
Arsenal had managed just five goals in its first six league games but matched that total during an entertaining afternoon at Leicester.
Sanchez’s hat trick was his first goals of the season for the Gunners, while Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud also netted as Arsene Wenger’s side built on its midweek League Cup win over Tottenham.
Liverpool had been without a league victory since the second game of the season but returned to winning ways at Anfield.
Stand-in captain James Milner gave the hosts the perfect start when he struck the opener in the second minute, the fastest goal in the league this season.
Sturridge doubled the lead just before the hour mark, before three goals in five minutes set up a tense finish for Liverpool.
Unmarked Villa striker Rudy Gestede reduced the deficit from close range in the 66th, seconds before Sturridge restored Liverpool’s two-goal advantage after a neat exchange with Philippe Coutinho.
Gestede headed in with aplomb to make it 3-2 but Liverpool held on for the points.
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