Man United goes top as Man City slips up in Premier League
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 27, 2015 07:00 AM
Manchester United's Juan Mata, center, scores during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
TREVOR HUGGINS, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — 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 club made it three losses in four matches in all competitions.
However, City is not the only big-spending club going through a rough patch.
Chelsea's title defense continued to misfire on Saturday, with Jose Mourinho's champions needing two late goals to scramble a 2-2 draw away to a Newcastle side that is already a candidate for relegation.
West Ham remains third after drawing 2-2 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.
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.
There was no danger of Chelsea getting carried away after its trip to St. James' Park.
Spanish striker Ayoze Perez put Newcastle ahead in the 42nd minute and Georginio Wijnaldum headed a second goal in the 60th as the home side defied the odds.
However, Ramires came off the bench to unleash an unstoppable shot in the 78th minute and Willian floated over a free kick in the 86th that eluded everyone in the box before landing in the net.
Ramires nearly headed a winner three minutes later, but was denied by goalkeeper Tim Krul, who had produced a series of impressive saves to keep his side in the game.
Critical of his team's performance in the opening 45 minutes, Mourinho said: "I have to understand why one team can play so bad in one half and so well in another one.
"The first half was really bad and was bad in everything, in every aspect of the game... too many poor individual performances. As a consequence of that, impossible for a team to be a good competitive team."
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, courtesy of two goals from Sturridge.