PALACE GET A CITY THRASHING
Manchester United and Chelsea also win to stay in Premier League contention
FREE-SCORING Manchester City turned on the style after a difficult start to the game to thrash Crystal Palace 5-0 yesterday, taking their tally to 16 goals in their last three Premier League games.
Palace had the better of the action for much of the first half, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek twice going close to breaking the deadlock, but Leroy Sane’s well-taken goal on the stroke of halftime gave City momentum going into the break.
After the interval, it was all City, and it was not long before they had their second, with Sane turning provider this time for Raheem Sterling to slot home six minutes after the interval.
Sterling then tapped home his second and City’s third eight minutes later, Sergio Aguero netted 11 minutes from fulltime, and Fabian Delph’s thunderbolt at the death added the finishing touch to a result which ensures City stay top of the table, on goal difference, above rivals Manchester United.
United equalled their best start to a Premier League campaign after Romelu Lukaku scored his eighth goal of the season in all competitions to give them a 1-0 win at Southampton.
The result left United second on 16 points from five games, behind leaders Manchester City on goal difference as United’s prolific close-season signing became the first Premier League player to score for three different clubs against Southampton at their St Mary’s Stadium, having also done so with Everton and West Bromwich.
Lukaku scrambled a 20th-minute winner, pouncing on his own rebound in the six-yard box after the home team’s keeper Fraser Forster had parried the striker’s closerange header following a superb cross from the left by Ashley Young.
United had manager Jose Mourinho sent off in the last minute of stoppage time for dissent as Southampton piled on the pressure in the closing stages.
Alvaro Morata scored a hattrick as third-placed Chelsea kept up their pursuit of Manchester’s pace-setters by routing Stoke City 4-0.
Stoke could hardly have anticipated their terrible start when they conceded on 83 seconds to a neat finish from Morata, his fourth goal of the season and first with his boot.
But without three defenders including Kurt Zouma, Stoke struggled to stifle Chelsea’s counter-attacks and conceded again after half-an-hour when Darren Fletcher mistakenly chested the ball into the path of Pedro, whose right-foot shot gave keeper Jack Butland no chance.
Stoke stayed in the game until Morata finished them off with goals in the 77th and 82nd minutes, first dinking the ball over Butland and then tapping in to take his season’s tally to six. Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois suffered an injury after falling heavily but played on.
Manchester City’s Leroy Sane celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.