Romelu Lukaku’s signing from Everton continues to pay off as he scored and created a goal in Manchester United’s 4-0 drubbing of his former club on Sunday with United joining Manchester City on top of the league.
United — whose record goalscorer Wayne Rooney endured a miserable return with his Everton team-mates — are only second in the table by virtue of C coming before U as both the Manchester clubs share exactly the same statistics after five matches.
Champions Chelsea are on 10 points, three adrift of the leading duo, after being held 0-0 at home to Arsenal — the first scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge under Antonio Conte’s tenure.
United were slightly flattered by the final scoreline — three goals coming in the final 10 minutes after Everton had largely dominated the second-half — but manager Jose Mourinho was more than satisfied.
“I think the performance was very good, especially in the first 30-35 minute, it was probably our best performance of the season,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“We pressed them and they did not have a chance to get out, they did not have a shot, it was very impressive.”
For Everton and manager Ronald Koeman — who spent £152million ($207million, 173million euros) in the close season — it is fast becoming a crisis as this was their fourth successive defeat and in which they have failed to score to boot.
The Dutchman grasped at whatever straw he could to see a positive side.
“From what I saw today from the team it made me happy,” he told Sky Sports.
“More happy than Thursday (they lost to modest Serie A side Atalanta in the Europa League).
“We grew in the game and in confidence and not many teams will get two big chances like we got today. We didn’t score the goal and after a personal mistake (Everton central defender Ashley Williams) it was 2-0.”
‘An intense game’
There was little cheer for Chelsea’s Italian manager Antonio Conte — or indeed for watching Hollywood star Channing Tatum and former Chelsea skipper John Terry — where Arsenal ran the match for large portions of it.
The hosts also ended the encounter like the previous two against the Gunners without a full complement of players as David Luiz was red carded three minutes from the end.
Conte, though, felt that the referee Mike Dean should have blown for a foul just before Luiz clattered Sead Kolasinac.
“It’s very important to see what happened before the David Luiz tackle. For sure there was a foul,” said Conte.
“The referee has to use the whistle. If he stops the play before I think it (wouldn’t) happen.”
For Arsene Wenger and Arsenal there was something rare as it was the first time they have left Chelsea with even a point in their last six visits. Indeed Arsenal should have won it but their record signing Alexandre Lacazette missed an open goal after man of the match Aaron Ramsey’s shot had come back off the post to him.
Wenger, though, took pleasure out of the character his players had shown following their last away day when they were whipped 4-0 by Liverpool.
“It was about mentality and a response from our last away game,” said Wenger, whose side are six points adrift of the top two.
“We could have won it. It was an intense game.
“The battle was total. We are not in a transfer period and on the day we played Liverpool that affected us. We are all human beings.
“We were focused and determined.”