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Manchester City and Manchester United occupied the two top positions in last season's final table, and although neither held the top spot heading into the weekend, both looked the part in convincing victories.
City produced their best, most complete performance of the season in tearing apart Sunderland 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium. Aleksandar Kolarov opened the scoring early with an expert free kick before Sergio Aguero and James Milner rounded out the win with second-half strikes.
In truth, the margin could have been much higher, and City fans will be relieved that manager Roberto Mancini opted for a return to the four-man back-line that propelled the team to so much success a season ago.
Tellingly, with the returns of the four-man defense and the abandonment (perhaps permanently?) of Mancini's three-man experiment, City recorded their first clean sheet of the season.
United were perhaps even more impressive in dispatching Newcastle 3-0 away from home. Last season, this fixture ended with the same scoreline, only reversed. But this time, United ended the contest in all of 15 minutes.
Newcastle started without four members of their regular back five in goalkeeper Tim Krul and defenders Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Danny Simpson. And their absence was felt almost immediately.
First Jonny Evans and then the physically unassuming Patrice Evra converted from Robin van Persie corners to give United a 2-0 lead in the first 15 minutes. The match was basically over at that point, but Tom Cleverley added United's third in the second half with a curled shot into the top corner.
With more performances like these, the Manchester duo might yet reclaim their place as the Premier League's two title favorites.