North London had a weekend to forget, as Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw with new boys Leicester City and Tottenham were humbled 3-0 at home by Liverpool.
Spurs had begun their Premier League campaign in promising fashion, edging past fierce rivals West Ham and putting QPR to the sword 4-0 last weekend. But Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side—boosted by the signing of Mario Balotelli—were a different proposition for the White Hart Lane side.
Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for Liverpool before captain Steven Gerrard dispatched a contentiously awarded penalty. Alberto Moreno helped Rodgers celebrate his 100th game in charge with a scintillating third.
Over in west London, Chelsea continue to lay down their claim for the Premier League title following a 6-3 win over Everton. And despite the nature of the victory, in which Diego Costa scored another two, manager Jose Mourinho was not happy with the display, as he told Sky TV (via Reuters):
I know they are a good offensive side but to concede three goals is too much. All of them I can clearly define the mistakes, the people involved and where we failed.
We were killers in attack, especially on the counter-attack, so when you come to this stadium and get three points it is a reason to be happy. When you come here and score six goals, obviously my players did well.
I want to be different in that we play better football, score more goals, but I don't want to be different in the sense that we concede goals.
To concede three goals and identify the mistakes we made is something I have to work at.
Elsewhere, Aston Villa and Swansea have emerged as the surprise packages of the opening weeks. The Swans ruthlessly saw off an unbeaten West Bromwich Albion side 3-0 courtesy of two goals from Nathan Dyer and a further from Wayne Routledge.
That result gave the South Wales side nine points from a possible nine and had briefly put them at the top of the table before Chelsea's swashbuckling victory.
Paul Lambert's Aston Villa side were forced to work harder for their 2-1 victory over Hull City, but goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann were enough to secure the three points. Villa remain unbeaten on seven points from three games.
Week 4's Key Fixtures
|Saturday, 13 September||12:45 p.m. BST/7:45 a.m. ET||Arsenal vs. Man City|
|Saturday, 13 September||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Chelsea vs. Swansea|
|Saturday, 13 September||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Crystal Palace vs. Burnley|
|Saturday, 13 September||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Southampton vs. Newcastle|
|Saturday, 13 September||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Stoke vs. Leicester|
|Saturday, 13 September||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Sunderland vs.Tottenham|
|Saturday, 13 September||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||West Brom vs. Everton|
|Saturday, 13 September||5:30 p.m. BST/12:30 p.m. ET||Liverpool vs. Aston Villa|
|Sunday, 14 September||4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET||Man Utd vs. QPR|
|Monday, 15 September||8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET||Hull vs. West Ham|
Arsenal vs. Manchester City
Anyone would think Arsenal are a club in crisis following the press coverage of their opening matches. But the truth is far more positive for Arsene Wenger, whose side remain unbeaten despite not producing any displays of note.
By contrast, Manuel Pellegrini's City side had been hailed as one-half of the two-legged race for the title. That theory was made a mockery of with Stoke's 1-0 victory at the Etihad.
The two sides met in the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season in the Community Shield at Wembley three weeks ago, where the Gunners swept aside the reigning champions 3-0. Since then, Arsenal have lost Olivier Giroud to injury, with Wenger choosing Yaya Sanogo as the Frenchman's like-for-like replacement.
That Sanogo was ineffectual against Leicester is indicative of the fact that Wenger will need to bring in an out-and-out striker before the closure of the transfer window.
Yaya Sanogo's game by numbers vs. Leicester: 7 shots 0 chances created 2 take-ons 75% aerial duel success 0 goals pic.twitter.com/kfCJFmlbCd— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 31, 2014
Elsewhere, the Gunners' embarrassment of riches in midfield will always create problems for teams of any calibre. But with a defence that has welcomed in Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers, time will be needed to instill a defensive solidity that is a necessity if Arsenal are to win on a consistent basis.
Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic will provide a litmus test for Arsenal's defence for the coming season.
Chelsea vs. Swansea City
At least one of these sides will lose their 100 per cent start to the season when they clash at Stamford Bridge next Saturday.
Garry Monk's men have had a resounding start to their third Premier League campaign, and their run of fixtures hasn't been easy. A 2-1 victory at Old Trafford will attest to that.
Very proud of the TEAM performance today. Thank you to the jack army for your fantastic support. Enjoy your weekend.!! #swans— Garry Monk (@GarryMonk16) August 30, 2014
But Monk faces a very different proposition when travelling to face Mourinho's Blues side on Saturday. An already strong Chelsea outfit has been further strengthened by the signing of Cesc Fabregas, and Diego Costa has made a mockery of any contention that he might struggle to adapt to the Premier League, scoring four goals in three games.
Meanwhile, Fabregas and Nemanja Matic have established themselves as one of the predominant midfield partnerships in English, nay world, football. It'll take a mighty effort from Ki Sung-Yeung and Jonjo Shelvey to stifle the Chelsea midfield creativity.
There's a familiar feel to the bookies' latest Premier League odds, per OddsChecker.com.
Chelsea have been placed as clear favourites to take home the title come May and are quoted at 4-5 odds. Manchester City follow up with 11-4 odds, Arsenal are the third favourites at 9-1 and Liverpool are 11-1.
The bookies clearly don't fancy Louis van Gaal to lead his Manchester United side to the title, with the 2012/13 champions given a price of 16-1.
Fancy an outside bet? You can get 2,000-1 odds on Swansea City, who sit second with a 100 per cent record after three games.