Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are at risk of losing more ground in the Premier League title race every game Aymeric Laporte misses through injury. The centre-back's absence was keenly felt when the champions lost 3-2 away to Norwich City on Saturday.
Ederson floundered in goal behind a back four consistently undone by mistake-prone Nicolas Otamendi, leaving City trailing Liverpool by five points.
While the Citizens stumbled, Chelsea showed signs of life by rewarding Frank Lampard's faith in youth. The Blues boss saw young charges Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount overwhelm Wolverhampton Wanderers during an entertaining 5-2 win at Molineux.
Abraham was a hat-trick hero for Chelsea, strengthening the 21-year-old's case to keep fellow centre-forward Olivier Giroud on the bench.
Chelsea are outside the top four on goal difference in sixth, with Leicester City just ahead in fifth. However, the Foxes looked far removed from a team capable of finishing the season in that position during a drab 1-0 loss away to Manchester United.
Leicester and Wolves are supposed to be breaking up the division's established order, but both teams continue to flatter to deceive.
Tottenham Hotspur at least looked equipped to retain a spot in the UEFA Champions League places. Spurs are third after putting four past Crystal Palace on home soil, a goal rush inspired by Serge Aurier, who settled any doubts about who should start at right-back in Mauricio Pochettino's best XI.
- Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle United
- Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Burnley
- Manchester United 1-0 Leicester City
- Sheffield United 0-1 Southampton
- Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Crystal Palace
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-5 Chelsea
- Norwich City 3-2 Manchester City
Losers: Ederson and Nicolas Otamendi
Any City fan who feared the worse when Laporte suffered an ankle injury had those fears confirmed by the way Norwich tore through an overmatched back line.
First, Kenny McLean headed in from a corner after getting a free run to the near post. Ederson was inexplicably out of position and seemed focused on anything but the ball when the set piece was taken.
Then Todd Cantwell tapped in on the break after indecision from Otamendi. It wasn't the last time Otamendi would undo City.
The Argentinian made an even bigger gaffe when he lost the ball to Emiliano Buendia in the box, with the winger teeing up Teemu Pukki for the Canaries' third.
This many errors in one game begs the question: How will City cope during Laporte's prolonged absence?
The early evidence suggests Liverpool will have a firm advantage in the title race until the former Athletic Bilbao man is fit enough to play again.
Winners: Frank Lampard and Tammy Abraham
Even without a transfer ban imposed on him this summer, you get the impression Lampard would still be building his team around youth. Chelsea's record goalscorer hasn't been afraid to give academy graduates starring roles since moving into the dugout.
The daring approach is starting to yield excellent results to go along with commendable performances. Abraham has been the biggest beneficiary of Lampard's faith, netting a hat-trick to take his tally to seven goals in the last three league matches.
Chelsea began the season with a huge question mark over the No. 9 role. Abraham has seized his opportunity with both hands, forging well clear of the more-established Giroud and Michy Batshuayi in the pecking order.
Not even an own goal against Wolves could dampen Abraham's celebrations or stall his ascension to becoming the striker the Blues can ill afford to be without.
He's being helped by fellow academy graduates, including Mount. The player who thrived for Lampard on loan at Derby County last season has transferred his scoring touch to the top flight and netted his third of the campaign in stoppage time.
Mount's goal couldn't match the stunning effort from Fikayo Tomori to open the scoring. Lampard had been rewarded for not being afraid to hand the 21-year-old a start for a difficult fixture away from home.
Tomori's performance was typical of the gathering strength of Chelsea's youth movement:
Chelsea should back Lampard's brave vision and trust the youngsters will match consistency to their eye-catching football.
Winner: Serge Aurier
Tottenham have had a dilemma about the right-back position since Kieran Trippier was sold to Atletico Madrid this summer. Nobody told Serge Aurier, though, who backed up recent comments with a two-assist masterclass against Palace.
Earlier in the week, Aurier told Bal des Productions (h/t Football.London's Joe Doyle) he'd wanted to leave the club. When asked if this was related to competition for the right-back spot, he replied: "What competition? There isn't any. I'd simply decided to leave (this summer), which was normal for me. Many things were taken into consideration. In the end, I wasn't able to leave. It proves the club trust me on a lot of points, and we'll see."
There isn't likely to be a competition anymore after Aurier showed Pochettino who the best option on the right is. His pace and relentless runs were matched to astute delivery from wide areas:
Aurier's terrific display may have even been enough to impress one great of football's recent past who knows a thing or two about pinpoint crossing:
If Aurier can replicate this performance more regularly, he'll make the decision to cash in on Trippier look an inspired one.
Losers: Top-6 Hopefuls
There has been no shortage of pundits tipping Leicester for a top-six finish this season. Yet for all the hype, the Foxes looked laboured in pursuit of breaking into the circle of the division's big clubs at Old Trafford.
Defeat at Old Trafford was Leicester's first of the season, but the manner of the performance should raise alarm bells. The 1-0 loss marked the second time in five matches the Foxes have failed to score; they have only managed to net three goals in a game once so far.
It's a worrying trend for a team brimming with creative talent and guided by Brendan Rodgers, a manager usually noted for his attacking football.
Leicester aren't scoring enough goals, but Wolves can't stop conceding them. Shipping five to Chelsea follows losing 3-2 away to Everton.
A rock-solid defence was the foundation of last season's seventh-place finish. However, Wolves no longer look difficult to break down and therefore appear unlikely to force their way to a spot among the elite.