It was a good day for all the Premier League’s top three won on Saturday to extend their impressive starts to the season.
Chelsea, still reeling from the loss of Diego Costa, made light work of Stoke City and it’s coach, Mark Hughes, as they scored not just one, but two, three then four goals to keep their premier league title defence alive. Hat trick hero, Alvaro Morata, clearly proved why Conte was right to let Costa go while the club’s noisy travelling support praised him with a new song chant ‘He comes from sunny Spain, he’s better than Harry Kane’ Alvaro did very well. He scored a hat-trick just like Michy Batshuayi did in midweek, it’s very important for a striker. I am pleased about his performance but also the team as it shows they are creating chances,’ said manager Antonio Conte. ‘It’s always a difficult game at Stoke. We struggled to win 2-1 last season with a late goal. The key this time was to start well and score early. Then we were in control of the game. Morata was very good. Now he has to continue this way to be a great striker.’
Manchester City put more problems on the head of Crystal Palace as they thrashed the London club, 5-0, at the Etihad making it the first time since 1958/59 that a top flight club side has hit five or more in three successive games.
In the 44th minute, German youngster, Leroy Sane broke the deadlock before two quick goals by Raheem Sterling and late goals by Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph completed a 5-0 thrashing for Roy Hodgson’s boys. Man City now top the table on goal difference.
Meanwhile in the red half of Manchester, Romelu Lukaku’s first-half strike was enough to claim the away win for the Reds against Southampton, who remain on the same points tally as rivals Manchester City. United broke the deadlock in the 20th minute when Ashley Young’s left-wing cross found Lukaku’s head which was saved by the keeper before the Belgian dispatched the rebound. Manchester United, with this win, extended the club’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season to six matches.
Speaking after the match, club manager, Jose Mourinho, praised his team’s very good defensive structure.
“It’s a difficult place to come, and it is a good opponent without anything to lose, that tried in the last 35 minutes to be really offensive and try to fight for the rescue of a point. Our team had chances to kill the game, we had two enormous chances with Herrera and Lukaku, but we didn’t [take them]. Then we put ourselves in a position where we had to defend to keep the result, which we did extremely well, with a good keeper, with good defenders, with the substitution of Smalling, so I am really happy.”
“[They were] very good, and also Smalling. We did for 20 minutes what the majority of the Premier League teams are doing, which is to play defensive with five at the back. We did that for 20 minutes. I felt Southampton were strong. I felt their manager was excited and enthusiastic by risking bringing two strikers like Gabbiadini and Austin on to play direct, a style that’s not their style. And then I made the decision to bring on Smalling, and I think the team was solid. We showed good solidarity, good organisation and good spirit to get the three points.” “If you can have two [attacking]full-backs on both sides, not just Valencia on the right, if you can have another one on the left [like Young]it’s positive for us on many occasions.”
“What pleased me was the pragmatism, at half-time we talked and we wanted to kill the game, and we had chances to kill the game. We wanted to be in control but sometimes you can’t, sometimes we are not able, sometimes we have to give credit to the opponent. It was not our decision, it was the way the game went. And then there was a moment we feel that we are in difficulties, so it’s better to make it solid. In a league that is becoming so defensive, so defensive, it was the first time that we played 20 minutes with a more defensive approach. Without this period we take a point not three.”