Manchester United needed a response after the limp defeat to Chelsea last time out, and delivered with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Newcastle United at Old Trafford. Dwight Gayle gave the Magpies a shock early lead, but goals from Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling, the returning Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku ensured the Red Devils kept up the pace in their chase of Manchester City. Another positive for Jose Mourinho was Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return from injury, just seven months after rupturing knee ligaments.
Manchester City kept up their relentless pace so far this season, with a brilliant team goal from Gabriel Jesus and an exquisite long-range strike from Kevin de Bruyne setting them on their way to a 2-0 win over Leicester City. The North London derby went the way of Arsenal, Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez giving the Gunners a 2-0 lead before half time, which they never looked like relinquishing, in what was a much-improved big game performance by them. Champions Chelsea routed West Brom 4-0 to pile the pressure on Tony Pulis; Eden Hazard scoring a double and Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso getting the other goals to take the Blues above Spurs into third place.
Mohamed Salah continued his incredible form in front of goal with another brace, to follow up the one he scored against West Ham before the international break, as Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners over Southampton at Anfield. Philippe Coutinho got the other goal. Crystal Palace and Everton played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park. James McArthur opened the scoring in the first minute, but Everton equalized soon after Leighton Baines converted a penalty for the second match in a row, albeit one won in dubious circumstances. Oumar Niasse looks certain to be banned for three games after a blatant dive to win the penalty, and Everton will miss him immensely, as he scored Everton’s second equaliser here after Wilfried Zaha had given Palace the lead. Palace will hope for better results now, after Christian Benteke came off the bench for his first appearance since September. Swansea slid further into trouble after a 2-0 loss away to high-flying Burnley; goals from new England international Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes sending Burnley up to seventh, level on points with Arsenal and only three points off second place. Imagine that.
Bournemouth thrashed Huddersfield 4-0 at home despite having Simon Francis sent off; Callum Wilson scoring a hattrick and Marc Pugh getting the other goal. In Sunday’s solitary game, David Moyes had an inauspicious start to his West Ham career, the Hammers being beaten 2-0 by Watford. Will Hughes got his first goal for the club, and set up the in-form Richarlison for the second goal.
This weekend’s performance and result was as good as United could have hoped for. The side showed character in coming from behind to eventually thrash Newcastle, and Paul Pogba showed exactly why he had been missed with a superlative performance in midfield. His return from injury, alongside Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo, is crucial as United enter what could be a season-defining period of games, with the Manchester derby already looking pivotal to their title hopes.