By: Reuters & AP
It was a day for role reversal as free-scoring Manchester City’s attacking talents were blunted in a shock 1-0 home defeat by Stoke City on Saturday while Jose Mourinho’s often cautious Chelsea thumped Everton 6-3.
City dropped their first points of the season when Mame Biram Diouf scored a superb individual goal to silence the home fans who have become used to seeing one-sided romps at their Etihad stadium, especially against the Premier League’s lesser lights.
It was another miserable day for City’s rivals Manchester United, their frustrations continuing after a 0-0 draw at promoted Burnley with British record signing Angel di Maria unable to spark an improvement in their fortunes.
Swansea City’s excellent start to the season continued as they swept aside West Bromwich Albion 3-0 and they are level on nine points with Chelsea at the top of the fledgling table, while Southampton came from behind to beat West Ham United 3-1.
Crystal Palace, playing their first game under new manager Neil Warnock, scored through on-loan Wilfried Zaha in the fifth minute of stoppage time to grab a 3-3 draw at Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers beat Sunderland 1-0 for their first win since gaining promotion.
Manchester City slumped to a surprise first defeat in the defence of their Premier League title on Saturday, losing 0-1 to Stoke as the problems of arch-rival Manchester United mounted despite an encouraging debut from new signing Angel di Maria.
After a lacklustre United drew 0-0 at promoted Burnley to stay without a win in three league games, City were stunned at their usually impregnable Etihad Stadium thanks to a brilliant solo winner by former United striker Mame Biram Diouf.
Instead, it was Swansea which secured a third straight win to open the new season, beating West Bromwich Albion 3-0 with two goals from Nathan Dyer. Wilfried Zaha scored an injury-time equaliser on his second debut for Crystal Palace in a 3-3 draw at Newcastle while Southampton and Queens Park Rangers earned first wins of the season. City and United had hundreds of millions’ worth of attacking talent on show in the third round of the Premier League but couldn’t muster a goal between them. A flat display by City, five days after their impressive 3-1 win over Liverpool, was punished when Diouf ran the length of the field in the 58th minute to shoot between goalkeeper Joe Hart’s legs.
“I tried just to stay on my feet and keep on going,” Diouf said. “We will enjoy this win, it is a big one.”
Di Maria made his first start for United after his British-record move from Real Madrid for £59.7 million ($99 million) and showed enough signs that he will be a success at Old Trafford. He still couldn’t inspire Louis van Gaal’s team to a first win in any competition this season, with United lacking a cutting edge despite fielding Di Maria, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in an exciting front four.
Van Persie was denied twice with United’s best chances, leaving the 20-time champions on two points after three games despite spending about £130 million ($215 million) this summer. Swansea are the surprise package so far this season, following up wins over United and Burnley with a comfortable three points against West Brom courtesy of Dyer’s brace and Wayne Routledge’s goal from outside the area.
Neil Warnock’s first game back as Palace manager was a thrilling one, with his side twice surrendering the lead and then needing Zaha’s goal five minutes into stoppage time.