Diego Costa continued his stunning start to life at Chelsea with a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Swansea City on Saturday while champions Manchester City were staring up the table after snatching a 2-2 draw at Arsenal.
Costa, who now has seven goals from his first four Premier League games, helped Chelsea come out on top against the only other team with a 100 percent record after Swansea had taken the lead with an early John Terry own goal.
New signing Loic Remy grabbed his first Chelsea goal before Jonjo Shelvey netted a consolation late on, leaving the west London side two points clear at the top and five ahead of title rivals Manchester City.
Martin Demichelis scored with a late looping header for City after moments of sublime skill from Jack Wilshere and Alexis Sanchez had briefly turned the match in Arsenal’s favour, following Sergio Aguero’s opener.
Elsewhere, unbeaten Aston Villa are second after they beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield, Newcastle United’s sorry start continued with a crushing 4-0 defeat at Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur were held to a 2-2 draw at Sunderland.
Everton beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0, Leicester City grabbed their first win since promotion, beating Stoke City 1-0, while Burnley and Crystal Palace played out a goalless draw.
Chelsea fans probably did not need reminding just how big an upgrade Diego Costa was on his predecessor Fernando Torres but just in case any doubts remained about their new striker’s pedigree, they were emphatically dismissed against Swansea.
His manager Jose Mourinho certainly needs no convincing of the striker’s importance at Stamford Bridge.
“Diego Costa is one of the best strikers we have at this moment in football. The team is an attacking team that creates a lot, creates spaces for a striker,” he said.
Trailing to a Terry own goal after 11 minutes, Costa set about Swansea like a one-man wrecking ball, powering home a header on the stroke of halftime, converting a Cesc Fabregas cross after the restart and then guiding a Ramires shot home.
Remy swept the ball into the net unmarked on the edge of the area to make it 4-1, having only been on the pitch a matter of minutes to add a touch of gloss to the result.
Shelvey grabbed a late consolation of little significance, except perhaps to Mourinho, who values a water-tight defence and will not be impressed by his team conceding a fifth goal in two games after their 6-3 win at Everton two weeks ago.
Arsenal handed a debut to striker Danny Welbeck, who had an early chance to score when he raced on to a misplaced pass from David Silva and attempted an audacious chip over keeper Joe Hart which struck the inside of the post.
If the former Manchester United forward wanted a lesson in ruthlessness, it was provided by others on the pitch.
City’s Aguero opened the scoring with a tidy sidefoot, Wilshere levelled in the second half with a beautiful run into the box and dinked finish and, not to be out-done, close-season signing Sanchez let fly with a perfectly-timed sidefoot volley.
It would have been a worthy matchwinner in comparison to Demichelis’s 83rd minute leveller that looked like it would be headed off the line until Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny got a hand to it and deflected it into the top corner.
“I am satisfied because I thought this year it would be very difficult for us to defend our title,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini, before lambasting referee Mark Clattenburg for his performance.
Aston Villa maintained their recent hoodoo over last season’s runners-up Liverpool, who have now won only one of their last six games at home to Saturday’s opponents.
Liverpool, who have lost two of their opening four games, were unable to make any headway against Villa’s packed defence from the moment Gabriel Agbonlahor put the visitors ahead after nine minutes.
Newcastle’s woes intensified as they were left at the foot of the fledgling standings following a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Southampton that heaped pressure on manager Alan Pardew.
Graziano Pelle scored twice inside 19 minutes, Jack Cork added another after the break and Morgan Schneiderlin capped an impressive Southampton performance with a goal at the death.
Tottenham led going into the final eight minutes against Sunderland before a Harry Kane own goal gave the home side their third draw in their opening four games, leaving the London club level with Manchester City on seven points.
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku scored against his former club West Brom after two minutes while Kevin Mirallas made the game safe with a shot that squirmed under goalkeeper Ben Foster midway through the second half.