The Premier League’s big boys keep on rolling. And they keep on rolling because they keep on scoring.
But they’re not the only ones. Six 3 p.m. local time kickoffs in the Prem on Saturday featured 19 goals in total. The goals brought wins for Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Burnley and Bournemouth, and a back-and-forth draw between Everton and Crystal Palace.
Of the three winners toward the top of the table, City had the most eventful day. So that’s where we’ll begin.
Manchester City and fortune – both good and bad
Man City’s 2-0 win at Leicester City was both expected and comfortable in the end. But it was far from ordinary, far from easy, and far from uneventful.
Much of the activity involved central defenders. Vincent Kompany started for City, but could have very easily been sent off inside two minutes. He chopped down Jamie Vardy as the English striker spun in behind to run onto a through-ball. The timing of the incident and the positioning of John Stones probably turned red into yellow. Kompany was lucky to still be on the pitch. Leicester was very unlucky.
Then misfortune struck for City at the back. Stones, who’s been the best center back in the Premier League so far this season, pulled up and reached for his hamstring while racing back toward his own goal. He’ll likely miss time just as fixtures begin to mount up. Eliaquim Mangala replaced him, and either he or Kompany will have to play as long as Stones is absent. Suddenly, City looks a bit fragile at the back.
Mangala was fine on the day, though, and City went ahead just before halftime. Sterling picked out David Silva’s jaunt into the penalty area. Silva squared to a wide open Gabriel Jesus:
Leicester did not go down meekly. Harry Maguire, up for a corner, struck the post less than three minutes after the break. But around 20 seconds after he did, City was 2-0 to the good thanks to the brilliant Kevin De Bruyne, and another left-footed drive from outside the box:
City has now won 11 of its first 12 matches, and is still unbeaten. It momentarily went nine points clear at the top of the league. But Manchester United can bring that back to eight against Newcastle later in the day, and the Stones injury will be a worry, even if only a small one.
Chelsea was the most comfortable of the three top-six sides, despite traveling to West Brom for what in the past has been a tricky fixture. It was 2-0 up midway through the first half thanks to its front two, Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata.
First, Hazard slithered past a few West Brom midfielders, fired a left-footed shot from range, and Morata pounced on the rebound:
On the second goal, roles were reversed. Morata sent a lovely back-flick right into the path of Hazard. The Belgian attacker rounded Ben Foster and finished with ease:
Marcos Alonso all but ended the game before the break:
Hazard made it 4-0 17 minutes into the second half. That score would hold until the final whistle.
Mo Salah leads Liverpool, and the Premier League goalscoring charts
Remember when there were questions about Mohamed Salah’s finishing? Hah. Good times.
Salah fired his eighth and ninth Premier League goals of the season to climb to the top of the league leaderboard after 12 games. His first was a wonderful curler to put Liverpool 1-0 up at home against Southampton (video above).
Salah can thank Dusan Tadic for the giveaway in his own defensive third. The second goal, however, was all him and Philippe Coutinho. Coutinho picked out Salah’s out-to-in run, and the Egyptian winger this time slid his shot under Fraser Forster:
Coutinho punctuated the performance with a third in the second half. That made it 3-0 to the hosts, and a combined 10-0 to the top six in the 3 o’clock kickoffs.
Burnley made that a combined 12-0 in favor of the top seven with its 2-0 win over Swansea. But the real drama elsewhere came at the bottom of the table.
Crystal Palace, Everton share the spoils
The last we saw of Everton, the Toffees came back from 2-0 down in the second half to beat Watford. They even had to survive a penalty in the 10th minute of added time.
Their return from the international break wasn’t quite as eventful, but it did feature two comebacks. James McArthur had put Crystal Palace ahead after 53 seconds.
But Oumar Niasse dove to win a penalty, and Leighton Baines equalized from the spot.
Niasse then cancelled out Wilfried Zaha’s strike just before halftime.
Palace wasn’t happy with the point. Everton might not be either. But in a relegation fight, it’s not a terrible result away from home for the Toffees.
Burnley 2-0 Swansea
Bournemouth 4-0 Huddersfield
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Henry Bushnell covers soccer – the U.S. national teams, the Premier League, and much, much more – for FC Yahoo and Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.