LONDON — By reeling off a sixth successive English Premier League victory on Saturday, Manchester City underlined just how formidable it is under Pep Guardiola.
But Jose Mourinho might finally have found the way to stop Manchester United being eclipsed by City this season — drop Wayne Rooney.
Having fended off mounting criticism of his captain, Mourinho left Rooney on the bench and the reward was a 4-1 victory over champion Leicester.
“You prefer always to ask why somebody is not playing,” Mourinho said. “Sometimes when I read you, I feel I know nothing about football. But there is one thing I know, the rules of the game. And I can only start with 11, until somebody tells me there is a change in that.”
United’s win ensured City, with a 3-1 victory at Swansea, couldn’t pull farther away from Mourinho’s side, which is six points behind its neighbor.
The most impressive performance of the day came from Arsenal, which marked the 20th anniversary of Arsene Wenger’s appointment by ruthlessly beating Chelsea 3-0.
“It was one of these moments in your life as a manager when you think ‘OK, today is a great day,'” Wenger said.
The day’s biggest scorer was Liverpool, which routed Hull 5-1, while Tottenham was second after winning 2-1 at Middlesbrough.
Here is a closer look at the day’s eight Premier League games:
United goals all came in a sparkling first-half display. Juan Mata — Rooney’s replacement in the No. 10 role — Marcus Rashford, and Paul Pogba scored in a rampant five-minute spell. United took the lead through Chris Smalling, the captain in place of Rooney.
United ended a run of two straight league defeats, but Leicester has lost three of its opening six games, as many as in its 38-game title-winning campaign last season.
Back from suspension and immediately back in the goals, Sergio Aguero scored twice to take his tally to 11 in six games. Raheem Sterling grabbed the other goal for City and the only blot was the sight of playmaker Kevin De Bruyne limping off late on with an apparent hamstring injury.
Chelsea’s defensive frailties were exposed as Antonio Conte’s team was left with one point from three league games in September. Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil provided the goals in the first half that gave the Gunners their first league win over Chelsea in five years. Chelsea hadn’t even conceded a league goal to Arsenal since January 2013 before this capitulation.
With nine goals in its first two home games, a new-look Anfield is becoming a fortress for Liverpool under Juergen Klopp.
Liverpool was already on its way to a third straight league win when Ahmed Elmohamady was sent off in the 29th minute. James Milner converted the resulting penalty to double the lead already established by Adam Lallana. Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho added further goals before Milner was on target again from the penalty spot.
Son Heung-min stepped up in Harry Kane’s injury absence with two goals. Kane, last season’s top scorer in the league, injured his right ankle last weekend and faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
But Son, who wanted to leave Tottenham in the offseason, scored his second double inside two weeks, netting both inside 23 minutes at Middlesbrough. It was a third consecutive loss for Middlesbrough, but a third league win in a row for Tottenham.
Everton’s unbeaten start to the league ended as Junior Stanislas scored a 20-yard drive to give Bournemouth its second win of the campaign.
Still searching for its first win of the season, Sunderland established a 2-0 lead through Jermain Defoe’s double strike, and then threw it away. The collapse began in the 61st minute when Patrick van Aanholt deflected Joe Ledley’s shot past his own goalkeeper. James McArthur equalized and Christian Benteke headed in the winner in stoppage time.
Stoke was denied its first win of the season in stoppage time when Salomon Rondon’s header canceled out Joe Allen’s strike.