Manchester City won 4-0 at West Bromwich Albion to end Pep Guardiola’s worst run as a manager and stay on top of the Premier League table on Saturday.
Yet his old rival Jose Mourinho’s woes continued as Manchester United’s manager was sent to the stands and Ander Herrera shown the red card in a goalless draw with Burnley at Old Trafford.
Toothless United, with one goal in four games and a solitary win in seven, were left to see the other big guns with title aspirations pull away as City, Arsenal and Liverpool all struck four goals away from home.
There were also doubles all round at the top as Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan scored twice each for City while Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud also struck braces for Arsenal, 4-1 winners at Sunderland.
Liverpool maintained their challenge with a thrilling 4-2 win at Crystal Palace, which meant the three teams that started the day on top remain locked on 23 points, with City leading on goal difference ahead of second-placed Arsenal.
The trio opened a three-point lead over Tottenham Hotspur, who lost ground after their 1-1 draw with champions Leicester City.
Guardiola was all smiles after his first win in seven games and was full of praise for Aguero, the key striker whose future at City had been questioned after he was dropped for City’s Champions League game at Barcelona.
“We need Sergio. We know how important he is for us when he can convince us how good he is and how important he is for this club,” Guardiola said.
“He is part of the history for this club. I would like to help him. Still he can write the most brilliant images for himself in this club. He is one of the best.”
Mourinho’s relief after United’s midweek League Cup derby win over City was short-lived as he began the second half behind the dug-out before being moved to the directors’ box.
The Portuguese had been incensed by the failure of referee Mark Clattenburg to punish Jon Flanagan for a foul on Matteo Darmian but will be equally unhappy with his team who failed to score in 37 attempts, 11 of which were saved by the excellent Tom Heaton.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was delighted with his team’s victory at winless Sunderland, who, having gleaned only two points all season, are experiencing the worst start in Premier League history after 10 games.
The match turned on the introduction of Giroud, who scored with his first two touches as Arsenal netted three times in seven second-half minutes.
Asked whether he deserved credit for the decision to bring on his fellow Frenchman, Wenger said: “The manager gets easy credit when he has quality players on the bench. You do not need to be a special manager to make that decision.”
Some of Liverpool’s most dazzling football was on display again as goals from Emre Can, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino earned them a superb win at Selhurst Park but so was some poor defending that allowed James McArthur to strike back twice for Palace.
“I’m not sure we’ve very often played better offensive-wise,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said.
Leicester earned their first away point this season as Ahmed Musa equalised in the 48th minute after Vincent Janssen’s first Premier League goal, from the penalty spot, had put Spurs ahead just before the break.
A superb solo goal from Gaston Ramirez helped Middlesbrough to get their first home league win of the season, 2-0 over Bournemouth.
Picking up the ball inside his own half, the Uruguayan forced his way into the Bournemouth area before cutting back inside a defender and scoring.
Hull City remain in the relegation zone after Michael Dawson conceded a late own goal to see the visitors lose 1-0 at Watford.