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De Bruyne rocket sinks Chelsea, United rout Palace

Sunday, October 01, 2017

London , United Kingdom (AFP) — Manchester City underlined their title credentials as Kevin De Bruyne's thunderbolt sealed an impressive 1-0 win at Chelsea, while Manchester United remain hot on their heels after a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace yesterday.

Having lost the Premier League leadership to United earlier in the day, City moved back above their bitter rivals on goal difference thanks to De Bruyne's second-half blast.

Pep Guardiola's side celebrated a fifth-successive league win, and eighth in a row in all competitions, strengthening their belief they can dethrone champions Chelsea.

Chelsea's first defeat since an opening weekend loss to Burnley leaves them six points behind City in fourth place.

Despite the absence of Sergio Aguero after the Argentine striker broke a rib in a car crash on Thursday, City dominated and almost took a first-half lead when Thibaut Courtois pushed out Fernandinho's header.

Chelsea suffered a blow when Spain striker Alvaro Morata limped off in the 35th minute and, struggling to get a foothold for long periods, they finally cracked in the 67th minute.

Taking Gabriel Jesus's pass in stride, De Bruyne advanced unchecked to the edge of the penalty area and smashed a fierce strike past Courtois for his first league goal this season.

“We are so happy. The most important thing is to win the game, but the way we played, especially in the second half, was pleasing. Chelsea could not play and had to do long balls,” Guardiola said.

Blues boss Antonio Conte added: “It was a tough game, but we know very well that City are a big team.

“We created chances but didn't take them. City had chances and they took them.”

With Romelu Lukaku scoring his seventh goal in his last six appearances, United maintained their own blistering form.

Jose Mourinho's men have now won six successive matches in all competitions.

Bottom of the table Palace arrived at Old Trafford as the first English top-flight team to lose their first six games without scoring a single goal.

It took just three minutes for United to breach Palace's leaky defence when Juan Mata marked his 200th Premier League appearance with his first goal of the season, the Spanish winger finishing emphatically from Marcus Rashford's cross.

Mourinho's men struck again in the 35th minute as Ashley Young whipped a cross to the far post, where Marouane Fellaini stabbed home for his third goal of the season.

Fellaini wasn't finished yet and the Belgian midfielder headed United's third from a Rashford free kick in the 49th minute.

In the 86th minute, Lukaku capped United's fourth 4-0 league win this term when the Belgium striker scored his 11th goal in 10 games since his close-season move from Everton.

“Three points and a good performance. We started strong and finished strong,” Mourinho said.

“We rotated after playing in the Champions League. The players' mentality allowed me to do that.

“The momentum is good and the players are happy and confident.”

Harry Kane's masterclass ensured Tottenham cruised to their biggest win of the season in a 4-0 demolition of Huddersfield.

Kane hit a hat-trick when Tottenham beat APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League in midweek and the England striker demolished Huddersfield to take his tally to 11 goals in his last six appearances.

He opened the scoring with a clinical strike in the ninth minute and Ben Davies added Tottenham's second seven minutes later at the John Smith's Stadium.

Kane's superb curling effort in the 23rd minute made it three before Moussa Sissoko added a 90th-minute fourth as Mauricio Pochettino's side kept in touch with the leaders.

Tottenham have won six of their last seven matches in all competitions and Pochettino said: “Harry Kane is in an amazing moment. He is scoring goals, his energy is fantastic.”

Diafra Sakho eased the pressure on West Ham boss Slaven Bilic as his last-gasp strike clinched a 1-0 win over Swansea at the London Stadium.

Amid rumours that sacked Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti is a target for the Hammers, Sakho netted in the 90th minute to give Bilic's side just their second league success this season and lift them out of the relegation zone.

Peter Crouch's 85th-minute goal gave Stoke a 2-1 home win over his former club Southampton.

Richarlison's late leveller earned Watford a 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion.

Bournemouth remain second bottom after being held to a 0-0 draw by Leicester at Dean Court.