"It was breath-taking. The intensity of our pressing and the goals were fantastic."
A buoyant Liverpool embarrassed hot title contenders Arsenal with a 5-1 mauling at Anfield.
Manchester City meanwhile were held to a goalless draw away to lowly Norwich.
City’s neighbours and Champions Manchester United conceded at the death to reward Fulham with a point.
Chelsea took full advantage by defeating Newcastle United 3-0 at home.
Liverpool 5 Arsenal 1 – 12.45pm KO, Saturday
An understandably confident Arsene Wenger took his Arsenal side with a good recent record at Anfield looking for a win.
The script changed in as early as the 1st minute as Martin Škrtel started the rout from a Steven Gerrard free kick. The home side didn’t let the Gunners settle at all as they went 2-0 up in the 10th minute through a Škrtel header from a corner.
Raheem Sterling joined in the action 6 minutes later with a goal that silenced the away crowd and amazed the Kop. Arsenal’s nightmare continued as goal scoring sensation Daniel Sturridge made it 4-0 to Liverpool with only 20 minutes gone.
Arsenal needed half-time to come fast, but it made little difference as the embarrassment continued into the 52nd minute with another Sterling goal to make it 5. A foul in the area by Steven Gerrard led to a penalty for the visitors that former Everton man Mikel Arteta converted, which proved to be a mere consolation for the sorry Arsenal.
Delighted Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers said post-match: “It was breath-taking, some of our play. The intensity of our pressing and the goals were fantastic. It gave us a great platform.”
Chelsea 3 Newcastle 0 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Having seen title rivals Arsenal lose in the lunchtime kick off, little motivation was required for Chelsea to turn on the magic.
The magician was in the form of Eden Hazard whose hat-trick virtually single-handedly swept Newcastle United away.
Newcastle started brightly enough, helped by the absence of injured Chelsea Skipper, John Terry. However, 27 minutes in, Hazard started a move that led to him putting the Blues 1-0 up. Hazard got his and Chelsea’s 2nd of the game 7 minutes later after some good work with Samuel Eto’o.
The game was all but over just after the hour mark when a foul on Samuel Eto’o’s led to a penalty which Hazard converted to claim his hat-trick. Newcastle had very little in response and did well to see the game through at only 3-0.
Norwich 0 Manchester City 0 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Manchester City failed to capitalise on Arsenal’s defeat at the hands of Liverpool with a surprising draw at Norwich.
A win was most needed for Manchester City after their defeat to title rivals Chelsea last week. They failed however to impose their mark on the game as Norwich looked to nick a goal. Key players missing from the away side was telling as Sergio Agüero and Samir Nasri were out injured.
With the depth of the squad Manchester City possesses, this was a disappointing performance that could well affect City’s title credentials. This performance was a stark contrast to the 7-0 hammering City gave to Norwich at home in November 2013.
With some difficult fixtures coming up, Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini needs to turn things around fast.
A disappointed Manchester City boss, Manuel Pellegrini, said after the match:
“Strikers Edin Džeko and Alvaro Negredo were not fully fit. Every team will drop points but we are two behind Chelsea and we have 39 points to fight for.”
Manchester United 2 Fulham 2 – 4pm KO, Sunday
Former Manchester United Coaching staff Rene Meulensteen returned to his old stamping ground to deliver yet another blow to the Champions.
Despite a strong start by the home side, it was Steve Sidwell who gave Fulham the lead in the 19th minute. It was all Manchester United however, and it looked like only a matter of time before the home side equalised.
Stoic defending by Fulham saw them face no less than 81 crosses from Manchester United during the game. While the visitors couldn’t provide too much of an attacking threat, they certainly taught the Champions a lesson in defending.
The inevitable took place with 12 minutes remaining as Manchester United equalised through Robin Van Persie, to the sheer relief of fans at Old Trafford, especially the peculiar ‘singing section’. A dejected Fulham lost their confidence and saw Michael Carrick give United the lead 2 minutes later – cue further celebrations from the home fans.
United Manager David Moyes must have thought his luck had finally changed, but Fulham’s Darren Bent had other ideas. Bent popped up during injury time to score a headed goal that Fulham fully deserved for their efforts and nab a point that could kick start their season.
Elsewhere, the Welsh derby saw Swansea convincingly beat Cardiff 3-0. Everton lost ground in the race for a Champions League spot as they lost 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur. A 2-0 home loss for Aston Villa against West Ham saw them still in danger in the league standings.
Crystal Palace did their survival chances no harm as they swept aside West Bromwich Albion 3-1 at home. Southampton were held 2-2 by Stoke at St. Mary’s as a rejuvenated Hull City registered a good 2-0 away win at Sunderland.
Next week sees a return of the FA Cup with a re-match of Arsenal v Liverpool being the plum tie of the round at the Emirates. A lot could change with a full midweek Premier League programme before that.