MANCHESTER: Manchester City’s Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva (R) shoots past Brighton’s English defender Lewis Dunk (L) to score their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, yesterday. – AFP

LONDON: Manchester City cruised to the top of the Premier League with a 4-0 win over Brighton on Saturday as Chelsea lost further ground in disappointing draws with Southampton and Sheffield United. Leicester moved up to third as the Foxes unbeaten start to the season continued in a 3-1 win over Bournemouth thanks to two goals from Jamie Vardy, while victories for Crystal Palace and West Ham take them into a share of fourth.

City win comes at a cost

Liverpool can move back above City should they continue the only 100 percent start left in the Premier League later at Burnley, but City were never in danger of dropping points at the Etihad as Kevin de Bruyne tapped home David Silva’s cut-back after just two minutes.

Victory came at a cost for Pep Guardiola’s men as Aymeric Laporte was stretchered off with a knee injury that looks certain to rule him out of winning a first cap for France in upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers. City may come to regret not buying a replacement for departed captain Vincent Kompany at centre-back as holding midfielder Fernandinho had to deputise at the heart of the defence for the final 52 minutes.

However, Aguero soon made the game safe by blasting high into the net just before the break and produced another sublime finish to curl into the top corner for his second 10 minutes into the second-half. Substitute Bernardo Silva then rounded off the scoring for the champions.

BLADES BLUNT CHELSEA

After scoring his first Chelsea goals away to Norwich last weekend, Tammy Abraham thought he had given the Blues all three points at home to newly-promoted Sheffield United by scoring twice more before the break. However, the Blades hit back at the start of the second-half through Callum Robinson and Kurt Zouma’s own goal a minute from time earned the visitors an unlikely point in a 2-2 draw.

As United and Chelsea stumble, Leicester are the closest challengers to the top two so far as Jamie Vardy scored twice and teed up Youri Tielemans for his side’s other goal, but Brendan Rodgers’s men were also lucky Tielemans did not see red in another controversial VAR call. Vardy opened the scoring in stunning fashion by lobbing Aaron Ramsdale from outside the box, but Bournemouth levelled thanks to a neat finish from Callum Wilson. Tielemans tapped home Vardy’s low cross to restore Leicester’s lead, but the Belgian should have been sent-off for a high challenge on Wilson.

However, after a VAR review, the original decision to let Tielemans escape unpunished stood, and Vardy sealed the points 17 minutes from time. Crystal Palace backed up their shock victory at Old Trafford last weekend with a 1-0 win over 10-man Aston Villa thanks to Jordan Ayew’s goal 17 minutes from time.

But Villa, who had Egyptian international Trezeguet sent-off early in the second-half, felt aggrieved as Henri Lansbury’s late goal was harshly ruled out for a dive before the ball reached the midfielder by Jack Grealish.

West Ham also have seven points from four games as goals either side of half-time from Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko secured a comfortable 2-0 over Norwich. Watford got their first point of the season, but remain bottom after a 1-1 draw at Newcastle. – AFP