LONDON (AP) — Manchester City reaffirmed its Premier League title on a day when all its major rivals dropped points.
City delivered a statement performance on Saturday in a 1-0 win over Stamford Bridge to take second in the standings, tied with Chelsea and Manchester United, who missed a late penalty in a 1-0 loss at home to Aston Villa.
Pep Guardiola’s side are above his two rivals on goal difference and also narrowed the gap to Liverpool to one point after the league-leader drew 3-3 at Brentford.
“Today the boys were excellent,” Guardiola said. “In this stadium and against this opponent, to do what we have done makes me so proud.”
Gabriel Jesus scored the winning goal in the 53rd minute of a surprisingly one-sided game between two title contenders. A shot on the turn bounced off Chelsea midfielder Jorginho’s heel and squirmed into the bottom corner, rooting goalkeeper Edouard Mendy on the spot.
Chelsea had beaten City in their last three encounters – most recently in the Champions League final in May – but were outplayed at Stamford Bridge, without even registering a shot on goal.
Chelsea had been anointed as title favorites by more and more people after a strong start to the season. But the way City dominated possession and reduced Chelsea to mostly long balls showed that Guardiola’s team, the defending champions, may still be the team to beat.
City regularly picked Chelsea at halftime and only a goal from Thiago Silva, who came on for the injured Reece James in the first half, prevented Jesus from adding a second.
“They have caused us to underperform,” said Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel. “And it was deserved.”
Bruno Fernandes missed a stoppage time penalty as team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo looked on in United’s first defeat of the Premier League season.
Villa defender Kortney Hause was the hero for the visitors after he shot a header past goalkeeper David De Gea from a corner in the 88th minute for his team’s first win over United since 2009.
But Hause was then called for a handball to set up the dramatic goal as United tried to save a point at Old Trafford.
Fernandes, who had converted a penalty in all three of his previous Premier League appearances against Villa, adjusted the ball while Ronaldo was close, then shot it high over the bar.
Mohamed Salah scored his 100th Premier League goal for Liverpool, but it wasn’t enough to beat Brentford, who knocked the Reds back twice.
But Liverpool will be relieved to retain the only remaining top flight undefeated record after Ivan Toney had a late winner ruled out for offside.
Lively Brentford led thanks to Ethan Pinnock and, after goals from Diogo Jota and Salah, equalized via Vitaly Janelt. When Curtis Jones crushed Liverpool again, Bees sub Yoane Wissa came up with another equalizer.
Everton moved within a point of their city rivals after beating Norwich 2-0. Norwich have zero points from their first six games.
Burnley and Leeds are also in the relegation zone. Burnley drew 2-2 at Leicester, while Leeds lost 2-1 at home to West Ham. Newcastle are still chasing its first league win of the season after a 1-1 draw at Watford.
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