On a weekend when just about everybody else around them dropped points, why should Liverpool's title hopes be dismissed? David Moyes is a loser, of course...
Arsenal are top again but Everton are probably the week's biggest winners, with Luis Suarez and Nicklas Bendtner also with big ticks against their names. Losers? You know...
Top of the table and flying after five consecutive victories in all competitions and nine successive away wins dating back to March's 2-0 success in Munich. Arsenal may have been fortunate to benefit from Martin Atkinson's decision to play a disadvantage for Sunderland, but they deserved their victory and could have won by more had Theo Walcott shown the accuracy that earned him a new contract in January. Incidentally, the winger managed 14 goals in the five months before signing his new deal but has scored only seven strikes since.
There were plenty of positives again for Arsenal on Saturday - Mesut Ozil's encouraging debut and another match-winning display from Aaron Ramsey, to name two - but it may only be a matter of time before the Gunners' impressive form unravels. It's the hope that kills you, and amid a brilliant start to the new campaign expectations are quickly dampening by a creeping concern the same as always - a mounting injury crisis that threatens to hinder Arsenal just as they are showing real signs of progress.
It was inevitable that Arsenal would lose players to injury at various points throughout the season, but the current absence of Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski, Tomas Rosicky and Yaya Sanogo - plus Wenger's revelation that Olivier Giroud has a "knee problem" - has left the club treading water ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Marseille.
That fixture starts a gruelling run of six games in 19 days and, at present, it seems Wenger could be forced to rely on the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Chuba Akpom and Emmanuel Frimpong - a man known more for his irritating habit of shouting 'dench' than his football ability - to plug the gaps.
This was an entirely avoidable scenario, but the Gunners will be stretched to the seams owing to the bizarre lack of activity in the transfer window before the stunning deadline-day swoop for Ozil. Wenger certainly did something to excite us, but he clearly hasn't done enough to shore up a squad that is perenially plagued by injuries. Considering the delight at the Ozil coup, it will be interesting to see how Gooners will react should the lack of squad depth begin to have a detrimental impact on performances.
Sarah Winterburn published our apology (of sorts) to Aaron Ramsey here and the midfielder continued to prove Football365 and his many other doubters wrong with another fantastic display on Saturday. Not only did the 22-year-old score two excellent strikes that saw him surpass his previous highest goalscoring contribution in a single season, he made more tackles and more passes (with a 92% accuracy) than any other player. When asked if Ramsey has changed, Wenger said: "Dramatically. He's a different player to one year ago."
Perhaps we weren't wrong after all. The other Aaron Ramsey was pretty awful.
One of only two teams still unbeaten, three consecutive clean sheets and a first win for Roberto Martinez on Saturday against one of the favourites for the title. The early signs of the Spaniard's reign are encouraging for Everton and he still has Romelu Lukaku to call on.
It must be said, however, that despite Martinez's impressive start, it is possible to over-state his impact thus far, with many championing the 1-0 win over Chelsea as a victory for the manager's much-vaunted style of play. Instead, the Toffees' performance was reminiscent of the principles David Moyes impressed upon the squad as they scrapped without ever really showing their quality and made Chelsea pay for their first-half profligacy.
"It has been a big change from the previous manager in terms of the style we are playing and that will take a bit of getting used to," said match-winner Steven Naismith. "It gives you a bit more freedom because the manager wants you to go and express yourself going forward."
That Naismith completed just 23 of his 45 passes underlines the point that Everton were far from free-flowing, and it seems churlish to suggest that Martinez is an upgrade on Moyes following a first decent result. The Toffees have averaged more possession and a better pass accuracy than last season in the first four matches of this campaign, but they will face tougher tests than a Chelsea team who repeatedly fluffed their lines.
Tottenham and Christian Eriksen
After three matches without scoring from open play, the big question for Spurs was whether Christian Eriksen could provide the subtlety they need in the final third against Norwich. The answer was a resounding 'yes' as the 21-year-old set up Gylfi Sigurdsson to open the scoring with a perfectly weighted pass and then played a key role in the Icelander's second.
Although he's not yet in Ozil's league, Eriksen contributed 44 assists in 113 Eredivisie games for Ajax and created an astonishing 138 chances last season - the highest of any player in the league. It's also worth noting, as OptaJohan points out, that the playmaker is adept with both feet - scoring 52% of his 25 Eredivisie goals for Ajax with his right, 40% with his left and the remaining 8% with his head.
The main advantage of Eriksen's introduction is that Roberto Soldado no longer looks like a loner who bought a first-row seat to the gun show, with the Spaniard forced to play with his back to goal and watch the muscle men in midfield toil their way through the first three matches. Although the striker failed to hit the target with any of his three shots on Saturday, Spurs looked far more fluent in attack and Soldado was effusive in his praise of Eriksen.
"He is a player that makes everything look easy and that's good for us," he said. "Today he made the difference. He's a player that can support us in everything we do. He can offer us a lot of passes to everyone who plays in attack for Spurs."
There is plenty of cause for optimism at Spurs despite Norwich's poor showing and with the Gareth Bale sideshow now over, Villas-Boas can focus on combining impressive performances with an already healthy-looking set of results.
Back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since the start of February and for only the second time since April 2012. It has been a gruelling 12 months or so for Newcastle, but they deserved their 2-1 win over Aston Villa and have a chance to make it a hat-trick of victories on the spin when they host Hull on Saturday.
The main advantage for Alan Pardew at the weekend was that he was finally able to stage a convincing return to the 4-3-3 formation that served the team so well in the second half of the 2011/12 campaign. With Loic Remy taking up Demba Ba's previous role on the left and Hatem Ben Arfa playing his way back into form on the right, Newcastle's attacking unit was more than capable of causing problems for Villa and they hit the target on eight occasions - the joint-highest total of the weekend.
"We played very, very well today and I thought some of our play was what it should be at Newcastle," said Pardew after his team's victory. "We have a real attacking mode at the club and that's the type of offensive side I want to put out, but I have been unable to do so really since Demba Ba left."
This column has previously - and rightly - been critical of Pardew's negative approach, but the manager's willingness to show more adventure is complemented by the stat that Newcastle have averaged the fewest number of long balls per game in the top flight this season. The Magpies may still be some way from making a full recovery, but they should avoid the catastrophic campaign that was predicted after a chaotic summer.
A first win in three matches but a third game in which United failed to score from open play. You would expect the champions to be far more incisive against the ten-man relegation favourites.
Wayne Rooney impressed on his return and his continued importance to the team is underlined by the Opta stat that the striker has scored or assisted 40 goals in his last 44 Premier League appearances. At the start of the summer, United had the opportunity to replace their wantaway forward, but now they are left to rely on his impact as the midfield and wingers look increasingly ordinary.
That debutant Adnan Januzaj played more key passes in his 23 minutes on the pitch than Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia reinforces the belief that the starting duo are some way below the standard required. The same is true of Anderson, of course, who was indulged by Sir Alex Ferguson to the point of obese embarrassment.The focus now turns to a tough ten days in which United face Bayer Leverkusen in their Champions League opener, Man City at the Etihad and a Liverpool side boosted by Luis Suarez's return in the League Cup. David Moyes has much to gain by showing the intent United fans are accustomed to and anything less than two victories will ramp up the pressure on the new manager.
A first Premier League goal for 3234 days. Whitto's back!
The Potters perhaps should have sneaked a win against Man City, but Mark Hughes will be
quietly vocally pleased with significant increases in the team's average possession and pass accuracy from last season.
A goal! An actual goal!
The winger has had the most attempts on goal (16) without scoring so far in the Premier League and judging by his wayward shooting on Saturday, that stat may continue for some time. There are occasions when Townsend passes up a better option in favour of taking a shot and Andre Villas-Boas must be careful the winger's exuberance isn't to Spurs' detriment.
Three matches, two penalties conceded and one red card. The worrying aspect of Koscienly's error against Sunderland is that he clearly isn't learning from his mistakes.
Three successive Premier League starts followed by 90 minutes on the bench against Crystal Palace. Fellaini's arrival should hasten Cleverley's move to Everton or similar.
We were promised so much, but Man City are yet to deliver on Manuel Pellegrini's pre-season pledge to play attractive football in the opponent's half. City strived to take the initiative against Stoke, but hit the target with only three of their ten attempts in a forgettable fixture.
In truth, City's starting XI never looked convincing. A centre-back pairing of Matija Nastasic and Javi Garcia left much to be desired, while Jack Rodwell struggled to make the most of his first start alongside Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri and James Milner failed to offer cutting edge on the flanks. The quick transitions on which Pellegrini intends to base his style - and that Fernandinho was signed for - failed to materialise as City toiled but looked nothing more than ordinary against an ordinary Stoke side for whom the crushingly ordinary Jonathan Walters should have headed the winner.
Pellegrini hinted that his team selection may have had one eye on Tuesday's trip to Plzen where City must try to turn on the style after three laboured displays. "(Stoke) is a difficult place to come and it was also difficult because we have a Champions League game on Tuesday and had an international week. So it is a good draw," said Pellegrini after the game. The right result and right performance against Plzen would provide a timely boost ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby and that fixture holds enormous significance for two managers who still need to prove themselves to expectant supporters.
No goals in three matches and no Andy Carroll for the foreseeable future.
Only one win and five goals in their last ten Premier League matches. And yet Victor Wanyama is talking about the Champions League.
Jose Mourinho wasn't sure what to make of Chelsea's defeat to Everton after the Blues dominated for large spells and had 22 attempts on goal, but failed to find the back of the net.
"We didn't deserve it (to lose) because we were the best team, because we play the best football, because we dominate the whole game, because we had 21 shots," said Mourinho. "But the other way, a team that has 21 shots, some of them easy shots and easy situations to score and we don't score and we have a mistake in the last minute of the first half.
"Maybe with that I should say we deserve to lose."
It still seems that Mourinho isn't convinced that Juan Mata is suited to his preferred counter-attacking system but the playmaker's withdrawal after 57 minutes coincided with a comparatively subdued final half-hour for Chelsea. During his time on the pitch, Mata played more accurate crosses than any other player, completed more dribbles than any other Chelsea player and only Ramires made more key passes for the Blues. His substitution was clearly based on tactical reasoning rather than any evident lack of contribution to a profligate team performance.
In some ways Mata's predicament raises questions about Mourinho's management style. Although he's obviously one of the best coaches in recent years, the Portuguese can appear to manage by franchise. He turns up at a new club and shapes the team in the Mourinho brand rather than allow the players he has available to significantly influence his methods. Individuals either adapt - Wesley Sneijder at Inter being a key example - or they
die risk accepting a peripheral role - a situation that is certainly muddling when it means last season's club Player of the Season is immediately placed in a position of uncertainty.
Another problem for Mourinho to mull over is Chelsea's unconvincing options in attack. Samuel Eto'o was lively against Everton, but it looks like he'll need a run of games to get fully up to speed. In that aim, the striker should start Wednesday's home match against Basel and possibly Saturday's west London derby. There is a lot riding on the 32-year-old, with Fernando Torres providing another example of his decline in the final 20 minutes at Everton and Demba Ba completely out of the picture.
The Premier League
That each of last season's top four have lost one of their first four matches suggests that it could be an open battle at the top this year, but on the whole it was another weekend of uninspiring football in the Premier League.
Of course, the international break hasn't helped teams get into their rhythm (and there is another one just around the corner) but over 15% of matches in the new campaign have ended 0-0 compared to 9% of the total number of fixtures last season. The average goals per game in the first four rounds is also significantly lower than in previous seasons as calculated by FourFourTwo's James Maw: 'Goals per game after four rounds of the last few PL seasons: 08/09 = 2.93; 09/10 = 2.47; 10/11 = 2.88; 11/12 = 2.41; 12/13 = 2.90; 13/14 = 1.90'
It has been a sluggish start and we may have to accept more of the same until late November, with the next eight fixtures interrupted by two more dates on the FIFA calendar.
No goals in 21 appearances for the Premier League striker, who missed a gilt-edged chance to open his Hull account on Saturday.
Regression to the mean.
If only he had waited an extra five seconds, he could have saved everyone the hassle.
Paolo Di Canio
Do as I say, not as I do. Goading a referee into sending you off is never the cleverest idea and Di Canio expects certain standards of his players while acting foolishly himself. Saturday's trip to West Brom is crucial before home matches against in-form Liverpool and Manchester United, a tough trip to Swansea and the Tyne/Wear derby at the end of October.
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.
Should hasten Clerverly's move to Everton or similar? Good luck getting in our side Tom!- jelasfirsttouch