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...
From the sublime to the ridiculous as the top flight's Harlem Globetrotters prepared for Tuesday's tantalising clash against Borussia Dortmund by scoring the team goal of the season in a 4-1 thrashing of Norwich.
Premier League goals are like buses for Jack Wilshere, with the midfielder failing to score in 54 appearances and then bagging two in two to help the Gunners maintain their blistering start to the campaign. Playing nominally on the right on Saturday, the England international looked close to his best form, displaying the old drive we feared had been stolen by injury and bursting through the middle to fire his fantastic opening strike.
It was a goal for the purists, Arsene Wenger especially, as Wilshere and Olivier Giroud's understanding embodied the notion that things have finally clicked for Arsenal. The Gunners were quick, slick and, most importantly, incisive, moving the ball like ice hockey players shifting the puck to score four goals of real quality and variety.
Indeed, if one looks at Manchester United toiling down the wings, or Spurs' struggles to find fluency in open play, or Liverpool's over-reliance on first-half performances, Arsenal, closely followed by Chelsea, appear to possess the skeleton key to open defences. Whether it's better to have a Swiss Army knife with a fine choice of blades or a big box of hammers (Wayne Rooney) and spanners (Danny Welbeck), only time will tell, but for the moment the Gunners' small squad of bloodthirsty geniuses is excelling and entertaining in equal measure.
A great deal has been said about Mesut Ozil's arrival at the Emirates, not only because of his individual quality but also because of his potential to act as a catalyst to improve the rest of the team. That he scored twice on Saturday with the assists left to others shows that the enzyme is having its desired effect. The sight of Giroud crossing for Ozil to head home Arsenal's second - his first ever headed goal in a league or Champions League match - looked as much like training ground showboating as Wilshere's ludicrous opener.
And then on came Aaron Ramsey, a guaranteed goal in current form, to help Arsenal find even another level. "He is the best player in the Premier League at the moment," said Thomas Vermaelen after the midfielder twisted his way through Norwich's defence to score his sixth goal of the season, and who would disagree with the Arsenal captain? The anticipation of Ramsey's introduction made me giggle involuntarily with delight as he and the Gunners continued to enthrall.
Soon we will have to begin talking about a serious title challenge, but for now let's just enjoy this remarkable team and the sumptuous football they are playing. Arsenal are currently better than Manchester United were at any stage last season and that they have found a way to harmonise sparkling performances with a spectacular run of results should be a real worry to their rivals.
Hot on the heels of the Gunners and improving by the week. Perhaps the biggest compliment that can be paid to Chelsea after they matched Arsenal's scoreline on Saturday is that they looked back to their old selves. Eden Hazard shrugged off his recent stupor to score twice and claim an assist, Jose Mourinho was in feisty form on the touchline and David Luiz also joined in the fun, producing a moment of typical stupidity to make things that little bit trickier for the Blues.
While Chelsea were always tipped for a routine victory against Cardiff, the contributions of Hazard and Samuel Eto'o added extra significance to the performance. That the Belgian has taken eight games to provide his first assist of the season (he claimed four in his first three matches last year) has perhaps been a slight concern for Mourinho, who will also have been relieved to see Eto'o notch his first goal and take advantage of David Marshall's unfortunate error to set up Hazard.
With three wins and a draw at Tottenham in their last four matches, Chelsea look to have found their rhythm, sitting six points above United in the table and already possessing a far better goal difference. What a mockery Mourinho is making of the need for a transition period. What a mistake United made in May.
That it was becoming a 'thing' that Roberto Soldado was yet to score from open play in the Premier League this season underlines the unrelenting judgement in the top flight (and this column in particular) and the Spaniard will no doubt be relieved to get the...erm...furry animal off his back. It was an excellent strike to wrap up the three points and Andre Villas-Boas was suitably chuffed to see his team recover from the demoralising home defeat to West Ham that left the manager to stew over the international break.
"In the second half, we were really, really good. After we reached 2-0, we could have gone on to score more," said the Portuguese. "After the setback, particularly at home, we have to respond and I think we did it in a good fashion to keep ourselves in touch with the top."
As Nick Miller wrote here, Villas-Boas must now focus on squeezing more from his team as they continue to gel.
A lively display to give Football365 another kick in the goolies, but it was quite amusing that his first goal of the campaign came from a cross after 26 shots in his previous six appearances. We will have our day.
A week without European football and suddenly Swansea are back to their best, embarrassing Sunderland's hopes of a quick revival under Gus Poyet.
'Perhaps Michael Laudrup's spared use of Leon Britton this season is one transition too far for the flapping Swans,' was the view held by this column before the international break, and it was interesting/smugly vindicating to see the midfielder return on Saturday as Jose Canas remained an unused substitute.
The impact of Britton's inclusion was to afford Jonathan de Guzman licence to roam forward, and the Dutch international benefited by scoring a superb strike and laying on the most chances for his teammates.
Although Wilfried Bony also grabbed a goal from the penalty spot - his first in the Premier League since the opening day - the £12million man is still taking time to get up to speed. The Swans will need that to happen sooner rather than later if they are to banish their post-Europa League slumps and return to their former roost in the top half.
Southampton and Mauricio Pochettino
A combination of high pressing, low pressing and pressing around the middle helped Saints snatch a deserved draw at Old Trafford to remain in the top six. To achieve the result with only ten men (more on Dani Osvaldo later) was even more impressive, with Pochettino now aiming to add cutting edge to his team's solid foundation.
A first away win of the season and only their fifth in the top flight this calendar year as Sergio Aguero showed no signs of jetlag to see off West Ham. The striker is in dazzling form at the moment and again linked up well with Alvaro Negredo in Manuel Pellegrini's 4-4-2 formation that brought the best out of Fernandinho. That a centre-back pairing of Matija Nastasic and - gulp - Javi Garcia was rarely threatened owed as much to City's midfield dominance as it did to Sam Allardyce's 'false nine' system. The brains and the brawn were very much in City's favour, with Pellegrini now leading his team into two tough fixtures away to CSKA Moscow and Chelsea.
A goal, an assist, and another flash of what he's capable of. Mirallas can be so much more if he wants.
Adnan Januzaj's pass
Sweet baby Jesus. The weight of it. Did you see the weight of it?
It may seem a little pointless and churlish to write off Liverpool's title hopes when nobody but the foolish was ever backing them to challenge, but the Reds' result against ten-man Newcastle proved once and for all that the top four should be the height of their ambitions this season. So no talk of second place, Brendan.
I'll spare you the 15 paragraphs on Liverpool's second-half performance (phew), as Rodgers again failed to lead his side to victory after the break, mainly because they didn't fail to perform and were instead punished by some surprisingly wayward finishing from the SAS.
Indeed, both Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez had chances to secure three points as Liverpool pressed and pressed to make the most of their man advantage but, despite combining to score the equaliser, the pair fluffed their lines when it mattered later on.
The real concern for Liverpool is not that they are slowing up in the second half, but that they are failing to build on an impressive run of results by harmonising form with performances.
"I go on about performance because I don't just like to get three points; I worry about playing well and playing in a certain way," said Rodgers before Saturday's draw. "But I can't take anything away from how we've been so far. In terms of results, we've been absolutely brilliant and this is the most competitive league in the world."
The manager has tried to aid his 'certain way to play' by switching to a 3-5-2 formation in recent weeks - which also allows him to squeeze two of his new centre-backs into the team - but questions remain over whether this is the right approach for Liverpool in the long term.
The return of Philippe Coutinho - clearly a much better option than Victor Moses in a No 10 role - should encourage improved displays but until then Rodgers may want to consider following Manuel Pellegrini's lead and play 4-4-2. While the formation is seen as archaic and unsophisticated in this era of 4-2-3-1, or variations thereof, Liverpool have the personnel to make it work, with Moses playing on the right and Jose Enrique escaping defensive responsibilities ahead of Aly Cissokho - or vice versa - on the left.
The change would enable Rodgers to play his three best attackers - Sturridge, Suarez and Moses - in their best positions. The only worry is that Steven Gerrard no longer has the engine to be selected in a central-midfield pairing, with Jordan Henderson possibly a better foil for the captain when part of a duo than Lucas.
Manchester United and David Moyes
While this column was denied the opportunity to reflect on United's 0-0 draw with Chelsea earlier in the season (blasted Monday matches), it would appear that the champions' performance on that occasion laid a marker for life under David Moyes. Chelsea went to Old Trafford without a striker and left with a point and more shots on target. Roy Hodgson may have been delighted by the occasion, but the rest of us were left distinctly unimpressed by two teams who were supposed to offer an awful lot more.
The Blues have kicked on since that night in August, improving steadily under Jose Mourinho to climb into second and just two points behind Arsenal, whereas United continue to dawdle. The players have accepted a portion of the blame for a host of uninspiring displays so far, but the buck always stops with the manager, and thus far Moyes does not seem up to the task.
Managing United is not merely about results (and those have been bad enough) - it is also about mentality. It was a feeble mind that let Moyes down against Southampton as substitution after substitution caused the champions to retreat and eventually crumble. As I wrote here, the manager's negativity stifled the team's intent and that, more so than two dropped points, is unforgivable.
"One of the things we will be looking to try and do is finish matches off," said Moyes after a draw that felt like defeat. But his actions on Saturday did not speak of a man looking for killer instinct, as Ryan Giggs was preferred to Nani in the second half, as well as Shinji Kagawa and Wilfried Zaha.
It is impossible to pretend to be a positive manager. Actions speak louder than words and thus far Moyes' rallying calls have been drowned out by the sound of the sinking feeling that surrounds Old Trafford. There was no reaction to the humbling at the hands of Manchester City, while Moyes' assertion that "we will just go out and try and win the next one" following the defeat to West Brom painted the perfect picture of dampened expectations that fans are being asked to endure.
And for what? To satisfy Sir Alex Ferguson's ego? His incredible achievements in 27 years at the helm certainly earned him a say in the selection of his replacement, but when his first pick was preferred for his Scottishness rather than any discernible managerial success, he should rightly have been laughed out of the room. Moyes? Ta Ra, Fergie.
There is still time for the incumbent to turn things around, of course - five years and eight months of it, to be precise - but Moyes looked like a weak appointment in May and has continued to show weakness as United amble through the opening period of the season.
It's all well and good calling for patience, but it's vital that the players begin to perform for the manager soon. The Glazers (shudder) and even a sizable number of supporters may accept a season of underperforming as Moyes is bedded in, but will Robin van Persie? Or Wayne Rooney? Or Shinji Kagawa? Or Javier Hernandez? Or David De Gea? The whole infrastructure has been changed by Moyes' decision to wave farewell to the old and bring in the new - Neville, Round, Woods and Cooke - and so much depends on that move paying off. It was always going to be enormously difficult to replace Ferguson, but his loss did not need to be felt so severely.
After paying £15million for Osvaldo in the summer, Southampton should rightly expect that he would have more goals than names by now, but the striker continued to look off the pace and uninterested at Old Trafford. Perhaps Pochettino needs to repair his relationship with Gaston Ramirez to get the best out of the club's record signing.
Veni, vidi, Allardici. I came, I saw, I crowed. After boasting his tactical genius against Spurs, Allardyce landed with a thump on Saturday when West Ham were comprehensively outclassed by Manchester City. Said Allardyce after the Hammers' defeat: "For the size, power and money they have, we could not live with them today." Tell that to Cardiff and Aston Villa.
"Since the start of the season I've dedicated myself to watching the games of teams that might call me if things weren't going too well," said Poyet back in September. It didn't look like he had watched much of Sunderland on Saturday.
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.
It's funny how people see things in different ways. I looked at Liverpool's result as a sign that they have improved. Newcastle were playing excellently, and Liverpool twice had to dig out an equaliser. I know they had an extra man, but the point is that they ground out a point when last season they would have lost this game. I'm not a Liverpool fan, but I think they are turning into a very good side. Last season they either demolished teams 19-0 or dominated and lost or drew. This season they are turning those crappy losses and draws into results. Last season for them was a very fine line between where they were and top four, and this season I think they have crossed the line.- mouseybrown