United, Liverpool in sixes & sevens
A sensational first-half hat-trick from Ollie Watkins helped Aston Villa to a stunning 7-2 victory over Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday to end the champions’ 100 per cent start to the season in extraordinary fashion.
Earlier, a shambolic Manchester United suffered a club record-equalling defeat in the Premier League era as they crashed to a 1-6 loss at home to Tottenham Hotspur. United had lost by an identical margin to Manchester City in 2011.
Liverpool started badly at Villa Park as a poor pass from Adrian — deputising for Alisson in goal for the visitors after the Brazilian picked up a shoulder injury — gifted Watkins the opener in the fourth minute.
If there was an element of good fortunate about Watkins’ first goal in a Villa shirt, his second was all his own fine work as he cut inside before firing into the top corner to stun the champions and make it 2-0 in the 22nd minute.
Mohamed Salah’s fine left-foot finish seemed to get Liverpool back in the game in the 33rd minute, but John McGinn’s deflected strike two minutes later restored Villa’s two-goal advantage.
Watkins completed his hat-trick inside 39 minutes, with former Everton midfielder Ross Barkley making it five, 10 minutes into the second half.
Salah did give Liverpool hope on the hour mark, before a late double from Grealish completed a remarkable victory for the hosts.
Son Heung-min and Harry Kane each scored twice for Spurs while United’s Anthony Martial was sent off in the 28th minute as Jose Mourinho celebrated a stunning victory on his return to the club which sacked him 22 months ago.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had chosen Eric Bailly to partner Harry Maguire in the centre of defence, his first league start at Old Trafford since April 2019, but the pairing delivered a shockingly slapstick performance.
A brilliant Spurs ruthlessly exposed United’s weakness at the back and made the most of the space given to them in midfield.
West Ham celebrated a stunning 3-0 win at Leicester City, ending the Foxes’ perfect start after three straight wins thanks to goals from Michail Antonio, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen.
Arsenal scored two goals in four minutes to grab a 2-1 home win over struggling Sheffield United, with Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe getting on the scoresheet in the second half.
Pedro Neto’s goal early in the second half earned Wolverhampton Wanderers a 1-0 victory over Fulham at Molineux, leaving the visitors rooted to the bottom of the standings. Southampton beat an insipid West Bromwich Albion 2-0.