The foundations are being laid for one of the English Premier League’s most exhilarating and competitive title races.
For the first time since the league’s inception 26 years ago, two teams – Chelsea and Liverpool – have a 100 per cent winning record after five matches.
Eden Hazard’s hat trick powered Chelsea to a 4-1 victory over Cardiff shortly after goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino helped Liverpool overcome Tottenham 2-1.
Dual perfection won’t last much longer as Chelsea host Liverpool in a Stamford Bridge showdown in two weeks.
Manchester City are in the slipstream after the defending champions maintained their unbeaten record with a 3-0 defeat of Fulham to remain two points behind the front-runners.
Watford made an unexpectedly perfect start to the campaign but that is now over after being beaten 2-1 at home by Manchester United, who are six points off the pace.
For the first time since May 2017, Arsenal have successive away wins in the league.
Granit Xhaka struck a long-range free kick and helped to set up Mesut Ozil’s goal in a 2-1 victory at Newcastle for Unai Emery’s side.
Bournemouth beat visiting Leicester City 4-2, with Scottish winger Ryan Fraser scoring twice and setting up another.
The wins lifts The Cherries to 10 points and fifth place, above Tottenham, Arsenal and United.
Wilfried Zaha was rushed back from a groin injury and scored a brilliant solo goal to give Crystal Palace a 1-0 win at Huddersfield and their first success since the opening day.
Belgium star Hazard prepared for Chelsea’s Cardiff meeting with some encouragement and advice from Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on Friday.
“You can score 40 goals,” Sarri recalled telling the winger.
“But you have to spend less energy far from goal and you have to play in the last 25 meters of the field.”
Hazard’s best tally since joining Chelsea in 2012 is 18 in the 2016/17 campaign – he already has six.
“When I arrived I thought that Hazard was one of the best players in Europe,” Sarri said.
“Now I have changed my mind. Maybe he is the best. But I also think he can still improve more.”
Tottenham spent nothing in the off-season while Liverpool invested heavily to strengthen their squad and it showed with the Reds more sprightly and dangerous on the ball at Wembley.
“The performance was better than the result,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said.
“We could have scored more and we controlled the game.”
The recalled Leroy Sane needed only two minutes to score in his first start of the new campaign for Manchester City before David Silva doubled the lead and Raheem Sterling sealed the result early in the second half.
Manchester United have now won twice in a row in the EPL although manager Jose Mourinho’s wasn’t completely satisfied with his team’s latest performance.
Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling both scored inside three minutes in the first half but the visitors had to withstand a second-half fightback that saw Andre Gray reduce the deficit before Nemanja Matic was sent off in stoppage time
“In the second half, maybe our ambition went a little bit down,” Mourinho said.
“We gave them the chance to be more aggressive.”