Manchester United waited 16 years to play rivals Leeds United in the English Premier League and wasted no time making them pay for it.
The hosts charged to a 6-2 victory on Sunday, though both teams could easily have scored more, as the Red Devils roared back in to the title race by moving up to third.
The easy win lifted United ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who lost 2-0 at home to Leicester City to drop out of the Champions League spots and leave Jose Mourinho’s side with one draw and two defeats in an eight-day spell.
Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan’s future is uncertain after he was again overlooked as Brighton & Hove Albion drew 1-1 with 10-man Sheffield United while Aston Villa thumped lowly West Bromwich Albion.
Sunday’s game was the second in a row Ryan has been left out of the matchday squad by Seagulls manager Graham Potter – who left open the possibility of a January exit for Australia’s No.1.
Man United’s defensive midfielder Scott McTominay – who hadn’t scored in the league since March – netted in the second and third minutes before Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof extended United’s, with more goals from Daniel James and Fernandes in the second half.
Up against the all-action style of Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer credited his team with beating Leeds at their own game.
“We had to earn the right to win it by running just as much or more than them, so that was a challenge against one of the fittest teams in the league,” Solskjaer said.
Jamie Vardy’s hot form in away games in 2020 continued as he scored in first-half stoppage time with a penalty and then forced an own-goal from Toby Alderweireld in Leicester’s win at Spurs.
“We came here with a game plan and we absolutely nailed what we wanted to do…,” Vardy told broadcaster Sky Sports.
Sam Allardyce is the coach teams turn to when they need to avoid relegation from the Premier League but he didn’t have an immediate effect in his first game with the 19th-place Baggies.
Villa dominated all aspects of a game in which West Brom played more than half of it with 10 men after captain Jake Livermore was sent off on 37 minutes for a mistimed tackle on Jack Grealish.
Anwar El Ghazi scored twice either side of a goal from Bertrand Traore for Villa.
Sheffield United’s start to the season is the worst of any team in Premier League history, although they did manage to grab an away draw at Brighton.
The Blades picked up just their second point from 14 games, despite playing more than 50 minutes with 10 men after a red card for John Lundstram.
The visitors took the lead on 63 minutes with a deflected shot from Jayden Bogle before Danny Welbeck equalised late for Brighton, who are 16th.