Arsenal and Manchester City remain in front, but the Premier League title race is far from a two-horse race after a weekend in which the top five all won.
Liverpool’s latest embarrassing defeat, 2-1 at home to Leeds, leaves the Reds eight points adrift of the top four.
Chelsea were the other big losers on Saturday as Graham Potter were thrashed 4-1 on their return to Brighton.
Here are three big talking points from the Premier League weekend!
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De Gea leads United to win at Hammers | 01:07
Mini Martínez a colossus for Man Utd
Lisandro Martinez’s suitability as a Premier League centre-back at just 1.75 meters tall was ridiculed amid Manchester United’s disastrous start to the season.
But the Argentine has proved the doubters wrong, with his speed, aggression and poise on the ball more than making up for his lack of height.
Martinez’s partnership with Raphael Varane has provided a solid foundation for Erik ten Hag to continue, but even without the injured Frenchman, the former Ajax man stood firm alongside Harry Maguire to hold out the attack from West Ham in the second half to secure a 1-0 win. Sunday.
“He’s added a lot to the team,” former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves told Premier League Productions. “He has given them a lot.
“His performance in this game also had a big impact on Harry Maguire. There were a lot of positives for United today, but defensively Martinez was fantastic. Erik ten Hag will be very happy.”
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Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez has been massive.Source: Getty Images
United have kept five consecutive clean sheets at Old Trafford, just one fewer than they managed all of last season.
“He has a defensive quality that I haven’t seen at Manchester United for a while,” Arsenal great Ian Wright told Premier League Productions.
“Not only his positioning but he passes the ball through the lines. He is exactly what they needed. Someone you don’t mess around with, no emotions with him, just good challenges.
“It was a very, very good signing. I didn’t think it would be as good as it has been.”
Ten Hag has featured in every game for United this season, alongside only David de Gea, Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes.
Manchester United’s Argentinian defender Lisandro Martínez celebrates.Source: AFP
No mercy as Potter seems ‘too smart’
Brighton fans and players refused to leave the red carpet for Graham Potter’s return to the Amex Stadium.
The Chelsea manager was subjected to boos and chants of “you’ll be sacked in the morning” from the home support, who remain upset about his decision to jump ship at Stamford Bridge last month.
“Like I said before the game, I had no expectations,” Potter said. “I have nothing to apologize for or apologize for. I’ve done a good job, you can see the team is a good team. I took over when they were fourth from bottom in the Premier League and they were probably third worst team
“There is a lot of money raised in player sales and a lot of good players on the pitch. I hope that, for his sake, the next managers will do such a good job.”
A more pressing concern for Potter is getting the Blues’ Premier League campaign back on track.
His first defeat as Chelsea manager after nine games unbeaten had been coming after being held to draws by Brentford and Manchester United before the trip to Brighton.
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But it was a series of changes that backfired that drew the most criticism from experts.
“Well, the full-backs, we’ve seen that they’ve used a variety of full-backs this season and when you look at their bench they have [Cesar] Azpilicueta and Ben Chilwell,” Wright said on Match of the Day. “But they started with [Christian] Pulisic and [Raheem] Sterling and I found this very confusing.
“And when you look at what they do and when you look at the positions they were in, they really weren’t helping [Trevoh] Chalobah or [Marc] Cucurella or Thiago Silva. And what was happening was them [the centre-backs] they were lying all over the place.”
Potter said the tactical error made him look “a bit silly”.
“Those two’s responsibility wasn’t to defend their fullbacks, but I understand that whenever you do something and it doesn’t work, you look a little silly,” Potter said. “That’s how it is. I have to accept it, face it, do better and I will learn from it. That’s the process.”
Also on the panel, Martin Keown added: “Chelsea looked unrecognizable at the back. I think there were too many changes. It counts against you in that situation because you’re trying to form partnerships and it’s always changing at the back.
“It was another back three today. They’re full-backs who aren’t full-backs. Today they played Raheem Sterling in a full-back position and I think it didn’t suit the way he plays. Maybe Graham Potter was trying to be too smart. clever”.
Wins at Tottenham, Newcastle and United see Chelsea drop to sixth, three points off the top four, and 10 behind Arsenal, who they face next weekend.
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No more home comforts for Liverpool
Despite Liverpool’s struggles this season, a proud record of not being beaten at home in the Premier League in front of their fans for more than five years had remained intact until Leeds’ victory on Saturday.
The visitors arrived at Anfield with manager Jesse Marsch hanging on to his job after an eight-match winless run saw them slip into relegation danger.
Leeds’ determination to fight for their lead was clear as they ran 11km more than their hosts.
But a shock defeat encapsulated the flaws of Liverpool’s season so far. Leeds were gifted the opener by an individual mistake from Joe Gomez and stayed in the game with a wasted shot from Darwin Nunez.
But Reds manager Jurgen Klopp was left fuming at the slack defending that allowed Crysencio Summerville to fire in an unchallenged 89th-minute winner.
Klopp again pointed to injuries and a heavy fixture schedule for such a slow start to the season.
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The Reds are also clearly suffering a physical hangover from a 63-game campaign last season when they came so close to an unprecedented quadruple.
They are currently a shadow of the team they once were and desperately need to limit the damage over the next two weeks to limp towards a much-needed World Cup break.
Former player and manager Graeme Souness told Sky Sports that his midfield “doesn’t have the legs anymore”.
“Liverpool basically bullied teams earlier, their midfield teams bullied,” Souness said.
“And now they’re being bullied. That makes them vulnerable at the back and they don’t create the same chances up front.
“Liverpool is a shadow [of the team they used to be].”
Already 14 points behind Arsenal, the title looks gone, but even a return to the Champions League with a top-four finish is unlikely.
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