LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Chelsea showed off its new-found attacking sparkle in a 6-3 win over Everton on a day Manchester City lost its cutting edge to slip to a surprise first defeat in its Premier League title defense.
City’s 1-0 home loss to Stoke on Saturday was exacerbated by its title rival’s wild victory at Goodison Park, in which Spain striker Diego Costa scored in the first and last minutes to continue the superb start to his Chelsea career.
Another big-money arrival in English soccer, Angel Di Maria, made a promising debut for Manchester United but its 0-0 draw at promoted Burnley left Louis van Gaal’s side with just two points from three games — despite a spending spree of £130 million ($215 million) this summer.
Chelsea has no such problems, with a third straight win leaving the team top of the early standings on goal difference from surprising Swansea.
In Costa, Chelsea also has arguably the standout player so far this season with four goals already since joining from Atletico Madrid.
“He’s literally got everything,” Chelsea captain John Terry said. “He’s been brilliant, and he’s off to a flying start.”
With Costa in such electric form and Cesc Fabregas picking up two more assists, Chelsea has an attacking swagger it lacked last season.
“I want the team to play the way we did, to be positive,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. “We were killers in attack.”
Goals by Costa — after just 34 seconds — and Branislav Ivanovic put Chelsea 2-0 ahead inside three minutes, only for Kevin Mirallas to reduce the deficit for Everton just before halftime.
Seamus Coleman’s own goal in the 66th minute sparked a rush of five goals in a chaotic 11-minute spell during which both defenses were carved open to the dismay of the team’s managers.
Steven Naismith made it 3-2, Nemanja Matic regained Chelsea’s two-goal lead in the 74th, but Everton came back again through Samuel Eto’o’s header on his debut, against the club that released him in the summer.
Ramires put Chelsea 5-3 ahead and Costa wrapped up a madcap second half with a low finish after a back-heel from substitute Didier Drogba.
In an all-action display, Costa was booked for a tussle with Coleman, and then goaded the defender provocatively after the right-back’s own goal — sparking a melee with Everton’s American goalkeeper Tim Howard.
“There are certain players who come to the Premier League who need to understand the ethics and the culture,” Everton manager Roberto Martinez said.
Swansea is tied on nine points with Chelsea after beating West Bromwich Albion 3-0 thanks to two goals from Nathan Dyer and another from Wayne Routledge.
Also Saturday, Wilfried Zaha scored an injury-time equalizer in his second debut for Crystal Palace in a 3-3 draw at Newcastle, Southampton won 3-1 at West Ham and Queens Park Rangers also earned a first win of the season by beating Sunderland 1-0.
City and United had hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of attacking talent on show in the third round of the Premier League but couldn’t muster a goal between them.
A flat display by City, five days after its impressive 3-1 win over Liverpool, was punished when former United striker Mame Diouf ran 70 meters in the 58th minute in a solo effort that was capped by a finish between goalkeeper Joe Hart’s legs.
“I tried just to stay on my feet and keep on going,” Diouf said. “We will enjoy this win — it is a big one.”