The question was always going to be asked. How would Alvaro Morata fill Diego Costa’s shoes at Chelsea, especially after the Blues and Atletico Madrid reached an agreement over Costa this week.
The answer was emphatic: Morata and Chelsea travelled to Stoke this weekend, a place where everyone sees as a yardstick for Premier League adaptability. Do it at Stoke, and you’re good, is the mantra; and it took the Spanish forward only a minute to get off the mark for the champions on Saturday, and by the end of the game he walked off with the match ball, as his hatrick helped Chelsea to a 4-0 win the Bet365 stadium, a place where Arsenal and Manchester United have failed to win this season. Even Costa never managed one at Stoke, not to talk of three. The win keeps Chelsea in third place, three points behind the table-topping Manchester clubs.
Speaking of the leading Mancunians, there was finally a gap this time, albeit a very tiny one. Manchester United laboured to 1-0 win at Southampton, thanks to an eight goal in eight games for Romelu Lukaku, but they’re now behind Man City on goal difference, after Pep Guardiola’s team hit five past bottom Crystal Palace. City’s trip to Chelsea next week will be their biggest test yet.
In Serie A, there’s also a case of teams being neck-and-neck, as Juventus and Napoli both have 18 points from 18 possible, with the Bianconeri winning the Turin derby against Torino in emphatic fashion, while Napoli saw off SPAL by the odd goal in five.
In La Liga action, Real Madrid returned to winning ways at Alaves, as a Dani Ceballos double ensured a 2-1 win at the Mendizorroza, while Barcelona comfortably dispatched newboys Girona by three goals.
Elsewhere, Liverpool came out on top 3-2 at Leicester in the Premier League, where Spurs won at West Ham by the scoreline thanks to a Harry Kane double, while in Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain saw their perfect start to the season come to an end with a stalemate at Montpellier.
Bayern Munich slipped up in the Bundesliga, throwing away a two-goal lead at home to Wolfsburg, while in Serie A, Inter saw off nine-man Genoa, and saw their city rivals AC Milan lose at Sampdoria, and Atletico Madrid’s perfect start at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium continued against Sevilla in La Liga.
Premier League: Stoke 0-4 Chelsea; Leicester 2-3 Liverpool; Manchester City 5-0 Crystal Palace; Southampton 0-1 Manchester United; Swansea 1-2 Watford; Brighton 1-0 Newcastle; Burnley 0-0 Huddersfield; West Ham 2-3 Tottenham; Everton 2-1 Bournemouth
Serie A: Roma 3-1 Udinese; Sampdoria 2-0 Milan; Inter Milan 1-0 Genoa; Juventus 4-0 Torino; Cagliari 0-2 Chievo Verona; Crotone 2-0 Benevento; Fiorentina 1-1 Atalanta; Hellas Verona 0-3 Lazio; SPAL 2-3 Napoli; Sassuolo 0-1 Bologna
Bundesliga: Bayern Munich 2-2 Wolfsburg; Hoffenheim 2-0 Schalke; Mainz 1-0 Hertha BSC; RB Leipzig 2-1 Frankfurt; Stuttgart 0-0 Augsburg; Werder Bremen 0-0 Freiburg; Dortmund 6-1 Borussia Monchengladbach; Hannover 0-0 Koln; Leverkusen 3-0 Hamburg
La Liga: Alaves 1-2 Real Madrid; Malaga 3-3 Athletic Bilbao; Real Sociedad 2-3 Valencia; Atletico Madrid 2-0 Sevilla; Girona 0-3 Barcelona; Las Palmas 0-2 Leganes; Eibar 0-4 Celta Vigo; Espanyol 4-1 Deportivo; Getafe 4-0 Villarreal
Ligue 1: Nice 2-2 Angers; Lille 0-4 Monaco; Bordeaux 3-1 Guingamp: Caen 1-0 Amiens; Lyon 3-3 Dijon; Metz 0-1 Troyes; Montpellier 0-0 PSG; Marseille 2-0 Toulouse; St. Etienne 2-2 Rennes; Strasbourg 1-2 Nantes