Four-goal Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool leading way in EPL

Four-goal Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool leading way in EPL
Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan celebrates after scoring during the English Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns stadium in Birmingham, Saturday, Oct. 29. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

London (AP) — Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool matched each other with four-goal wins and only goal difference separated them at the top of the English Premier League on Saturday.

It’s shaping up to be the tightest title race in years — and Manchester United are not part of it.

Instead, Jose Mourinho is experiencing a frustrating start to his United career. Mourinho was sent off as a 0-0 draw with Burnley left United with no wins in the league in October and three points from a possible 12.

Mourinho was furious that a penalty was not awarded for Jon Flanagan’s challenge on Matteo Darmian. He then watched from the stands as Ander Herrera was sent off in the second half after receiving a second yellow card.

United dropped to eighth place, eight points behind the pacesetters.

Manchester City ended their six-match winless run in style, ending Pep Guardiola’s worst spell in management. Sergio Aguero scored twice in the first half and set up Ilkay Gundogan for the first of his goals after the break.

“I would like to convince Sergio how important he is for us. We need him a lot,” Guardiola said of the striker he dropped at Barcelona this month in the Champions League. “When he shows that brilliance and belief Sergio is exceptional. We want to try and help him to be better and better, he is fantastic.”

Third-place Liverpool compensated for their defensive errors with a fine attacking display in south London.

Although Emre Can put Liverpool in front with a first-time shot in the 16th minute, Dejan Lovren gifted Palace an equalizer inside two minutes. Under little pressure, Lovren sent the ball back toward his own goal and James McArthur met it with a header.

Lovren made amends three minutes later, restoring Liverpool’s lead by meeting Philippe Coutinho’s corner with a header. Although McArthur headed Palace level again in the 33rd, another of Coutinho’s corners was met by Joel Matip to put Liverpool in front before halftime. Only after Roberto Firmino chipped goalkeeper Steve Mandanda in the 71st could Liverpool feel comfortable.

Olivier Giroud scored his first goals of the season within a five-minute spell almost immediately after coming off the bench in the 69th minute. After connecting with Kieran Gibbs’ cross for his opener, the France forward rose to head in Arsenal’s third in the 76th minute.

It thwarted any hope of a comeback from bottom-place, winless Sunderland after Alexis Sanchez’s opener was canceled out by Jermain Defoe’s penalty. Sanchez rounded off the victory after Gibbs’ shot hit the post.

Arsenal have gone 14 games unbeaten in all competitions since the season-opening loss to Liverpool.

Tottenham remain the league’s only unbeaten team but a third successive draw left them three points off the pace.

Tottenham have stalled since opening the month with an eye-catching victory over leaders Manchester City as last season’s top scorer, Harry Kane, remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Vincent Janssen, deputizing for Kane, scored his first league goal for the club — a penalty just like his two previous strikes in the League Cup. But Ahmed Musa leveled at the start of the second half, bundling the ball into the net after meeting Jamie Vardy’s cross.

Hull captain Michael Dawson’s late own goal condemned his side to a sixth successive league loss. Nordin Amrabat’s shot ricocheted off Dawson and past goalkeeper David Marshall in the 82nd.

While Watford are flying high in seventh place, Hull remain in the bottom three having not taken a point since a draw at Burnley on Sept. 10.

Gaston Ramirez ran the length of the pitch, beating Harry Arter and Andrew Surman before striking past goalkeeper Artur Boruc to put the hosts in front before halftime.

Middlesbrough, who collected only one point from their first four games, doubled their lead after the break through Stewart Downing.