A two-week break for international soccer failed to break the stride of Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League.
City swept to a 4-0 victory at West Ham to stay two points in the lead, with wingers Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling between them involved in all the goals at the Olympic Stadium.
Second-placed Liverpool stayed unbeaten, like City, after a 3-0 win at Watford as Mohamed Salah scored for the sixth time in his last seven games.
Chelsea, another undefeated team, will attempt to stay in touch with the top two when it plays Tottenham away in Saturday’s late game.
Manchester United dropped further from title contention after being held 0-0 at home by Crystal Palace, the fourth time Jose Mourinho’s team has failed to score in nine games in all competitions at Old Trafford this season.
Former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri made a successful return to the Premier League by guiding his new team, Fulham, to a 3-2 win over Southampton in his first game in charge. That lifted Fulham off the bottom of the standings, for one day at least.
Also, Everton beat Cardiff 1-0 thanks to Gylfi Sigurdsson’s goal, and Leicester drew 1-1 at Brighton.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80