Seven things we learnt from the Premier League this weekend: Manchester United are genuine title contenders, there's no stopping Alexis Sanchez

A look back at the key lessons from Saturday and Sunday, including Chelsea's strength in depth and Alan Pardew's love of an away day

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Manchester United are genuine title contenders 

Manchester United are back on top of the pile thanks to their 3-0 win over Sunderland. It's a position Van Gaal's side have been unaccustomed to since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson but there should perhaps be optimism they can remain there. By most accounts, United have not been brilliant this season and with so many new signings, more time is required for the squad to reach their peak as a team. Top of the table and only likely to get better - a decent position to be in.

There's no stopping Alexis Sanchez

Prior to the weekend, Arsene Wenger admitted he was concerned he may have rushed Alexis Sanchez back too quickly following the Chilean's summer exploits in the Copa America. The evidence prior to the weekend suggested the Arsenal manager was right to be so. However, Sanchez alleviated fears that Arsenal's most potent attacking threat had been nullified with a superb hat-trick in the 5-2 win over Leicester.

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Alexis Sanchez

 

Leicester approach is as risky as it is refreshing

Leicester might have lost 5-2 at home to the Gunners but there was still praise for Claudio Ranieri's side. Despite the visit of quality opponents inthe shape of Arsenal, the Foxes persisted with their open, attacking style of play. It might have been punished with a big defeat, but it made for a great game at the KC Stadium.

Anything can happen

Just a couple of weeks ago it felt like Manchester City might prove unstoppable. Five wins from five and not a single goal conceded. They then lost at home to West Ham but perhaps more surprising was their 4-1 defeat to Tottenham. Spurs had looked short of ideas and struggled for goals before Saturday lunchtime, yet they ripped Manuel Pellegrini's side apart. It was just the latest of many bizarre results already this season and one that further confirms that this season's Premier League may just be the most unpredictable ever.

 

It takes just a win to lift the pressure

When it seems everyone is against you and you're on the verge of losing your job, simply secure a 3-2 win over Aston Villa. The victory for Liverpool over the weekend immediately lifted a huge amount of pressure from the shoulders of Brendan Rodgers and means his side are a respectable five points from the summit. Next up for Liverpool is the Merseyside derby - whatever the result, it will be huge for their manager.

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Chelsea have strength in depth

A 2-2 draw with Newcastle ensured Chelsea's difficult start to the season continued, but it could have been worse were it not for two goals in the final 11 minutes at St James' Park, scored by substitutes Ramires and Willian. As much as Jose Mourinho can complain about his star players not performing - it was another bad day for Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard - at least he can boast quality alternatives to call on if things aren't going to plan. 

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Ramires celebrates with Willian after Chelsea's equaliser

 

Alan Pardew loves being on the road

Crystal Palace kept up their impressive start to the campaign with a forgettable 1-0 win over Watford. The only match of the day on Sunday was a mostly drab affair, but it was a great three points for the visitors to Vicarage Road. It also saw Alan Pardew extend his excellent run of form on the road, meaning he's now won nine of the 12 Premier League away games he's been in charge of since taking over at Selhurt Park.

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