Manchester City slumped to a surprise first defeat in its defense of the Premier League title, losing, 1-0, on Saturday to visiting Stoke. City’s archrival, Manchester United, had a disappointing day, too, despite an encouraging debut from Ángel di María.
After United drew, 0-0, at promoted Burnley, staying winless in three league games, City was stunned at its usually impregnable Etihad Stadium thanks to a solo winner by the former United striker Mame Biram Diouf.
Instead, it was Swansea City that secured a third straight win to open the new season, beating visiting West Bromwich Albion, 3-0, with two goals from Nathan Dyer. Chelsea also earned a third straight victory, scoring twice inside the opening three minutes and three more times in a chaotic 11-minute spell in the second half on its way to a wild 6-3 win over host Everton.
City failed to score at home for the second time in 71 Premier League games, even with Sergio Agüero back in the lineup.
“We don’t expect to lose against Stoke, but these games sometimes happen,” City Manager Manuel Pellegrini said. “We tried from everywhere, and really we were not very creative, we did not find the space, and that is credit to Stoke.”
Di María made his first start for United after his move on Tuesday from Real Madrid for a British-record 59.7 million pounds ($99 million). He showed promise, but United lacked a cutting edge, even with Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney joining di María in the front four.
Elsewhere, Wilfried Zaha scored an injury-time equalizer for Crystal Palace in a 3-3 draw at Newcastle, and Queens Park Rangers earned its first win of the season, defeating Sunderland, 1-0, at home thanks to Charlie Austin’s 45th-minute goal. Southampton won, 3-1, at West Ham, with Morgan Schneiderlin scoring twice.