Two late goals by from Wolves’ Adama Traore inflicted a stunning 2-0 defeat on Manchester City to leave the Premier League champions trailing leaders Liverpool by eight points as Chelsea and Arsenal claimed contrasting yet crucial wins to move up the table.
It was a thoroughly deserved victory for the Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, who enjoyed the better chances and became the first team to stop City scoring at the Etihad Stadium for 34 matches.
Even with only eight games played, Liverpool now have a golden chance to win their first league title for 30 years after starting the campaign with eight straight wins.
And as time ticked on, the urgency of the situation for Pep Guardiola’s men was apparent as they have already dropped more points at home than in the whole of last season.
City were again made to pay for a serious of key defensive injuries and badly missed the creativity of Kevin de Bruyne in midfield.
Wolves had two days less rest and a trip back from Istanbul to cope with after winning at Besiktas in the Europa League on Thursday night.
However they never tired and finally took their chances through Traore in the final 10 minutes.
Twice in a matter of moments during the first half, Raul Jimenez was played through by loose passes from City players, but the Mexican striker was unable to convert either opportunity.
He was first denied by an excellent tackle from Fernandinho and on the second chance, he delayed and failed to get his shot away, although he felt he was impeded by City’s makeshift central defender and should have been given a penalty.
City looked like the team suffering a European hangover as they struggled to move the ball with their usual fluidity and Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio was not called into action until past the half-hour mark when he pushed away Raheem Sterling’s shot.
Guardiola was not happy and made a tactical switch at half-time as he sent on Oleksandr Zinchenko in place of Kyle Walker and pushed Joao Cancelo over to his preferred right-back position.
But there was not the speed in City’s play or the space to open up their opponents, even after Bernardo Silva was summoned from the bench for Riyad Mahrez.
The breakthrough they so badly wanted almost came when David Silva was brought down just outside the area before picking himself up to curl the free-kick against the crossbar.
But with 10 minutes remaining, the decisive blow was delivered by Traore as he coolly slotted past Ederson after Jimenez had skipped away from Nicolas Otamendi for his first goal since August 2018.
And in the final minute of injury time with City pushing men forward, Traore repeated the trick when he was put clear with an almost identical goal as he beat Ederson again.
Chelsea youngsters dazzle in Southampton win
Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount celebrated their England call-ups by firing Chelsea to a 4-1 rout of struggling Southampton on Sunday.
Abraham, Mount and their Blues team-mate Fikayo Tomori were all named by England manager Gareth Southgate in the squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
The promising young trio hogged the spotlight once again at St Mary’s as Abraham and Mount netted to maintain their superb starts to the season.
Abraham has nine goals in all competitions for Chelsea this term, underlining why Southgate is keen to get him action in a competitive match to ensure he commits to England.
The 22-year-old striker has won two caps for England in friendlies against Brazil and Germany in 2017, but he had flirted with switching his international allegiance to Nigeria, who he qualifies for through his father.
Tomori, 21, is also eligible to represent Nigeria, but the centre-back showed his England credentials with another composed display to keep Southampton largely at bay.
Mount, 20, bagged Chelsea’s second goal to once again showcase the predatory instincts that have helped the midfielder make a smooth transition to the Premier League following last season’s loan alongside Tomori at Derby.
Danny Ings got one back for Southampton, but N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi struck to make it four successive wins in all competitions for Chelsea, who are beginning to thrive in Frank Lampard’s first season in charge.
Chelsea are up to fifth in the Premier League heading into what promises to be a memorable international break for the club’s three young talents.
Southampton have won just two of their last 13 league games and are winless in their last six home matches.
Southampton threatened in the opening minutes when Nathan Redmond hit a swerving strike that flashed just over from long-range.
Callum Hudson-Odoi was starting for Chelsea for the first time in the league this season and the England winger created their first chance with a burst that ended with Abraham shooting straight at Angus Gunn.
It was a warning that Southampton failed to heed as Chelsea took the lead in the 17th minute.
Hudson-Odoi floated a long pass towards Abraham and he nipped ahead of Saints defender Maya Yoshida to reach it on the edge of the area.
With Gunn having sprinted off his line, Abraham lofted his shot high over the keeper and the ball crossed the line despite Yoshida’s despairing attempt to clear with a bicycle kick.
Southampton’s creaky defence imploded again in the 24th minute as Jan Bednarek carelessly surrendered possession to Willian.
Jorginho played a return pass to Willian who slipped the ball through to Mount. The youngster glided into the area and slotted past Gunn.
Mount should have scored again when he drove wastefully wide from Abraham’s pass.
Chelsea had kept only one league clean-sheet in seven games under Lampard and they were breached easily in the 30th minute.
Yan Valery was allowed to drift past four Chelsea defenders without a single challenge and he whipped a cross to Ings, who got across Kurt Zouma to poke his shot past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Valery had played a key role in Southampton’s goal but he was guilty of deserting his post in the 40th minute and Marcos Alonso moved into the space vacated by the defender.
Alonso’s pass found Kante on the edge of the area and the France midfielder unloaded a shot that took a big deflection of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on its way past the wrong-footed Gunn.
Batshuayi came off the bench to wrap up Chelsea’s stroll on the south-coast with a clinical finish in the 89th minute.
Luiz lifts Arsenal to third
Arsenal edged up to third in the Premier League as David Luiz’s first goal for the club earned a 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Sunday.
Luiz has been a figure of fun for a host of defensive errors early in his Arsenal career after making the switch across London from Chelsea in August
However, the Brazilian is always a threat at the other end of the field and rose highest to head home Nicolas Pepe’s corner on nine minutes.
Bournemouth had enough chances to at least earn a point with Callum Wilson missing the clearest opportunity, but Arsenal held out to record their first clean sheet in the Premier League since the opening day of the season.
Victory moves Unai Emery’s men a point above Leicester, Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the early running for a top-four finish.
Pepe has struggled to match the expectations of his club-record £72 million ($88 million) transfer fee since a summer move from Lille, but was told by Unai Emery to embrace the pressure of that price tag and the Ivorian was in the mood to impress.
Twice Arsenal had penalty appeals for fouls on Pepe by Diego Rico waived away.
However, it was Bournemouth who arguably had the best chance to add to the scoring before half-time when Dominic Solanke headed a Rico free-kick wide.
The visitors were certainly the more threatening side after the break and will rue heading back to the south coast with nothing to show for their efforts.
Wilson had the best chance when the England striker eased through the Arsenal defence and rounded Bernd Leno, but could not direct his shot on goal and Callum Chambers cleared.
Leno then had to be alert to turn Jack Stacey’s driven shot behind.
Gabriel Martinelli was handed just his second Premier League appearance off the bench after the Brazilian scored twice in a stunning performance against Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday.
And he came close to a second Arsenal goal with a looping effort that drifted just over.
Emery’s men then had to withstand a nervy five minutes of stoppage time as Matteo Guendouzi made a brilliant block to deny Josh King a certain equaliser and Steve Cook headed over from the resulting corner.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was kept largely quiet, but hit the woodwork in stoppage time as Arsenal nearly sealed the points in style, but one goal was enough for a vital win.