LONDON - Arsenal reasserted their title credentials yesterday with an impressive 2-0 victory over Liverpool that sent them five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
Arsene Wenger had seen his side beaten by Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea in their previous two home games, but they prevailed through goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey to confirm their role as the team to beat.
Liverpool arrived at the Emirates Stadium hoping to leapfrog Arsenal to the top of the table, but the hosts took a 19th-minute lead when Cazorla hooked home after an initial header came back off the post.
The irrepressible Ramsey added a second just before the hour with a glorious strike, lifting a half-volley into the top-left corner from 25 yards to take his tally of goals to 10 in all competitions.
Luis Suarez spurned two late chances for the visitors, but Arsenal emerged unscathed as they increased their advantage over second-place Chelsea and third-place Liverpool to five points.
"It was a convincing win against a good team and that's what we wanted," said Arsenal manager Wenger.
The display was particularly encouraging in the light of comfortable wins for Manchester United and Manchester United earlier in the day, but Wenger played down the significance of his side's early lead.
"It's positive and nice, but of course it's very early in the season," he told Sky Sports.
"It's good for the confidence of the team and the ambition as well, and hopefully it gets everybody around the team to support us and continue to do that."
United maintained their recent momentum by winning 3-1 over Fulham at Craven Cottage to record a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions.
David Moyes's side effectively wrapped up the game inside 22 minutes through goals from Antonio Valencia, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Alex Kacaniklic pulled a goal back for Fulham in the 65th minute with a shot that deflected in off Rooney, but the champions saw out a victory that elevated them to within two points of the top four.
"It's always been my team since I've taken over from Sir Alex Ferguson," said United manager Moyes.
"It can take time to settle in and it has for us, but Manchester United usually make slow starts and get better as the season goes on."
City moved into the Champions League places after bouncing back from a 2-1 loss at Chelsea last weekend by demolishing Norwich City 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium.