Everton's Scottish striker Steven Naismith scored a hat-trick to help his side beat Chelsea 3-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday, plunging the Blues' EPL title defence into turmoil.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's side made a miserable start as Naismith came off the bench to score twice in the space of five minutes mid-way through the first half. Nemanja Matic pulled one back for Chelsea before the interval, but Naismith completed his treble in the closing stages to condemn the Blues -- with three defeats and only four points from their five matches -- to their worst start to a season since 1988.
The loss left Chelsea 11 points below leaders Manchester City, who snatched a late 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, but Mourinho claimed he had no complaints about his team's performance and blamed bad luck for their recent woes. "I am a champion, the players are the champions, the way they are playing is not as bad as the results, but in every single game things are going against us," Mourinho told BT Sport.
"We have to cope with it. Football is about results. It's easy to say and I agree completely, but results are too bad.
"I don't blame my players and I don't blame myself. I don't accept the results."
Mourinho knows he will find himself under mounting pressure if Chelsea's form does not improve quickly, but the Portuguese coach is confident he can bounce back from the 'worst results' of his glittering career. "I am responsible for the team. I am not happy with the situation and I am not happy with myself," he said.
"I am not feeling any pressure. The results are the worst results ever in my career. I am not happy, but I am coping well with the situation."
Mourinho's mood will have worsened after early-season pace-setters City won 1-0 at Palace courtesy of a last-minute goal by substitute Kelechi Iheanacho. City had earlier lost Sergio Aguero through injury, but prevailed when 18-year-old Nigerian striker Iheanacho poked in the rebound from a Samir Nasri shot to preserve the visitors' 100 percent record.
Aguero was forced off in the 24th minute after a heavy challenge by Scott Dann, which saw Kevin De Bruyne come on for his City debut following his £54 million ($83.3 million, 73.5 million euros) switch from Wolfsburg.
"I think the team is demonstrating why we have won five games," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who hopes Aguero will be fit to face Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday. "Last season is in the past and now we are thinking about the future. It's important to have a gap between champions, but three or four teams can be very strong and can win the title."
The result left Alan Pardew's Palace third, six points below City and a point behind Arsenal, who won 2-0 at home to Stoke City.
Arsenal's English midfielder Theo Walcott after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League match against Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium in London, on September 12, 2015. (AFP Photo)
Walcott on target
After Alexis Sanchez had twice hit the post, Theo Walcott put Arsenal ahead from Mesut Ozil's pass in the 31st minute and Olivier Giroud sealed victory with a header five minutes from time.
Later, in the day's most eagerly anticipated match, Manchester United face bitter rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford. United have included goalkeeper David de Gea in their starting XI for the first time this season after the Spaniard signed a new contract this week following the collapse of his proposed transfer to Real Madrid. The hosts could also give a debut to young French striker Anthony Martial, who arrived from Monaco for a reported initial fee of £36 million on transfer deadline day.
Elsewhere, Swansea City saw their unbeaten start to the season ended in a 1-0 defeat at promoted Watford. Odion Ighalo put Watford ahead from Troy Deeney's knock-down shortly before the hour and the hosts held on for victory despite the dismissal of Valon Behrami for an ugly foul on Andre Ayew.
Norwich City beat fellow promoted side Bournemouth 3-1 to claim their first home win of the campaign. Cameron Jerome, Wes Hoolahan and debutant Matt Jarvis found the net for Alex Neil's side, with Steve Cook replying for Bournemouth.
The day's other game saw Southampton draw 0-0 at West Bromwich Albion.