The Saturday View - Sturridge saves Rodgers

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Sturridge scored two classy goals against Aston Villa
Sturridge scored two classy goals against Aston Villa

All eyes were on Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers as he fought for his job at Anfield, but that pressure may soon start to pile on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini after his side's latest flop.

City had opened up an imposing lead on their rivals after winning their first five matches, but as a defeat against West Ham last weekend was compounded by a 4-1 hammering against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, Pellegrini had questions to answer.

In a season when he knows he needs to deliver success in a variety of competitions, Pellegrini told BT Sport that his side's performance against Spurs was not good enough:

Meanwhile, former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp offered up this damning assessment of City's hopes for this season:

Liverpool boss Rodgers will be pleased that the focus of attention has been taken away from him for now after his side's edgy 3-2 win against Aston Villa.

Two classy goals from Daniel Sturridge were crucial to their success, but the pressure will still be on Rodgers as he heads into next weekend's vital Merseyside derby clash with Everton at Goodison Park.

"There’s a hysteria around the club. However criticism comes, whether deserved or undeserved, you don’t like it," accepted Rodgers, who may well have been sacked if his side had lost against Villa.

"What has surprised me with it is we’ve lost fewer games than Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in all competitions. We’ve only lost two. 

"There’s scrutiny on the players but it’s made us stronger. We know we have some top players to come back in. The players gave everything, I am proud of them."

City's misery was capitalised upon by their neighbours United, who secured a 3-0 win against Sunderland that ensured they moved to the top of the table.

Memphis Depay, Wayne Rooney (below) and a late Juan Mata goal eased United to a comfortable success, much to the delight of boss Louis van Gaal.

"Last season at this stage I think we were in 13th position in the league table, so I’m a happy coach," stated the United boss.

"We're making better decisions in the third and fourth phase. But you need also luck and also at the right moment that you are composed as a player. Memphis made a fantastic goal but the biggest chance was his second chance and then he was not composed."

Hat-trick hero Alexis Sanchez (below) was the star turn for Arsenal, as they recorded a thumping 5-2 win at previously unbeaten Leicester, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger hailing his match winner.

"He is back to his level. He won a big competition with Chile - the Copa America - and to adjust again to a competitive level when you come back takes some time," said Wenger of Sanchez.

"We could see in training already a different player in the last week or two. He showed that in this game and overall I thought we always looked dangerous going forwards."

There was drama in the late game, as Chelsea came from 2-0 down to claim a draw at Newcastle, but that was not enough for them to trim the gap on the leaders at the top of the table.

It was also a good day for Ireland's Premier League representatives, with Jon Walters scoring in Stoke's 2-1 win against Bournemouth and Robbie Brady on target for Norwich in their 2-2 draw at West Ham.

Read John Aldridge's views on Brendan Rodgers' future and get the best reaction and analysis to all the Premier League action in this weekend's Sunday World newspaper.