By ADAM TROXTELL
Billed as a battle of the billionaires, Manchester City gained an early foothold in the title race against Chelsea on Sunday.
The Citizens triumphed, 3-0, in front of a home crowd to establish a five-point gap already between itself and the defending champion. Even a slightly improved second half performance from Chelsea paled in comparison to Man City’s attacking prowess.
Its first dominant spell produced Sergio Aguero’s first goal of the season. Put into the box by Yaya Toure, the Argentine weaved his way into space before finishing low in the 31st minute.
Captain Vincent Kompany scored his second in as many games with about 10 minutes left to double the lead. The defender held off Branislav Ivanovic and headed David Silva’s corner kick in off of the far right post.
A shocked Chelsea then conceded a third in the 85th minute when it failed to properly play a ball out of the back. It eventually fell to Fernandinho, who shot back across his body first-time to complete Man City’s joyous day in front of a record crowd of more than 54,000.
Elsewhere, Arsenal bounced back with a win against Crystal Palace. Wolfsburg was victorious to open its Bundesliga campaign, while Marseille was less fortunate in Ligue 1.
Here is a closer look at Sunday’s action across Europe’s top leagues:
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Following a disappointing opening weekend, Arsenal got the response they wanted.
The Gunners benefited from an own goal by Damien Delaney to beat Crystal Palace, 2-1, at Selhurst Park on Sunday. Palace had pulled one back to go into halftime equal with its London rival, but Arsenal did enough this time to ensure victory.
Olivier Giroud opened the scoring in the 16th minute, burying a lofted ball from Mesut Ozil with his left foot. With a home crowd behind them, Palace didn’t back down and equalized when Joel Ward hit a low, 20-yard drive into the net in the 28th minute.
Arsenal secured victory in the 55th minute when Alexis Sanchez headed the ball dangerously across goal. Facing his own net, Delaney’s attempt to clear the ball out went wrong as it settled into the goal for a Gunners lead.
Bas Dost is back at it.
The Dutch striker scored a decisive second goal for Wolfsburg in a 2-1 win against Frankfurt on Sunday. It’s the first of what Dost hopes is many as he tries to copy his 16-goal effort from last season.
Ivan Perisic opened the scoring in the 13th minute off of a pass from Max Kruse. Dost’s effort made it 2-0 in the 17th minute.
Just as those celebrations were dying down, Frankfurt struck back. Stefan Rainartz’s 19th minute strike kept things interesting.
Koln secured a win to start the season, beating Stuttgart 3-1 on the road. All four goals were scored in the final 15 minutes, and it all began when Anthony Modeste converted a penalty kick to give Koln the lead.
Simon Zoller made it 2-0 two minutes later, and Daniel Didavi pulled one back for the home side with his own penalty in the 79th minute. Yuya Osako killed the game off for Koln in stoppage time.
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Hamani Traore has started just two games for Reims, but he’s already becoming a favorite.
Traore scored a fantastic volley to hand his side a surprising 1-0 win against Marseille. His first-half strike was enough to see off the visitors and give Reims a second consecutive win to start the season.
Elsewhere, a stoppage-time penalty from Benjamin Moukandjo gave Lorient a 1-1 draw against Bastia at home. The visitors had taken the lead through Floyd Ayite in just the fourth minute.