MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Premier League leaders Chelsea hammered bottom club Norwich City 7-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, while Everton collapsed to a shock 5-2 defeat at home to Watford.
England international Mason Mount struck a hat-trick for Chelsea who showed no lack of firepower despite the absence through injury of forwards Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner.
Mount opened the scoring in the eighth minute and then winger Callum Hudson-Odoi earned his own reward 11 minutes later when he collected a fine pass from Mateo Kovacic and provided a cool finish.
A third Chelsea Academy product got on the scoresheet three minutes before halftime with a delightful chip from wing-back Reece James.
Ben Chilwell made it four just before the hour mark against the winless Canaries, whose troubles were added to by an own goal from Max Aarons in the 62nd minute and a sending off for Ben Gibson after a second yellow card two minutes later.
Mount’s penalty was saved by Tim Krul late in the game but VAR showed the keeper had moved off his line and when the kick was retaken Mount made no mistake. He capped a fine performance with a tap-in from Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s pass in the 91st.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, whose side lead the standings on 22 points after nine games, was delighted to see Mount get his first treble for the club.
“To have the hat-trick for Mason is huge because that’s a massive moment for him. He’s very proud, he put a lot of pressure on himself,” the German coach said.
“I feel (he is) playing with a bit more freedom in the last few matches and this is what we need. There were a lot of games, and still are a lot of games, for him at a very young age.”
Second-placed Manchester City were at Brighton and Hove Albion later on Saturday.
Rafa Benitez’s Everton were 2-1 up at home to promoted Watford but then conceded four goals inside 13 minutes as they collapsed to a surprise loss.
Josh King, the former Bournemouth forward who was on loan at Everton last season, scored a hat-trick on his return to Goodison Park as new Watford boss Claudio Ranieri enjoyed a much-needed win for the Hornets, who are 14th on 10 points.
Ranieri’s first game in charge, last week, ended in a 5-0 home defeat by Liverpool but the Italian said he had been able to benefit from a full week with his players.
“Of course today my philosophy was very clear. The players worked with me one week together and slowly, slowly I’m sure we will get better together,” he added.
Benitez was puzzled by the defeat, which left his side in eight place on 14 points.
“I think it is difficult to explain when you are winning 2-1 and concede four goals in a few minutes. We need to understand how to manage the game, especially managing when you are winning,” he said.
Leeds United’s disappointing start to the season continued and they needed a stoppage-time goal from Spanish striker Rodrigo to scrape a 1-1 home draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Rodrigo’s penalty cancelled out Hwang Hee-chan’s early goal for the visitors.
Newcastle’s first game since the departure of manager Steve Bruce ended in a 1-1 draw in the capital after Callum Wilson’s acrobatic strike cancelled out Christian Benteke’s opener for Crystal Palace.
Ivory Coast winger Maxwel Cornet scored twice for winless Burnley in their 2-2 draw at Southampton.
Manchester United host Liverpool in the North-West derby at Old Trafford on Sunday.
(Reporting by Simon Evans, Editing by Ken Ferris)