By Martyn Herman
(Reuters) -Manchester City maintained their perfect start to the season with a sixth successive Premier League win but it was not as serene as it might have been in a 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest as they played the second half with 10 men.
Goals by Phil Foden and Erling Haaland put the champions in cruise control within 15 minutes but Rodri’s red card one minute into the second period after he grappled with Morgan Gibbs-White meant City had to work hard to seal the victory.
Manchester United also got a much-needed 1-0 win at Burnley to snap a run of three straight defeats in all competitions.
Everton registered their first league victory of the season, producing an impressive display to triumph 3-1 at Brentford whose home struggles continued.
Luton Town got off the mark as they drew 1-1 against 10-man visitors Wolverhampton Wanderers while Crystal Palace and Fulham played out a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park.
With half of the weekend’s fixtures being played on Sunday, City took the chance to move onto a maximum 18 points, five ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, who meet on Sunday, and Liverpool, who host West Ham United.
A City win never looked in doubt once Kyle Walker set up Foden to thump in the opener after a 46-pass move and Haaland headed powerfully into the net from a cross by Matheus Nunes.
But Rodri’s needless altercation with Gibbs-White, who made a meal of the City midfielder putting his hands on his throat in the 46th minute, meant the hosts were unable to coast through the rest of the match.
“We played, I would say, 51, 52 minutes 10 against 11, so it was not easy, but we were fantastic,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “I thought the way we played in the first half was amazing against a difficult side for the physicality, the pace they have up front.”
Asked about Rodri’s sending off which means he will likely miss three games, Guardiola said: “Rodri has to control his emotions. I can get a yellow card but Rodri cannot get a red.
“He has done it. He has apologised. The players in the pitch have to control their emotions.”
A trip to Turf Moor to face a Burnley side who are better than their league position suggests looked like a dangerous assignment for United but thanks to Bruno Fernandes’s sublime volley they got back on track to climb to eighth on nine points.
Fernandes met a superb Jonny Evans pass on the stroke of halftime and his classy finish proved enough for the win.
“Team spirit was big. The battle, the fight. It’s about winning. The last week a lot was against us,” United manager Ten Hag said. “It’s up to us, we knew that.”
Everton’s James Tarkowski scored versus his former club in a well-deserved 3-1 win at Brentford’s Community Stadium.
Abdoulaye Doucoure put Everton ahead in the sixth minute with a strike into the top right corner but Mathias Jensen levelled in the 28th with a shot that went in off the far post.
Tarkowski headed in Dwight McNeil’s corner after 67 minutes before substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin wrapped up the points in the 71st with an effort off the leg of goalkeeper Mark Flekken.
Victory lifted Everton out of the relegation zone and up to 15th with four points, while Brentford, without a home win this season, are 12th on six.
Wolves were reduced to 10 men at a raucous Kenilworth Road when Jean-Ricner Bellegarde was sent off late in the first half for kicking out at Luton skipper Tom Lockyer.
Undeterred the visitors went ahead when Pedro Neto cut in after racing down the right wing and smashed a shot into the roof of the net.
However, Luton were handed a lifeline when Joao Gomes handled in the box and, after a VAR review, Carlton Morris stepped up to send Jose Sa the wrong way.
It secured Luton’s first point in the top flight since April 1992 and they might have been celebrating a win.
“But it’s coming. We were better again today. I’m not saying we should have got something from the game, I’m saying we should have won,” Luton manager Rob Edwards said.
The Hatters moved off the bottom, above Burnley on goal difference, with one point from five games.
Palace and Fulham are ninth and 10th respectively with eight points after their stalemate.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris)
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