LONDON – Chelsea’s Premier League lead has been cut to five points after they were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Burnley at Stamford Bridge and Manchester City thrashed Newcastle United 5-0.
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Ben Mee’s goal nine minutes from time earned the Clarets a precious point after Branislav Ivanovic had earlier continued his fine run of goalscoring form.
Ivanovic made it four goals in six games in the 14th minute when he got on the end of a cross from Eden Hazard, who had bamboozled his way through the Burnley defence.
But Nemanja Matic was sent off with 20 minutes to go, for pushing Ashley Barnes to the ground after a bad foul by the striker, and Mee headed home an 81st minute corner to deny Jose Mourinho’s side the chance to move eight points clear of City.
The damage was compounded in the teatime game as Manuel Pellegrini’s side strolled to a 5-0 win over Newcastle, the game over as a contest within 21 minutes.
Sergio Aguero scored a second minute penalty, Samir Nasri made it 2-0 inside 12 minutes and Edin Dzeko added a third before the halfway mark of the opening period.
David Silva scored on 51 and 53 minutes and there was time for Pellegrini to give January signing Wilfried Bony a run-out off the bench for half-an-hour.
Manchester United failed to hold on to a lead as they were beaten 2-1 by Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium to drop into fourth place.
Ander Herrera made his case for a more regular role in the United midfield with a 28th minute goal, but Swansea were level inside two minutes when Ki-Sung Yueng flicked home a Jonjo Shelvey cross.
Shelvey was at the heart of Swansea’s winner as well, as his 73rd minute shot was deflected off Bafetimbi Gomis past David de Gea.
They are now a point behind Arsenal, who beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park after having taken an early lead through Santi Cazorla’s penalty.
Olivier Giroud tapped home a second just before half-time and Arsenal were fairly comfortable in holding on to their lead for most of the game until Glenn Murray’s goal for Palace a matter of seconds before the final whistle – he still had time to hit the post as they sought an unlikely point.
Tim Sherwood’s first game on the Aston Villa bench ended in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Stoke City, as Villa failed to hold on after taking a rare first-half lead.
Scott Sinclair glanced home a Fabian Delph cross to put Villa in front on 20 minutes but Mame Biram Diouf levelled the scores just before half-time.
And the Potters pinched the three points in added time when Ron Vlaar was sent off for fouling Victor Moses in the area and Moses got up to put away the resulting penalty.
Defeat sees Villa drop to 19th, although they are level on 22 points with Burnley and Queens Park Rangers.
Joey Barton was sent off for violent conduct as QPR fell to a 2-1 defeat by fellow strugglers Hull City.
Nikica Jelavic fired Steve Bruce’s side into a 16th minute lead before Barton was dismissed for attempting to hit Tom Huddlestone in a sensitive area.
QPR rallied despite being a man down, Charlie Austin equalising with a header six minutes before half-time and then celebrating by limping around in reference to having a move to Hull collapse over a failed medical.
But, just after Rob Green had denied Dame N’Doye with a brilliant save, the January signing got his revenge by beating Green to the resulting corner for the winner.
The final 3pm kick-off ended in a 0-0 draw between Sunderland and West Brom, with home defender Santiago Vergini missing the best chance of a dour game at the Stadium of Light. – SkySports