Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Burnley as rivals Manchester City thrashed Newcastle United 5-0 to leave Jose Mourinho smouldering with rage after the title race was injected with new life on Saturday.
Leaders Chelsea offered a chink of light to City after a stormy game at Stamford Bridge where Nemanja Matic was sent off for retaliating to an awful challenge from Burnley’s Ashley Barnes and the hosts were denied two strong penalty claims.
City made the most of their lifeline, emphatically exposing Newcastle’s failings with two goals from David Silva among the highlights of a crushing victory that reduced their deficit at the top of the Premier League to five points.
It was another ominous display from second-placed City who have scored nine goals in their last two games and look back to their very best.
In typical fashion, all of Saturday’s action, that included a 2-1 win for Arsenal at Crystal Palace and defeat for Manchester United at Swansea City by the same scoreline, was largely overshadowed by the simmering Mourinho.
It began so brightly for Chelsea as Branislav Ivanovic’s knack of scoring crucial goals looked to have set the hosts on the way to a routine win after 14 minutes.
Then an Ivanovic shot struck Michael Kightly’s arm and Diego Costa was pushed over by Jason Shackell but both penalty appeals were waved away by referee Martin Atkinson who then became public enemy number one.
Barnes flew into an ugly challenge on Matic, catching the Serbian enforcer on the shin. The Burnley player escaped without a booking while Matic, who chased the striker before throwing him to the floor, was dismissed with 20 minutes left.
Any sense of injustice may have been mitigated had the home side clung on but Ben Mee rose to power in a header at the back post and Mourinho was left to seethe.
“I am punished when I refer to these situations and I don’t want to be punished,” he told the BBC.
His mood would not have improved when Manchester City took the lead in Saturday’s late game after two minutes, with Sergio Aguero coolly converting from the spot.
Samir Nasri fired into the roof of the net for the second and Edin Dzeko, felled for the penalty, added a third after being fed by Silva.
The Spanish playmaker then scored twice in three minutes at the start of the second half.
Manchester United will be sick of the sight of Swansea who completed the double over Louis van Gaal’s side, having also won on the opening day of the season.
There was an element of role reversal at the Liberty Stadium where United, who have frequently this season played poorly and still won, dominated but were undone when Bafetimbi Gomis deflected in Jonjo Shelvey’s long-range strike for Swansea.
United, who took the lead through Ander Herrera before Ki Sung-Yueng levelled, slipped to fourth, 13 points off the top, after only their second defeat in 20 games.
They are a point adrift of Arsenal who made it five league wins out of six by beating Palace.
A Santi Cazorla penalty and an eighth league goal of the season for Olivier Giroud allowed Arsene Wenger’s side to survive a late scare when Glenn Murray reduced the deficit in stoppage time.
Tim Sherwood’s first match as Aston Villa manager ended in disappointment as his new charges squandered a first-half lead to lose 2-1 at home to Stoke City who scored an injury-time penalty from Victor Moses to snatch the points.
At the bottom of the table Hull City moved four points clear of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers who had midfielder Joey Barton sent off in the first half.
Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion drew 0-0.