Manchester United ended Liverpool’s 100 percent start to the Premier League season — and their 17 match winning streak — with a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.
But there was disappointment for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side who were five minutes away from a win before Liverpool substitute Adam Lallana grabbed an equaliser for the league leaders to cancel out Marcus Rashford’s 36th minute opener.
United are now unbeaten in their last seven home games against Liverpool, whose lead over second-placed Manchester City is cut to six points.
Rashford scored after turning home a superb low cross from Dan James after the speedy Welshman had broken down the right flank.
The goal was subject to a video review and allowed to stand despite Liverpool claims that Victor Lindelof had fouled Divock Origi at the start of the move.
Liverpool thought they had got level, two minutes before the interval, when Sadio Mane outfought Lindelof and poked home but the VAR review showed the Senegalese forward had handled the ball.
But Juergen Klopp’s side, who had struggled to find openings, finally broke through in the 85th minute when Lallana slotted home Andy Robertson’s low cross.
Manchester City kept up their pursuit of leaders Liverpool with a routine 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on a day when VAR stole the Premier League headlines with a series of decisions that left supporters baffled and managers incensed.
The confusion was greatest at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium where the big screen flashed up that VAR had disallowed Dele Alli’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Watford, only for the referee to signal that the goal stood.
Technology also denied Burnley an equaliser in a 2-1 defeat at Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers two goals in their 1-1 draw with Southampton, and Aston Villa an opener in their 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion.
Less controversially, Chelsea beat Newcastle United 1-0 and Everton overturned West Ham United 2-0 while the game between Bournemouth and Norwich City ended goalless.
There was little to dispute in Manchester City’s win at Palace which, with Liverpool resting ahead of Sunday’s trip to Manchester United, cut the gap at the top to five points.
Gabriel Jesus and David Silva netted twice inside a minute for City, who returned to winning ways after two defeats in four league games.
City’s punchy one-two sees off Palace
The visitors should have had more, with Raheem Sterling particularly wasteful, but victory came with the bonus of a cameo showing from fit-again John Stones, whose return will ease their defensive crisis.
Spurs, who had conceded 10 goals in their previous two games, looked to be heading for a fifth defeat in six matches after Abdoulaye Doucoure put Watford ahead.
But Alli took advantage of a flap by keeper Ben Foster on 86 minutes and put the ball in the net after it brushed his shoulder. Although the VAR check ruled the strike legitimate, the big screen indicated “no goal” before it was corrected.
“I was sure it didn’t hit my hand but then you start thinking did it?,” said Alli. “I tried to make sure it didn’t touch it so I could get the strike away.
Watford felt they should have had an earlier penalty but, in common with most other instances in the league this season, VAR refused to overrule the referee, who indicated that Gerard Deulofeu had not been fouled by Jan Vertonghen.
At the King Power Stadium, Leicester moved third, two points behind City, in a game where technology also proved decisive.
Burnley’s Chris Wood was denied a second goal when he was adjudged to have fouled Jonny Evans in the build-up, a decision that left Burnley manager Sean Dyche furious.
“I’m a big fan of VAR but it has to be used more wisely than that,” he said. “Their defender is never going to get that in a million years. There was a touch, but there is no intention in the touch and his gait doesn’t change.”
At Molineux, Raul Jimenez put the ball into the back of the net three times before having a goal count after two first-half efforts were disallowed. But his persistence eventually paid off as Wolves cancelled out Danny Ings’s opener for Southampton.
Asked about VAR, Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo said: “It is what it is. I hope it gets better.”
Matt Targett’s late winner helped Aston Villa come from behind to beat 10-man Brighton 2-1 as Dean Smith celebrated his one-year anniversary in charge. Technology was involved once again, with Conor Hourihane having an early strike ruled out for Villa.
“I’m lost and scratching my head with the whole system,” Smith said.
Pressure eased on Everton manager Marco Silva after overseeing a much-improved performance against West Ham. Excellent goals from Bernard and Gylfi Sigurdsson ended Everton’s run of four consecutive defeats and moved them out of the relegation zone.
At Stamford Bridge, Marcos Alonso’s second-half strike gave Chelsea the narrowest of wins over Newcastle — their fifth in succession in all competitions — to move them fourth.
Sheffield United claimed a stunning win over Arsenal to move into the top half of the Premier League.
Lys Mousset marked his first start for the Blades with the decisive goal in the first half, turning in Jack O’Connell’s knockdown from close range.
Arsenal’s £72m signing Nicolas Pepe had earlier skewed a golden chance wide from six yards.
Granit Xhaka forced Dean Henderson into an excellent save but the Blades closed the game out superbly for a famous win.
The victory was Sheffield United’s biggest result since their return to the Premier League as they moved up to ninth, four points clear of the relegation zone.
Defeat for Arsenal, meanwhile, means they missed the chance to move back into the top four. They are fifth, two points behind Chelsea in fourth.
Sheffield show their steel once again
Sheffield United have certainly shown plenty of grit on their return to the Premier League and have been particularly impressive in not rolling over to sides in the top six.
They battled from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Chelsea in August before pushing Liverpool close at the end of last month, only to be undone by a single goal from a mistake by Henderson.
Against Arsenal they again took the game to their opponents from the outset. David McGoldrick’s technical ability combined with Mousset’s pace posed a troubling front line for the Arsenal defence.
Chris Wilder had challenged his new-look forward line to give the Blades the cutting edge they have lacked this season and Mousset did just that, making the most of being unmarked inside the box to sweep home.
From then on, it was all about the Sheffield United defence. The hosts, incredibly, have not lost a league game when leading at half-time since 2014 and they managed the remainder of the game superbly, with their back three of O’Connell, Chris Basham and John Egan forming a formidable barrier.
“I have so much respect for Sheffield United’s back three,” BBC Radio 5 live summariser Chris Sutton said. “They have come up through the leagues together, they are well oiled and well
Ivory Coast winger Pepe arrived at Arsenal in the summer with a big reputation and a big price tag.
The £72m club-record signing had scored 35 goals in 74 appearances for Lille, but he has been underwhelming so far for the Gunners.
The 24-year-old had scored one goal – a penalty – in nine appearances prior to Monday’s game and should have really got his second for Arsenal but managed to miss a chance that looked considerably easier to score.
But despite that error he was arguably the best player in an admittedly under-performing Arsenal team in the first half, and it is easy to forget that it was he who started the move in his own box that led to the chance he missed.
However, Arsenal fans will understandably be expecting him to perform on a more consistent basis to justify his huge price tag.