Pep Guardiola made no effort to hide his irritation after Manchester City were denied a penalty in their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

City have been on the receiving end of some tough VAR calls this campaign, most notably in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in August when Gabriel Jesus' stoppage-time goal was ruled out for what appeared to be an accidental handball by Aymeric Laporte.

The video review system did not help City at Selhurst Park, with the assistant referee deeming Anthony Taylor's decision not to award the visitors a penalty for what seemed to be a blatant push on Kevin De Bruyne by Wilfried Zaha was correct.

Though the decision did not cost City, who missed several chances to further the lead handed to them by Jesus and David Silva, Guardiola was left furious.

"It's diving. It's diving, it's diving," Guardiola, who also referred to a similar incident in a match against Bournemouth earlier in the campaign, sarcastically told a news conference when asked if his team should have had a penalty.

"Every weekend it is always diving. [Like at] Bournemouth. But against Tottenham it was hands, real hands in the 94th minute. It's diving again.

"Of course, I am [frustrated]. Next question."

With Nicolas Otamendi injured and John Stones not fit enough to start, Guardiola named midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri as his centre-back pairing.

"Thank you so much to both of them," Guardiola said.

"It is not easy playing in different positions against the strikers Palace have; Zaha, [Jordan] Ayew, [Christian] Benteke and [Andros] Townsend at the end, they did really well."

At the other end of the pitch, Guardiola elected to start Jesus over Sergio Aguero, with the Brazilian's goal taking him onto 50 for City.

Jesus has now scored in each of his past seven starts in all competitions and Guardiola insisted he is delighted with the performances of his strikers.

"I'm not going to talk about how important Sergio is for our club, he is so important," Guardiola added.

"Gabriel, he came back from Brazil, he had rhythm. Sergio was 10 days away without training, but both are important. When Sergio plays he is at a good level and when Gabriel plays he is at a good level, after that I will take a decision."

Bernardo Silva had just set up the opening goal for Manchester City with a sumptuous cross – a suggestion that last season's form might be starting to return.

But this was no time for the Portugal playmaker to rest on his laurels and he set about harassing Crystal Palace left-winger Jeffrey Schlupp, whose pass towards the danger zone where specialist centre-backs should reside was intercepted.

Rodri's outing in the heart of the City defence was unexpected and frequently uneasy during the early stages at Selhurst Park. A slip momentarily left Wilfried Zaha unattended before a rushed, hacked clearance went unpunished.

Pep Guardiola deployed his two defensive midfield commanders. Rodri and Fernandinho, in defence due to Nicolas Otamendi joining Aymeric Laporte in the treatment room and John Stones not yet being match fit following an ailment of his own. City entered the field eight points behind Liverpool in the title race, with the decision not to replace Vincent Kompany starting to look season defining.

But if being the last line of protection against attacks does not come naturally to Rodri, he specialises in starting them. His interception from Schlupp doubled as an expertly cushioned pass to David Silva and City were away.

Kompany's successor as club captain deposited the ball at Kevin De Bruyne's feet in unfussy, one-touch fashion. Where the 2-0 loss to Wolves played out under a fug of doubt and laboured decision making, the whirring cogs of Guardiola's machine were clicking into place.

De Bruyne promptly pushed down the accelerator, powering through midfield. The Belgium star, who did not start either of City's league defeats in the opening eight games, had already proved a menace to Palace. His twinkling triangle on the right flank alongside Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo providing a persistent first half threat.

A great gift of De Bruyne's, a player on record as saying her prefers assists to goals, is he knows when to slip from leading man to supporting character. He found the opening goalscorer Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazil striker's scruffy diving header a little over a minute earlier was his fifth in as many starts for City this season. But the presence on the bench of club-record goalscorer Sergio Aguero – a man not so clinical behind the wheel on the road to training going off this week's evidence – means Jesus must always strive, always prove himself and always make the decision to please his manager.

A pass to the buccaneering Benjamin Mendy was just that. Fit again, for now, the left-back and his ravaged knees provides Guardiola with an extra dimension he will need if a third Premier League title in succession can be achieved despite early arrears.

Mendy's touch was heavy but he was fortunate to see the ball fall to Raheem Sterling, Manchester City's sure thing.

Goals 12 and 13 of the season for club and country came as England routed Bulgaria in midweek, Sterling revelling in tormenting those who send vile abuse his way.

An inspirational figure with improvement still in him – as evidenced by a couple of second-half attempts against Palace – Sterling's chipped pass over the top of the home defence was a string on his bow drawing the sweetest sound.

It was a pass worthy of David Silva, who on this occasion watched the whole picture unfold and found himself on the end of it. For all their discomfort over the early weeks of this campaign, operating without their long-time creator and magician will really sting City this time next year.

His clinical over-the-shoulder volley through Wayne Hennessey's legs was equal to many of his finest moments over a wonderful decade in the Premier League and crowned a little masterpiece. 2-0 was enough for the three points.

Second-half wastefulness and Ederson's athletic stops from Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha showed City will have to be sharper in their next Premier League away game. That's at Anfield next month, but after talking about putting his players in the fridge over Christmas, Guardiola will have seen enough in a cool, calculated gem of a goal to suggest there is life in this title race.

Pep Guardiola thinks Manchester City can still be more clinical, despite seeing his side produce a largely comfortable 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Gabriel Jesus and David Silva scored within 93 seconds of one another with the first half drawing to a close at Selhurst Park, the second a particularly fine effort as Raheem Sterling producied a memorable assist.

In truth, City might have been far more comfortable winners, with Sterling, Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne guilty of missing presentable second-half chances.

"We enjoyed the second goal - it was nice. But in the Premier League we have to score the third and fourth because it was difficult in the end with the pressure," Guardiola told BBC Sport.

"If [Christian] Benteke scores to make it 2-1, then it's difficult. The only problem is we could not score the third one. We deserved it but have to be more clinical."

City produced a fine riposte to a 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves prior to the international break to cut the gap to Liverpool to five points ahead of the unbeaten Premier League leaders' trip to Manchester United on Sunday.

Guardiola hopes the victory is the start of another run for his defending champions.

"Hopefully we can start from here and continue our good performance," he added. "Their keeper made a lot of saves but hopefully we can be more clinical."

City started the match with a makeshift centre-back pairing of Fernandinho and Rodri, who performed well at the heart of the visitors' defence.

He said: "Our build-up was quicker because they have more intelligence and they pass the ball so well because they are central midfielders.

"The season is too long, everybody is going to play. It's another option we have."

Roy Hodgson had no qualms over the result but rued the fact Palace conceded the goals in such quick succession.

"I thought they worked unbelievably hard, we came across a Man City side in top form, I thought their pressure was excellent they gave us literally no time on the ball whatsoever," he said.

"It was unlucky the two goals came so close after the other, had we got in 1-0, who knows? I've no complaints over the result. 

"I'm proud of the way we kept fighting, we never dropped the heads or gave up and could have come up with a goal on our sheet."

Benteke almost brought Palace back into the game with his first touch, but saw his thumping header brilliantly tipped on to the bar by Ederson as his wait for a maiden Palace goal of the campaign continued.

"It would have been a great moment for him. It was such a good header and I don't know how the keeper kept it out," Hodgson added.

"I was thinking, 'Oh great, Christian's got off the mark with a great goal against the champions'. But hopefully he can still take confidence from that and take that into the next games."

Gabriel Jesus and David Silva were on target as Manchester City issued a fine response to their Wolves setback with a convincing 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.

A limp 2-0 home defeat before the international break left City eight points adrift of unbeaten Premier League leaders Liverpool, a gap cut to five – at least until Sunday – at Selhurst Park.

City dominated the first half but it took until the 39th minute for Jesus' diving header to break the deadlock, with Silva finishing Raheem Sterling's exquisite assist just 93 seconds later.

Pep Guardiola's side failed to add to their advantage after the break but it was not for the want of trying in a one-sided encounter.

Silva disappointingly struck an edge-of-the-box effort straight at Wayne Hennessey, who palmed away a bending Bernardo Silva strike as City roared out the blocks.

Having been frustrated for much of the half, a quickfire double had City in control.

Jesus stooped low to head home Bernardo Silva's fine whipped cross off the right post for his 50th City goal before David Silva drilled a volley through Hennessey's legs from Sterling's wonderful chipped pass.

Kevin De Bruyne was lucky to escape punishment for a high boot on Cheikhou Kouyate, but there was no City let up after the break and Sterling rattled the outside of the left upright with a near-post drive. 

Anthony Taylor dismissed a De Bruyne penalty claim for a shove from Wilfried Zaha and Jesus' left-foot stinger was well saved at full stretch by Hennessey, who also did well to tip over Bernardo Silva's dipper.

Ederson stunningly tipped substitute Christian Benteke's header onto the bar in a rare Palace threat, but Jesus and Sterling missed further chances and De Bruyne also rattled the post in a routine City win.


What does it mean? This is not Liverpool's title to lose…yet

When City toiled their way to defeat against Wolves, some pundits decided the Premier League title was already Liverpool's to lose. Such a notion at the beginning of October always looked a faintly ridiculous one and Guardiola's men proved that at Selhurst Park. Liverpool remain in a great position, of course, but there is plenty of life in the race for the title.

Bernardo and David remain City's Silva linings

Not many in a City shirt came out with any credit against Wolves, but it was much more like it at on Saturday with David and Bernardo Silva back to their typically influential best. The former finished the match with a goal and two key passes, while the latter had three key passes and an assist in a fine all-round display.

Where Ayew, Jordan?

Palace's gameplan was obvious from the start: allow City to have the ball and try and play on the counter-attack. It worked relatively well until the visitors made the breakthrough and in truth an isolated Ayew did very little to help his side's cause – a particular disappointment given City were employing a makeshift centre-back pairing of Rodri and Fernandinho.

What's next?

City welcome Atalanta to the Etihad Stadium for matchweek three of the Champions League on Tuesday, while Palace make the short hop across London to visit Arsenal a week on Sunday.

Gabriel Jesus has insisted injuries are more to blame for Manchester City's suspect Premier League form than any loss of intensity.

City slipped to a 2-0 home defeat to Wolves before the international break that highlighted their defensive frailties.

The champions shipped three in a shock loss at Norwich City less than a month earlier and now find themselves eight points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

Benjamin Mendy and Aymeric Laporte are to remain on the sidelines for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace and striker Jesus views those absences, along with John Stones' limited availability, as being of greater concern than the team's attitude.

"I don't think it's a matter of the team relaxing," Jesus said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.

"We have a few players injured, very important players for us. Obviously their absence is going to take its toll on the team.

"It happened - we lost two games.

"We are aware that it's part of football and defeats are going to happen. But we must pick ourselves up and carry on working."

That begins on the road to sixth-placed Palace, who beat City at the Etihad Stadium last season.

Pep Guardiola's men did make amends in the reverse fixture in April but the Eagles will be full of confidence following impressive wins over Norwich and West Ham.

"Playing against Crystal Palace is always difficult, no matter if we won in our last game there at Selhurst Park or not," Jesus said.

"It was a very difficult game, as usual.

“Last season, we lost our game against them at home and we won away. You can see how curious football is."

The future of Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still up in the air amid speculation of a mid-season managerial change at Old Trafford.

Former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has been previously linked with the Red Devils' job and reports suggest that he could bring two familiar faces with him in Emre Can and Mario Mandzukic if appointed.

A switch to the red side of Manchester could be on the cards for both players, having fallen out of favour at the Serie A champions this season under Maurizio Sarri.

 

TOP STORY – ALLEGRI TO SWOOP FOR JUVENTUS PAIR IF APPOINTED AT MANCHESTER UNITED

Allegri has been linked with a double raid on former club Juventus should he succeed Solskjaer at Manchester United, according to Tuttosport.

Can and Mandzukic have been on the fringe of the Serie A club's squad this season and would be trusted to make an impact in Manchester, given their lack of depth in midfield and up front.

Juventus could collect up to 60 million euros if their former boss is thrust into the hot seat at Old Trafford, and they dispose of the pair in January.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are also interested in Leicester's James Maddison and Lyon's Moussa Dembele, according to ESPN.

- According to Il Giornale, Inter are looking at Zenit St Petersburg striker Artem Dzyuba as they aim to reinforce their front line, following a serious injury to Alexis Sanchez.

- CalcioMercato are reporting AC Milan are considering a move for Atletico Madrid forward Angel Correa in January.

- The Daily Mail say Liverpool and Chelsea are monitoring Bournemouth and England midfielder Lewis Cook.

- Bayern Munich have no intention of selling Javi Martinez in the upcoming transfer window, according to TZ, despite previous links with former club Athletic Bilbao. 

- Turkish news outlet Star claim Fenerbahce and Turkey midfield Ozan Tufan is a January target for Crystal Palace.

Pep Guardiola admitted "the broadcasters are the bosses" in response to Manchester City's rearranged festive fixture list - but again called for players to receive greater protection amid punishing schedules.

City were initially set to travel to Wolves on Boxing Day but that game has been pushed back by 24 hours for live coverage, with the Sheffield United home game moved to December 29.

Still, they have less than 48 hours of rest between those two fixtures - with the reigning Premier League champions then starting 2020 by hosting Everton on January 1.

While a fan of playing during the Christmas period, a custom that he has become used to since moving to England, Guardiola fears the desire to squeeze in so many matches is a major concern.

He used the example of Neymar - who suffered a hamstring injury while playing for Brazil in a friendly against Nigeria last week, ruling him out for up to four weeks - as an example of the risks of playing too often.

Asked for his thoughts about City's fixture changes announced this week, Guardiola told the media: "It is what it is. Since I came here, every season it happened the same.

"The broadcasters are the bosses in this situation. I love to play Boxing Day and winter time when everybody stops, when families and kids go the stadiums and enjoy the games. I like it.

"The problem is the same. So now Neymar is injured again, but they travel for friendly games in Nigeria or Abu Dhabi, or wherever far away, then come back.

"We don't protect the players – the system doesn't protect them. It's too much. Honestly, it's too much."

Guardiola was speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace - a game that could see both Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones return from injury.

While stopping short of confirming the duo will be available to feature at Selhurst Park, the City boss was upbeat over their outlook.

"Some of them are better. Kevin is back and John trained in the last two days and is good," he said. "[Benjamin] Mendy as well, maybe later, but as well."

Sergio Aguero was involved in a minor car crash in midweek, but Guardiola had positive news on the striker's status: "He is fine. The car is not fine."

Christian Benteke and James Tomkins have signed new deals with Crystal Palace, the Premier League club have announced.

Belgium striker Benteke has scored just one top-flight goal since the start of last season and was due to be out of contract next June.

The 28-year-old has agreed to stay on for a further 12 months, however, while centre-back Tomkins has extended his deal through to the end of 2021-22.

Tomkins has played 87 times for the south London side since joining in 2016, but he has not featured since injuring his groin in April.

Palace confirmed the new deals on their official website on Thursday and chairman Steve Parish added: "I'm pleased that agreements have been reached with these two important senior players. 

"Both James and Christian bring vast Premier League experience, commitment and professionalism to the squad.  

"These new deals show that we recognise their levels of performance in recent seasons, that we believe in both players, and that they are hugely motivated by the direction the club is heading."

With Edinson Cavani's contract set to expire, a move away from the French capital has been mooted.

The Paris Saint-Germain veteran has been linked to David Beckham's incoming MLS expansion franchise Inter Miami.

However, Cavani reportedly wants a return to Serie A and the titleholders stand out.

 

TOP STORY – CAVANI EYES JUVE SWITCH

Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani wants to join Serie A champions Juventus, according to Calciomercato.

Cavani – who has become PSG's all-time leading goalscorer since arriving from Napoli in 2013 – is out of contract at season's end.

With limited progress on a renewal, the 32-year-old's representatives have reportedly reached out to Juve over a return to Italy.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Sky Sport in Germany, Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng is eyeing a move to Serie A or LaLiga. The 31-year-old was linked with PSG during the last transfer window.

- Former France and PSG head coach Laurent Blanc is keen on a job in the Premier League, reports in France say. Blanc was linked to the Lyon vacancy but the Ligue 1 strugglers have opted for ex-Marseille boss Rudi Garcia.

- Passione Inter claims Crystal Palace are looking to sign Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa. The 23-year-old Brazilian is starring on loan at Flamengo, having struggled to establish himself with Inter.

Inter and AC Milan are both interested in Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil, Calciomercato says.

- Calciomercato reports Manchester United are competing with Milan for Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Crystal Palace say they are taking action after Wilfried Zaha received further racist abuse on social media.

The Eagles released a statement on Wednesday threatening legal action against the perpetrators and calling for co-operation from other Premier League clubs.

"Crystal Palace Football Club has taken action after one of our players, Wilfried Zaha, has again been subjected to racist abuse on social media," the statement said.

"We will not tolerate this behaviour being directed at any of our players and will fully support them in dealing with such incidents.

"Any action we can take unilaterally as a club will be taken immediately and we will also seek cooperation from other clubs where relevant, following that we will pursue the matter criminally with the full force of whatever the law allows."

Ivory Coast international Zaha previously said he received racist abuse and death threats on social media after winning a penalty in a 2-2 Premier League draw with Arsenal last October.

In an Instagram post at the time, he said: "For all the people taking it one step further and being racist and wishing death on my family, I wish you and your families the best too.

"My life is still very good despite your hate."

Liverpool needed a James Milner penalty deep in second-half stoppage time to edge to a 2-1 victory over Leicester City as they were made to sweat for their eighth consecutive Premier League win of the season.

James Maddison's second-half strike cancelled out Sadio Mane's first-half opener at Anfield where Milner converted a spot-kick, much to the relief of Jurgen Klopp and an expectant home crowd.

The pressure on Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino increased after his side were beaten 3-0 by Brighton, leaving the Champions League finalists with a record of two wins and three defeats from their last seven Premier League games.

Watford's wait for a first win of the season goes on after their goalless draw with Sheffield United, but there were victories elsewhere for Burnley and Aston Villa - the latter subjecting Norwich City to a humiliating 5-1 home defeat.

TOUGHEST TEST YET FOR HIGH-FLYING REDS

It looked like another comfortable game in prospect for Liverpool when Mane rolled in the opening goal five minutes before half-time against Leicester.

But the Foxes had only been beaten once this season before arriving on Merseyside and they matched the league leaders for long spells before Maddison made their pressure count by rattling an equaliser into the net 10 minutes from time.

Liverpool attempted 11 second-half shots to Leicester's two but remained on course to drop points for the first time this season until Marc Albrighton fouled Mane in the box with the clock ticking down.

Milner swept the ensuing penalty into the net to maintain the Reds' 100 per cent record ahead of second-placed Manchester City's clash with Wolves on Sunday.

LLORIS FORCED OFF AS SPURS' SLUMP CONTINUES

Tottenham's afternoon got off to a terrible start when goalkeeper Hugo Lloris gifted Neal Maupay with Brighton's opening goal and then had to be taken off on a stretcher with a serious arm injury.

Mauricio Pochettino's men, still smarting from a 7-2 Champions League thumping by Bayern Munich and a run of one win in their previous five matches, found themselves trailing by two after 32 minutes when Aaron Connolly scored his first senior goal for Brighton in his first Premier League start.

The visitors came out looking bright after the interval as they attempted to break the storm clouds gathering over their coach's head but mustered just two shots on target in a tepid second half.

Brighton, meanwhile, continued to probe and press for openings, and Connolly scored the pick of the goals after 65 minutes to wrap up a memorable afternoon for him and a first league win for the Seagulls since the opening day.

WESLEY BAGS BRACE FOR RAMPANT VILLA

The last time Aston Villa scored five goals in a Premier League away match was in April 2008 but they achieved the feat again in a 5-1 demolition of sorry Norwich City.

Dean Smith's men won just one of their opening seven league games this season but raced into a two-goal lead at Carrow Road within half an hour, thanks to Wesley's sharp shooting.

The Brazilian forward then missed a penalty but a superb second-half display from the visitors ensured it mattered not, with Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane doubling Villa's lead before Douglas Luiz gave the travelling supporters a moment to treasure.

The 21-year-old received the ball 20 yards from goal and guided a curling shot into the top corner of Michael McGovern's net and, although Josip Drmic bagged a consolation for the Canaries, it was Villa's fans who went home smiling.

Liverpool's flawless start to their Premier League season continued on Saturday with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Sheffield United thanks to Georginio Wijnaldum's winner.

The Reds were made to battle by the Blades and secured their seventh win in as many games after Dutch midfielder Wijnaldum's shot squirmed through the legs of Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

Chelsea earned Frank Lampard his first league win at Stamford Bridge with a 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion, while top-four rivals Tottenham, who were reduced to 10 men, claimed a 2-1 win over Southampton.

Elsewhere, Wolves beat Watford 2-0, Crystal Palace battled to a 2-0 win against Norwich City, and Aston Villa's clash with Burnley and Bournemouth's match against West Ham both finished in 2-2 draws.

KLOPP'S MEN SHOW THEIR GRIT

This was a day when Liverpool had to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in. Sheffield United did not give Jurgen Klopp's side an inch and the German had to squeeze every ounce of effort out of his players.

It was even more acute when Liverpool's front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino seemed to forget where the goal was and errant finishing might have proved costly on another day.

Klopp's side have been renowned for their free-flowing football but they showed a grittier side against dogged opponents at Bramall Lane.

If they are to go one better than last season and beat Manchester City to the title that resilience, especially away from Anfield, is going to be key.

HOME COMFORT FOR LAMPARD

Lampard had gone into this game without a Premier League victory at Stamford Bridge – it was an itch he was absolutely desperate to scratch.

Chelsea thrashed Grimsby 7-1 in the EFL Cup on Wednesday to give Lampard his first win on home soil, but it is the league where the former England international will be judged and he needed three points against Brighton.

At half-time, with the scoreline goalless against the Seagulls, Lampard might have been more than a little concerned.

However, a penalty from Jorginho five minutes into the second half eased the nerves before compatriot Willian added a second to give Chelsea a routine victory.

SPURS SHOW THEIR METTLE

This had all the hallmarks of being a miserable day for Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino, but he ended up with a smile on his face.

A red card for Serge Aurier just after the half-hour mark and a howler from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had the whiff of a Tottenham implosion.

Tanguy Ndombele put Tottenham ahead before Aurier was shown a second yellow card. Lloris then sloppily allowed Danny Ings to equalise when he casually received a Toby Alderweireld pass.

Harry Kane had Spurs ahead again before half-time but, playing the majority of the game with 10 men, Southampton had chances. Spurs, though, showed plenty of backbone to earn the three points.

LATE EQUALISERS FOR BURNLEY AND WEST HAM

Aston Villa missed the chance for a second league win after they were twice pegged by Burnley. Anwar El Ghazi put Villa ahead before Jay Rodriguez levelled. John McGinn had Dean Smith's side in front again, only for Chris Wood to equalise with nine minutes left.

Bournemouth's clash with West Ham also finished 2-2. Andriy Yarmolenko's third league goal of the campaign put the Hammers in the lead but Josh King equalised. In-form Callum Wilson then struck in the first minute after half-time only for Aaron Cresswell to secure a share of the spoils for the Hammers.

In the day's other games, Wolves banked their first three points of the season with a 2-0 victory over winless Watford, who prop up the rest of the table, thanks to a strike from Matt Doherty and Daryl Janmaat's own goal.

Crystal Palace clinched a 2-0 win over newly promoted Norwich to move into the comfort of mid-table following a penalty from spot-kick expert Luka Milivojevic and an injury-time strike from Andros Townsend.

Liverpool extended their 100 per cent start to the Premier League season by winning 2-1 at Chelsea, while Manchester United fell to a 2-0 defeat at West Ham.

Trent Alexander-Arnold's superb strike put the Reds in front at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and Roberto Firmino added a second for Jurgen Klopp's men, who held off a Chelsea fightback.

They move five points clear of Manchester City, who see their local rivals United down in eighth and without an away Premier League victory since February.

Ten-man Arsenal came from behind twice to earn a thrilling 3-2 win at home to Aston Villa and there was also late drama in the game between Crystal Palace and Wolves.


REDS CONTINUE WINNING RUN

Liverpool's winning run now stands at 15 consecutive victories in the Premier League with the European champions showing remarkable consistency as they bid to unseat Manchester City.

They were grateful to VAR, though, with the use of video technology chalking off a Cesar Azpilicueta goal for an offside against Mason Mount that would have levelled the scores at 1-1.

Chelsea lost defensive duo Emerson Palmieri and Andreas Christensen to injuries in the first half but still gave themselves hope of a fightback thanks to N'Golo Kante's screamer.

Liverpool held firm, though, and while they have only kept one clean sheet in all competitions this season, this was a welcome victory after a 2-0 Champions League loss to Napoli in midweek.


AUBAMEYANG SAVES THE DAY

Arsenal produced a stunning comeback to down Villa despite Ainsley Maitland-Niles' first-half red card at Emirates Stadium, the Gunners moving up to fourth in the league.

Unai Emery handed 18-year-old Bukayo Saka his first Premier League start but the teenager was withdrawn at half-time after John McGinn opened the scoring and Arsenal were reduced to 10 men.

Nicolas Pepe converted a penalty for his first Arsenal goal and while Wesley rapidly restored the Villa lead, the Gunners produced a rapid double to take the points.

Substitute Calum Chambers drew Arsenal level with a clever finish and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rode to the rescue with a free-kick, although Sokratis Papastathopoulos was fortunate not to concede a late penalty for an apparent handball in the box.


MORE AWAY WOES FOR SOLSKJAER

After a good week that saw United earn narrow wins over Leicester City and Astana, it was back down to earth with a bump for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side at London Stadium.

Marcus Rashford went off injured and goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell earned the Hammers a deserved win, leaving United on eight points from six games.

United are winless in their past nine away matches in all competitions now, while the potential absence of Rashford could leave them reliant on 17-year-old striker Mason Greenwood after the departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku to Inter.


WOLVES LEAVE IT LATE

A fourth draw of the season was not enough to lift Wolves up from 19th in the table, but Nuno Espirito Santo's side will be thrilled to have escaped from Selhurst Park with a point.

An own goal from Leander Dendoncker, whose decisive deflection on a Joel Ward shot beat Rui Patricio, put Palace ahead.

But even after Romain Saiss was dismissed for his second yellow card of the game, Wolves continued to press and Diogo Jota stabbed home in the fifth minute of added time to claim a draw.

Manchester City lost in the Premier League for the first time since January as a 3-2 defeat at injury-hit Norwich City left them five points behind leaders Liverpool in the title race.

The Reds extended their perfect run to five wins from five with a 3-1 comeback victory at home to Newcastle United in Saturday's early kick-off.

And that victory was given even more importance when the Canaries rocked the champions at Carrow Road despite being without 11 players who are in the treatment room.

There were also big wins for Tottenham and Chelsea, Manchester United handed Leicester City their first defeat of the season, Southampton won at 10-man Sheffield United and Burnley struck late to claim a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion.

LAPORTE LOSS HURTS CHAMPIONS

Aymeric Laporte has been ruled out for six months after surgery on his right knee and City's diabolical defensive performance indicated the centre-back will be horribly missed.

Kyle Walker, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi were all at fault at various times as goals from Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and August's Premier League player of the month Teemu Pukki earned Norwich a deserved victory against massive odds.

Pep Guardiola began with Kevin De Bruyne on the bench ahead of the Champions League starting next week and the decision backfired as City looked lost without their midfield talisman, although Sergio Aguero and Rodri struck to spark hopes of a comeback.

It is early days in the title race, but Liverpool are already looking very strong while City's weaknesses were ruthlessly exposed by Norwich in their second home win of the season.


FIVE IN A ROW FOR REDS

Newcastle United took a shock early lead at Anfield thanks to a thunderbolt from left-back Jetro Willems, but that proved as good as it got for Steve Bruce's men as they went down 3-1 to leaders Liverpool.

Sadio Mane was inspirational as the Senegal star scored twice to turn the game on its head, his second thanks to poor goalkeeping from Martin Dubravka, before Mohamed Salah wrapped things up.

With a perfect record from their five fixtures in 2019-20, Liverpool are up to 14 straight wins in the Premier League – and they are the first team in the competition's history to do so scoring more than once in each game.

This result moved them five points clear at the top and the European champions could hardly be in better shape ahead of beginning their Champions League defence away to Napoli on Tuesday.


SPURS AND CHELSEA RUN RIOT

At half-time, Spurs were 4-0 up at home to Crystal Palace while Chelsea were 3-0 up away to winless Wolves, Fiyako Tomori netting a stunner with Abraham scoring at least twice for the third Premier League game in a row.

He went one better after the break to set a record for the Blues, though a touch of the shine was taken off his performance when he put through an own goal to hand Wolves a consolation, which they added to through Patrick Cutrone.

Abraham, now the top scorer this season with seven strikes, is the first player in the history of the Premier League to score a hat-trick as well as an own goal in the same game, with fellow England talent Mason Mount also on target late on.

Son Heung-min proved unstoppable for the Eagles, with the South Korea star involved in Spurs' first three goals before Harry Kane set up Erik Lamela to make it four.

It was a much-needed three points for Spurs, who were on a three-game winless run, with a trip to Olympiacos in the Champions League to come next for Mauricio Pochettino's side.


RASHFORD PENALTY SEES UNITED BOUNCE BACK

Like Spurs, United had failed to win any of their three league games going into the international break, but they showed resilience to edge a slim victory at home to Leicester despite being without Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard.

Rashford won an early penalty when he was clumsily brought down by Caglar Soyuncu and, unlike in their 2-1 loss at home to Palace, this time he converted from 12 yards to condemn the Foxes to their first defeat of the season.

Moussa Djenepo's excellent goal earned Southampton a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane, where the Blades were cut down to 10 men when substitute striker Billy Sharp was dismissed for a challenge on Stuart Armstrong.

Brighton looked to be heading for their first home league win since March 2 thanks to Neal Maupay's controlled volley but Burnley substitute Jeff Hendrick marked his 100th Premier League appearance with a stunning late equaliser.

In the first minute of added time, the Republic of Ireland midfielder collected a lay-off from Matej Vydra to rifle a first-time drive into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards.

Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham's 4-0 thumping of Crystal Palace was proof his squad were previously "unsettled".

Spurs made an unconvincing start to the season prior to the international break but put on a show at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.

Son Heung-min scored twice, either side of an own goal from Patrick van Aanholt, and Erik Lamela rounded off the rout before the break.

Pochettino issued a rallying cry to his team when addressing the media earlier this week, after close-season disruption that saw Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama, Serge Aurier and Danny Rose all linked with moves and rumblings over the futures of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.

However, the European transfer window passed with none of the supposed wantaway stars leaving and Pochettino showed a hint of frustration, while expressing relief the focus is now on the pitch.

"I think it [thrashing Palace] showed that the team was unsettled [before]. When the team is unsettled, when the squad is unsettled, it is so difficult to perform in the way you want to perform," Pochettino said. 

"I'm not complaining or blaming anyone. The focus wasn't on playing football and it wasn't on trying to improve. The focus wasn't on the places we wanted it and it's not easy to perform that way.

"Of course we have quality, enough to win games without focus, but when you are focused it showed, in that first half the performance of the team ... the intensity, the concentration.

"We know what we need to do and when you are able to do that, the quality we have appears. We have tremendous quality in our squad, unbelievable players. If we show that intensity in all our games, for sure we are going to fight for big things."

Aurier has struggled to nail down a starting spot since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017 and only made his first start of the campaign against Palace despite the sale of fellow right-back Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid.

The Ivory Coast full-back impressed against the Eagles, but Pochettino says it is on Aurier and his team-mates to show more consistency.

"He's very happy, we were very happy too, I think the performance was great. First half was fantastic, his concentration and focus," Pochettino added.

"Now he needs to show and be consistent. It's not only one game and the second game the focus and intensity start to drop.

"That is the key in our team, not only him but all the players. All the players need to be consistent and understand that every time we are going to compete we have to give our best. Give like a collective our best and for sure we have the quality to beat any team."

Opposition boss Roy Hodgson admitted his Palace side were simply outplayed in north London and had no qualms about the result.

"Son's performance was outstanding in that first half and it was quite interesting that in the last seconds of the game he was the one sprinting back to try to tackle and stop us scoring at 4-0 up," Hodgson said.

"Technically they were very good today and the quality of the passing from their two centre-backs was outstanding, but they probably won't get the credit for that because centre-backs don't.

"We were well beaten that's for sure, I thought they started so well and with such an incredible tempo that we couldn't deal with it."

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