LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Manchester City displayed champions’ swagger as they roared clear at the top with a 5-0 trouncing of Burnley but it was drama which engulfed their neighbours Manchester United and Jose Mourinho that dominated the Premier League agenda on Saturday.
Mourinho’s side had looked set to come from a goal down and earn a comeback win at unbeaten Chelsea until a stoppage-time equaliser from substitute Ross Barkley earned the Blues a 2-2 draw and sparked a pitchside pantomime.
The Portuguese was enraged by the provocative, in-your-face celebrations of Marco Ianni, one of Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri’s assistants, after the 96th-minute goal and had to be restrained as he tried to pursue his tormentor down the tunnel.
The charmless episode left Sarri accepting that the Chelsea bench was in the wrong and ordering his assistant to apologise to Mourinho.
Mourinho accepted the apology but the real injury for him was not the insult but the loss of the three points that his under-pressure side would have deserved.
He called it an “awful” result in the day’s early game after one of their best performances of a chequered season and when City later destroyed Burnley with four second-half goals, it meant United, now ninth, are nine points behind the leaders.
City’s familiarly emphatic win, courtesy of goals from Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez, moved them on to 23 points at the top, two points clear of Chelsea, who escaped with their unbeaten record intact.
Liverpool have the chance to join City at the top when they visit Huddersfield Town in the day’s late game.
Tottenham Hotspur moved back into the top four on 21 points, the same as Chelsea, after a hard-fought 1-0 win at West Ham United courtesy of Erik Lamela’s goal just before halftime.
United had gone one down when Antonio Rudiger escaped the marking of Paul Pogba to head home unopposed from a corner.
They rebounded with two second-half Anthony Martial goals and looked largely in control until Barkley saved the day.
The dramatic finish was overshadowed by the late scuffle, which had been instigated by Ianni’s celebrations that Mourinho noted were “very impolite.”
They evidently also irritated Sarri who was at pains to apologise to Mourinho himself.
“Of course, I want to speak to him again because I want to make sure he’s able to understand it was a big mistake,” he said. “I will speak to him again tomorrow.”
Bournemouth missed the chance to slip into the top five as they were held to a goalless draw by south coast rivals Southampton while Watford checked Wolverhampton Wanderers’ impressive progress at Molineux with a 2-0 win.
Wolves fielded the same side for a record ninth straight Premier League game but were undone by two superb goals in the space of 58 seconds midway through the first half from Etienne Capoue and Roberto Pereyra.
Cardiff City leapt out of the relegation zone in some style, beating Fulham 4-2 — the first time they had bagged four goals in a top fight match since 1961 — but Newcastle United’s woes under Rafa Benitez continued.
The Magpies slumped to the bottom of the league on just two points after losing 1-0 at home to Brighton & Hove Albion, whose day was only spoiled by an alarming-looking injury to their top striker Glenn Murray.
The 35-year-old was injured in an aerial challenge in the ninth minute and appeared to swallow his tongue as he landed, before being taken off on a stretcher after six minutes of treatment on the pitch.
He was later reported by Brighton to be awake in hospital where he had been taken for precautionary scans. (Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Martyn Herman)