TEAMtalk reviews the weekend's Premier League action which saw Manchester United edge Chelsea in a thriller and spoils shared in Merseyside.
Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3
It was a game layered with controversy that most certainly justified it's billing as the premier game of Super Sunday. With five goals, two red cards and a bust-up of sorts between managers, it is also a game that will certainly live long in the memory.
Manchester United may have won, but it is not a result that should hurt Chelsea too much, or a result that should ascend United into a wonderful run of momentum.
After a brilliant start from United, Chelsea's fight back was incredible, and if it hadn't have been for the two red cards awarded to Ivanovic and Torres, it would have been hard not to back them to go on and win the game.
Torres' sending off was riddled with controversy, as was Hernandez's winning goal, in which the striker appeared to be offside upon prodding the ball home from Rafael's strike. Unfortunately, that second half of incidents will probably deflect from what was a truly wonderful game, featuring some superb performances, in particularly from Antonio Valencia and Ramires.
Chelsea have finally lost their unbeaten record, but they're far too good a side to let this result set them back, while United finally displayed a performance worthy of labelling them as title contenders this year.
Everton 2 Liverpool 2
Before the game most people were hoping that the officials would not dominate the headlines in the 219th Merseyside derby, but unfortunately controversy reigned at the end of the game at Goodison Park.
Honours were even after an entertaining affair, but this game will be remembered for the disallowed goal by Luis Suarez deep into injury-time.
Liverpool stunned the home side by racing into a 2-0 lead with Suarez playing a big part in both goals as he first saw his shot deflect in off Leighton Baines before heading home Steven Gerrard's free-kick.
Everton showed great fighting spirit which epitomises their manager David Moyes as Leon Osman pulled a goal back after a mistake by Brad Jones.
The home side then with their tails grabbed an equaliser through Steve Naismith after some pedestrian defending from the visitors.
Both sides had chances in the second half to score, but it was Liverpool who thought they had won it when Suarez prodded home Sebastian Coates' downward header in the closing seconds.
The Uruguyan wheeled away to celebrate, but his celebrations were cut short by a late and poor call from the referee's assistant.
Television replays clearly showed Suarez was onside when he fired the ball home and he can count himself unlucky not to take the headlines.
However, again those headlines will now go to the officials who got the one big call in the game horribly wrong.
Manchester City 1 Swansea City 0
Manchester City looked a team bereft of self-belief but, despite their European problems, they are still picking up the points in the Premier League. Playing badly and winning is one of the oldest tricks needed for winning the title.
Roberto Mancini needs David Silva back to full fitness as soon as possible. When opponents are well organised, the likes of Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry and Samir Nasri are finding they do not have the intricacy to pick the lock.
The loss of Michel Vorm for up to six weeks with a groin injury is going to be a major problem for Swansea. It cannot be underestimated how important the goalkeeper is for his club and he is one of the best in the league.
Southampton 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2
The first-half was always going to be a tough task for Southampton - Sunday's hosts had been behind in all of their eight games prior - and this game was no different. Slow out of the blocks, Southampton had the impetus to attack placed on them by a Spurs side set up initially to frustrate then to attack on the counter. Rickie Lambert cut a lonely figure at the spearhead of a weak Southampton attack, but it's clear to see that their main weakness lies in a defence marshalled by a poor Jose Fonte - the player who laughably stepped over the ball instead of clearing it for what turned out to be Dempsey's winner.
The second-half was certainly brighter for the hosts. Adam Lallana, Daniel Fox and Morgan Schneiderlin formed an impressive midfield combination. A series of intricate passes with the young Saints captain Lallana at the forefront was a highlight of the game, and perhaps the performances of the aforementioned three alone were deserving of more than a loss. Clearly though, Southampton's "we'll score one more than you" philosophy - while admirable in theory - won't work until they organise that creaky backline.
As for Tottenham, their first-half game plan was executed to perfection. AVB set the players up to soak up early Southampton pressure and hit them on the break with explosive pace, and just that they did. Kyle Walker, Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon were at the forefront of the action, while Jermain Defoe could perhaps have bagged a hat-trick. On that performance they'll certainly be in contention for the Champions League places, as five wins in the last six Premier League games attests to.
However, the second-half showed their frailties, particularly in the form of a manager that has come under severe criticism. Andre Villas-Boas may have lead his team to a comfortable 2-0 lead at the break, but the interval brought a Southampton landslide. Understandably, Spurs chose to continue to soak up that pressure, but there's a limit to how far you go. Jake Livermore and Sandro as a midfield duo hardly induce nightmares of creativity and attacking flair. Playing with no recognised strikers on the pitch for ten minutes against a team hell-bent on getting a point is near suicide though. The Defoe substitution was bizarre as whilst the Englishman was profligate, he was an available outlet. Removing that nearly lost Spurs the points and while AVB shows promise, he's still new to the English game.
Arsenal 1 Queens Park Rangers 0
Fit-again Jack Wilshere proved he is absolutely vital for Arsenal. The midfielder was making his first appearance for his club since May 2011 but he was the best player on the pitch for his 67-minute outing. Wilshere completed all 33 of his first-half passes.
There is obviously paper-thin confidence in the Arsenal squad. After a week which has involved the defeats by Norwich City and Schalke, several players have clearly been rattled and looked nervous wrecks. The fact his players can be so easily put off their game and lose focus will be a worry for Arsene Wenger.
The finishing on show from both teams at Emirates Stadium was abysmal. Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Jamie Mackie were especially guilty of missing good chances. Mikel Arteta even headed a point-blank-range header against the crossbar before he scored.
Pete FraserNewcastle 2 West Brom 1
Teams can look back at certain moments during a season and know that was the moment their fortunes took a miraculous turn for the better, and Sunday's winner for Newcastle could very well be one of those.
Papiss Cisse's goal in stoppage time was huge in terms of so many aspects of Newcastle's season. With minutes to go, Newcastle were hanging on at St James' Park.
West Brom were dominant and it looked like they would take the win, but then Sammy Ameobi's unleashes his effort which deflects off the back of Cisse and past Ben Foster.
Not only did this give Newcastle a hugely fortunate win, their first in the league in over a month, but also meant last season's goal scoring sensation Cisse claimed his first of the year - seasons can turn on such moments, and this could be when the Magpies' season suddenly got back on track.
Aston Villa 1 Norwich City 1
Before kick-off, many had predicted that the Saturday lunchtime clash at Villa Park could feature two of the teams headed for the Championship next season. Upon the afternoon's evidence, they may not be wrong.
In what was one of more nervy, scrappy and abysmal affairs of the season so far, both Villa and Norwich looked incredibly poor at times, in a game that only livened up when Joe Bennett received his marching orders.
Christian Benteke's well taken opening goal had given Villa the lead, but the Midlands club have had grave difficulty keeping leads this season, and when they were reduced to 10 men, it seemed inevitable they would do so again.
Villa manager Paul Lambert has vehemently backed his inexperienced squad, but it was this inexperience from Bennett that saw him sent off for a second booking, which left his team-mates frantically defending for virtually the entire second half.
Norwich deserved credit for battling to a draw, but a season of struggle surely lies ahead for them, and with Villa making their worst start to a season in 43 years, troubled times look in store for the Villa Park faithful as well.
Reading 3 Fulham 3
A sleepy first half was permeated by a fantastic goal from Mikele Leigertwood, but that was just the beginning of the madness. It was a goal that deserved to win any game, but was almost forgotten by the end.
Reading threw away points from a winning position for the fourth time this season, but they cannot dwell on this after salvaging a point despite being behind twice in the last twenty minutes.
Jobi McAnuff was at the heart of everything that Reading did right, and seemed to be the only player on the pitch that could put in a decent delivery, especially from free kicks and corners. Almost every other player on the field was sadly lacking.
For Fulham, what might and should have been. They underperformed during the first half but fully deserved their leads during the second period. An inability to defend at the death will hugely frustrate Martin Jol.
Stoke City 0 Sunderland 0
Both Tony Pulis and Martin O'Neill are still looking for the elusive key to unlock Premier League teams and turn draws into wins.
The latest hard-fought draw means both Stoke and Sunderland have recorded just one Premier league win and six draws this campaign to sit in the wrong half of the table.
This game had few chances until late on as the well-organised and hard-working sides cancelled each other out.
Pulis thought his side had the better opportunities and could have won the game with more luck, but their lack of chances until late in the game is a concern.
Sunderland could have also won with more luck - especially as they were denied a penalty when Steven Fletcher's shot struck Robert Huth's arm in the box.
But the failure to find the net at the Britannia means the Black Cats have scored the least top-flight goals this campaign - just six in eight outings.
But on the plus side, O'Neill will have been pleased with Lee Cattermole's return to the Sunderland midfield as he made a key contribution to holding the Potters.
Wigan 2 West Ham 1
The contrast between the two sides may be something of a cliché but it was more than evident at the DW Stadium on Saturday. The Opta stats before the game revealed that West Ham have contested more aerial duels than any other team in the Premier League (358) while Wigan have contested the fewest (175). It's easy to see why.
The Hammers' plan was to find the head and/or chest of Andy Carroll from most situations and play football from the knockdowns. It has been working very well this season but Wigan's formation - almost unique in the Premier League - appeared to prove a problem for Sam Allardyce's side.
Jean Beausejour and Emmerson Boyce are nominally wing-backs but regularly took their starting position as the furthest players forward. The Latics seemed to have at least five players streaming forward in every attack and while Matt Jarvis was forced into a defensive role, Yossi Benayoun on the right wasn't sure whether to stick or twist.
After the break, Beyanoun was withdrawn but by this point Wigan were happy to play on the break with a two-goal cushion for much of the half. On this evidence, the Hammers will need to find a Plan B if they are to avoid being outclassed by teams trying to get the ball down and play.