© Reuters. Soccer Football – Premier League – Chelsea v Manchester United – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – November 28, 2021 Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes in action with Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
By Simon Evans
(Reuters) – Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League was cut to a point after they were held at home by Manchester United while rivals Manchester City beat West Ham United 2-1 on Sunday.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea have 30 points from 13 games with City on 29 points and Liverpool, who beat Southampton 4-0 on Saturday, are a further point behind.
United, with Michael Carrick in temporary charge of the team following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, left Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench and fielded a defensive lineup designed to frustrate the league leaders.
Chelsea dominated the first half, with United sitting deep and tight with three defensive midfielders in front of a back four without the suspended Harry Maguire and injured Raphael Varane.
Five minutes after the interval, United hit Chelsea on the break with Jorginho miscontrolling a long clearance and Jadon Sancho taking full advantage, latching on to the loose ball and then racing goalwards before beating Edouard Mendy with an ice-cool finish.
Jorginho made amends though when he converted from the spot after a wild challenge from Aaron Wan-Bissaka on Thiago Silva led to a penalty.
The hosts pushed for a winner and brought on Romelu Lukaku, returning from injury as a substitute for the last 10 minutes against his former club, but they failed to find a way through United’s defence with Antonio Rudiger wasting a late chance.
“I am absolutely happy with the performance,” Chelsea boss Tuchel said. “We dominated from the first minute, we were aggressive and never stopped attacking… We have to swallow the result. We played very well and I am happy.”
United are expected, in the coming days, to appoint former RB Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick as their manager until the end of the season and Carrick was disappointed with Sunday’s result.
“When you’re in front in a game like this, to have it taken away from you is disappointing,” he said.
“I’m immensely proud of the players, it’s been a tough week and some difficult moments for us all but I’m proud of the response.”
Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan struck in the midst of a first-half snowstorm before a late goal from substitute Fernandinho proved enough to secure a 2-1 win over West Ham.
With thick snow falling for most of the opening half, City took the lead when Riyad Mahrez drove the ball across the goal and Gundogan was on hand to steer it home in the 33rd minute.
The snowstorm abated at halftime and an army of groundstaff cleared the pitch. City continued to dominate but it took them until the 90th minute to score again when Gabriel Jesus set up Fernandinho to net three minutes after he came off the bench.
Manuel Lanzini grabbed a superb added-time goal, with a fine shot into the top corner, for David Moyes’ West Ham who are fourth in the table on 23 points.
Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City beat Watford 4-2 amid heavy snowfall which reduced visibility and made playing conditions difficult at the King Power Stadium.
The match began in relatively clear conditions and Leicester took an early lead from a Watford error when William Troost-Ekong ducked under a long ball, allowing Leicester’s James Maddison to sneak in behind and beat keeper Daniel Bachmann.
Watford levelled 14 minutes later after Emmanuel Dennis was tripped in the box by Wilfred Ndidi and Joshua King made no mistake in beating Kasper Schmeichel from the spot.
But as the snowfall got heavier, Jamie Vardy fired the home side ahead with two goals in eight minutes, both created by Maddison, first chipping the onrushing Bachmann before cleverly heading home from the near post at a corner kick.
A blanket of snow turned the lush green pitch white in the second half and as the visibility fell, Dennis nicked the ball off a back-tracking Timothy Castagne on the hour mark to go one-on-one with Schmeichel, making it 3-2 with a controlled finish.
However, Leicester restored their two-goal cushion minutes later when Harvey Barnes skipped forward on a counter-attack and squared the ball for Ademola Lookman to tap into an empty net.
Tottenham Hotspur’s game at Burnley was postponed after heavy snow before kickoff made the pitch unplayable.