Manchester United were prevented from restoring their six-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after being held to a 1-1 draw at Swansea City on Sunday.
Swansea’s top scorer Michu cancelled out Patrice Evra’s opener for United in the first half and despite twice hitting the crossbar in the second period, the visitors left South Wales with only a point.
It was United’s first draw of the season in all competitions and leaves them four points above second-place City ahead of the home game with Newcastle United on Wednesday.
Swansea threatened first at the Liberty Stadium, Michu firing off-target after out-pacing the returning Nemanja Vidic, before Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young tested fit-again Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm at the other end.
United took the lead in the 16th minute, with Evra getting in front of his marker to dispatch Robin van Persie’s corner and claim his third goal — all headers — of the season.
Michu headed over from Nathan Dyer’s cross, but it did not take long for the Spaniard to find the net.
In the 29th minute, Wayne Routledge’s cute pass freed Jonathan de Guzman and when his shot was parried by David de Gea, Michu followed up from close range to claim his 13th league goal of the campaign.
Vorm saved from Rooney again before half-time, while at the interval, United manager Alex Ferguson harangued referee Michael Olivier for failing to penalise Chico Flores for a challenge on van Persie prior to Swansea’s equaliser.
Ferguson later fumed that the Swansea defender Ashley Williams could have killed Robin van Persie when he Wales centre-back struck the Dutchman in the back of the head with the ball in the second half. Van Persie reacted angrily and the both players were consequently booked.
“Robin van Persie is lucky to be alive,” said Ferguson.
“It was a disgraceful act from their player and he should be banned by FA (Football Association). Robin could have had a broken neck. It was one of the most dangerous things I’ve seen on a football pitch.” Williams however claimed it was an accident. “I just cleared the ball with frustration and unfortunately it hit him in the head and he got a bit angry about it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Arsenal climbed to third place with a 1-0 win at third-bottom Wigan Athletic on Saturday and they are one of four teams on 30 points along with Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.