Pep Guardiola believes VAR in the Premier League has been a mess, despite seeing his Manchester City side benefit from the video technology against Sheffield United.

City got lucky when Blades forward Lys Mousset had a first-half strike harshly disallowed for offside by the video review system, which then allowed Sergio Aguero's opener to stand despite referee Chris Kavanagh inadvertently blocking off John Fleck in the build-up.

There was no doubt over City's second goal, with Kevin De Bruyne tucking home to secure an unconvincing win - Guardiola's 100th in the Premier League.

Video assistant referee controversy has ruled in the Premier League this weekend, with Norwich City's Teemu Pukki having a goal harshly ruled out, while at Anfield, Wolves had a strike disallowed for a marginal offside.

With the officials coming under even greater scrutiny after more debatable decisions, Guardiola has weighed in.

"I said many times I have a huge list for VAR. Every weekend is a big mess," Guardiola told Sky Sports.

"In other games it was a big mess. Hopefully next season it can do better."

However, Guardiola's counterpart Chris Wilder - whose side suffered their first away defeat of the season - was left much more frustrated.

"Yet again we had another goal disallowed by VAR, that's about eight or nine over the weekend. This is not a situation helping the game and the small margins," Wilder told BBC Sport.

"But I will leave that for everyone else to talk about because I have said too much about it."

Wilder said of City's opening goal: "I've been to see the referee and he has been honest about it. We make mistakes and I believe he made one too.

"It happened that quick and I thought he could have been helped by his colleagues a little bit.

"We talk about the new rule where if the referee touches the ball then he has to blow up, so surely if he is in the way and hinders us then he makes a sensible decision.

"If he made the sensible decision then I don't think anyone in the ground would have said anything about it."

Pep Guardiola indicated Manchester City are already focusing on next season after accepting there is no longer a title race in the Premier League.

Guardiola claimed his 100th league win as City boss on Sunday, as goals from Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne secured a 2-0 triumph over resilient Sheffield United.

The win took City back to within a point of Leicester City, though they are still 14 behind runaway leaders Liverpool, who overcame Wolves 1-0 at Anfield.

With the gap so large, Guardiola has accepted City are no longer realistic contenders for the title, which they have won for the last two seasons, and instead said the main focus is on ensuring they improve ahead of the 2020-21 season while targeting success in the cup competitions.

"No. It's unrealistic to think about that," Guardiola said in a news conference when asked if Liverpool could be caught.

His side were swiftly back in action after a 3-2 defeat to Wolves on Friday, meaning they had under 48 hours between the two matches.

Guardiola said: "A team which has the numbers of Liverpool, why should we think about that? It's just preparing, play good and better to be as close to the top of the league as we can, prepare for the knockout competitions and for the next season.

"Every game helps us to improve for next season. Hopefully we can do better.

"The motivation is to improve because when we improve we win games and that is the way to live better. That is the best motivation for all of us. Even in the past.

"Now we recover for three days, thank you for three days to recover, and prepare for the next game against Everton. That is what you have to do."

Despite accepting the title race is all but over, Guardiola insists it should not take anything away from what his City squad have achieved.

"The fans can say or do whatever they want but they cannot deny that the team in the last three years was incredible in every single competition," he added.

"Football you can lose or you can win. We have injuries in very important positions but always we tried, even in the games we lost.

"It was a tough game especially because of the opponent, because of the 48 hours, and two hours after the Wolves game on the bus back.

"It's not the best for recovery against one of the most physical teams in the Premier League and we won it, so full compliments to the team."

Pep Guardiola has usurped Jose Mourinho as the quickest Premier League boss to reach 100 victories in the competition.

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne secured a 2-0 win for City over Sheffield United on Sunday, though it was not without controversy.

VAR harshly disallowed a would-be opener from Lys Mousset, while referee Chris Kavanagh seemed to inadvertently block John Fleck in the lead up to Aguero's 52nd-minute strike.

The triumph brought up a century of Premier League wins for Guardiola in his 134th top-flight match in charge of City.

Current Spurs boss Mourinho had previously held the record, having achieved 100 wins in 142 games, while Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp managed to do so in 159 matches earlier this month.

Manchester City were on the right side of some contentious decisions as Sergio Aguero's controversial goal and a late Kevin De Bruyne effort earned a 2-0 win over Sheffield United, Pep Guardiola's 100th in the Premier League.

With leaders Liverpool having extended the gap at the top with a win over Wolves, City were fortunate not to fall behind in the first half when Lys Mousset had a goal harshly disallowed by VAR.

However, there was more controversy to follow, with the visitors incensed after referee Chris Kavanagh failed to stop the play despite accidentally blocking off John Fleck in the build-up to Sergio Aguero's opener.

VAR did come to the Blades' assistance when it deemed John Egan had not deliberately handled a Riyad Mahrez shot, though City had the points wrapped up when De Bruyne lashed in with eight minutes remaining, as Guardiola reached 100 wins in 134 matches to break Jose Mourinho's record.

With Mousset having squandered an early header, United thought they had the lead when the striker kept his cool to slot beyond Claudio Bravo, who was starting in place of the suspended Ederson, only for VAR to disallow the goal for a marginal offside call.

Mousset got the better of City's defence again prior to half-time, yet sliced his effort into the side-netting after latching onto Oliver Norwood's pass.

Despite their poor display, City took the lead six minutes into the second half - Aguero clinically drilling in his 10th league goal of the season.

United were adamant the goal should not have stood due to the referee's accidental interference, but VAR once more went against them.

City then wanted a penalty when Egan blocked Mahrez's shot, though their claims were rejected despite the ball hitting the defender's arm.

Any hopes of a comeback were ended soon after as De Bruyne calmly swept home, though Billy Sharp went agonisingly close to setting up a grandstand finish with a looping header which hit the upright and rolled across the line as United's unbeaten run on the road came to an end at nine.

 

What does it mean? City give themselves breathing room

With Liverpool so far ahead, the title race seems all but over, though City could have been looking over their shoulder had they failed to win, with Chelsea coming from behind to beat Arsenal earlier on Sunday. 

As it is, the champions have restored the six-point gap between themselves and Frank Lampard's side, though they still sit a point behind Leicester City in second.

Aguero rediscovers his home comforts

It was a far from a vintage all-round display from Aguero, but when he was put through by De Bruyne's pass, he never looked likely to fluff his lines to score his first home league goal since November 2.

City's ramshackle defence get lucky thanks to VAR

Hindered by a lack of options, Guardiola handed a first Premier League start to 18-year-old Eric Garcia, though the youngster - alongside Fernandinho - was often caught out by the pace of Mousset and the speed of United's counters. 

Indeed, only a marginal offside decision sparred City's blushes. They will surely look to bring in defensive reinforcements in January.

What's next?

Carlo Ancelotti's Everton visit the Etihad Stadium on New Year's Day, while the Blades visit runaway leaders Liverpool on Thursday.

Manchester City were on the right side of some contentious decisions as Sergio Aguero's controversial goal and a late Kevin De Bruyne effort earned a 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday.

With Premier League leaders Liverpool having extended the gap at the top with a win over Wolves, City were fortunate not to fall behind in the first half when Lys Mousset had a goal harshly disallowed by VAR.

However, there was more controversy to follow, with the visitors incensed after referee Chris Kavanagh failed to stop the play despite accidentally blocking off John Fleck in the build-up to Sergio Aguero's opener.

VAR did come to the Blades' assistance when it deemed John Egan had not deliberately handled a Riyad Mahrez shot, though City had the points wrapped up when De Bruyne lashed in with eight minutes remaining.

With Mousset having squandered an early header, United thought they had the lead when the striker kept his cool to slot beyond Claudio Bravo, who was starting in place of the suspended Ederson, only for VAR to disallow the goal for a marginal offside call.

Mousset got the better of City's defence again prior to half-time, yet sliced his effort into the side-netting after latching onto Oliver Norwood's pass.

Despite their poor display, City took the lead six minutes into the second half - Aguero clinically drilling in his 10th league goal of the season.

United were adamant the goal should not have stood due to the referee's accidental interference, but VAR once more went against them.

City then wanted a penalty when Egan blocked Mahrez's shot, though their claims were rejected despite the ball hitting the defender's arm.

Any hopes of a comeback were ended soon after as De Bruyne calmly swept home, though Billy Sharp went agonisingly close to setting up a grandstand finish with a looping header which hit the upright and rolled across the line as United's unbeaten run on the road came to an end at nine.

 

What does it mean? City give themselves breathing room

With Liverpool so far ahead, the title race seems all but over, though City could have been looking over their shoulder had they failed to win, with Chelsea coming from behind to beat Arsenal earlier on Sunday. 

As it is, the champions have restored the six-point gap between themselves and Frank Lampard's side, though they still sit a point behind Leicester City in second.

Aguero rediscovers his home comforts

It was a far from a vintage all-round display from Aguero, but when he was put through by De Bruyne's pass, he never looked likely to fluff his lines to score his first home league goal since November 2.

City's ramshackle defence get lucky thanks to VAR

Hindered by a lack of options, Pep Guardiola handed a first Premier League start to 18-year-old Eric Garcia, though the youngster - alongside Fernandinho - was often caught out by the pace of Mousset and the speed of United's counters. 

Indeed, only a marginal offside decision sparred City's blushes. They will surely look to bring in defensive reinforcements in January.

What's next?

Carlo Ancelotti's Everton visit the Etihad Stadium on New Year's Day, while the Blades visit runaway leaders Liverpool on Thursday.

Liverpool thrashed second-placed Leicester City 4-0 to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 13 points with a game in hand.

Club World Cup hero Roberto Firmino scored either side of a James Milner penalty and Trent Alexander-Arnold capped a phenomenal display by completing the scoring at the King Power Stadium.

Manchester United were also big winners, coming from behind to beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford, while elsewhere in the Premier League two keenly anticipated managerial tenures got under way.

Carlo Ancelotti saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin head Everton to a 1-0 win over Burnley in his first game in charge at Goodison Park, while Mikel Arteta had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank for salvaging a 1-1 draw for Arsenal at Bournemouth.

Yet the result of the afternoon came at Chelsea, where superb goals from Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond meant Frank Lampard's men were unable to build upon their impressive triumph at Tottenham last time out.

Spurs moved back to within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea after coming from behind to beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1, a result repeated in the south of the capital as Crystal Palace stole the points against West Ham courtesy of a fabulous Jordan Ayew solo effort.

Watford's 1-1 draw at Sheffield United lifted them off the bottom of the table, with Norwich City now propping up the rest after going down 1-0 at Aston Villa.

No sign of home comforts for Lampard, but better news for Solskjaer

Leicester's designs on a title push have been checked by defeats to Manchester City and now Liverpool, who have won 17 of their 18 Premier League games this season.

They last lost in the competition on January 3 and Alexander-Arnold, who set up both of Firmino's goals, gave an awesome demonstration of the quality at their disposal.

By contrast, Chelsea have now lost five of their past seven Premier League games and three out of four at Stamford Bridge after Southampton were able to toast an unlikely hero.

Obafemi got his chance up front as top scorer Danny Ings was rested and he drove at a backpedalling Blues backline to finish emphatically after the half hour. Redmond capped a fine team move 17 minutes from time.

Spurs were facing a fresh setback in their game against Brighton when Adam Webster powered in Pascal Gross' free-kick, but Harry Kane continued his habit of finding the net on Boxing Day and Dele Alli maintained his prolific form under Jose Mourinho with a 72nd-minute winner.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watched his Manchester United turn on the style after going behind to an early Matty Longstaff goal against Newcastle.

As memories of a painful 1-0 defeat to the Magpies in October came flooding back, the hosts found an extra gear at Old Trafford to turn the match around, with Martial, Greenwood and Rashford showing a clinical touch.

Encouraging early signs for Ancelotti and Arteta

Burnley created little at Goodison Park but Everton had to be patient before the breakthrough arrived with 10 minutes to play.

Djibril Sidibe's searching cross found a diving Calvert-Lewin, who headed home via the post.

The Clarets are now below 11th-placed Arsenal on goal difference after Arteta got a first-hand look at some of his club's long-standing defensive problems,

Dan Gosling put Bournemouth ahead after the Gunners were carved apart down the right but the Gunners summoned a battling response and Aubameyang turned in his 12th Premier League goal of the season.

Ayew sends Eagles soaring

Palace had a day to remember against West Ham despite falling behind to a Robert Snodgrass goal at Selhurst Park.

Cheikhou Kouyate stole in to equalise against his former club before Ayew danced through a succession of challenges and found a delightful chipped finish in the final minute.

West Ham are a point and a place above the relegation zone after third-bottom Villa saw off fellow strugglers Norwich.

Substitute Conor Hourihane swept in Jack Grealish's pass eight minutes after coming on, while Tom Heaton excelled in the home goal.

Watford made it back-to-back draws under Nigel Pearson, leading briefly at Bramall Lane through Gerard Deulofeu before Oliver Norwood levelled from the penalty spot.

Southampton shocked Chelsea and Manchester United thrashed Newcastle on Boxing Day, while elsewhere in the Premier League two keenly anticipated managerial tenures got under way.

Carlo Ancelotti saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin head Everton to a 1-0 win over Burnley in his first game in charge at Goodison Park, while Mikel Arteta had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank for salvaging a 1-1 draw for Arsenal at Bournemouth.

Yet the result of the afternoon came at Chelsea, where superb goals from Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond meant Frank Lampard's men were unable to build upon their impressive triumph at Tottenham last time out.

Manchester United swept aside Newcastle United 4-1 with two goals from Anthony Martial, who also struck the post, and one each from Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.

Spurs moved back to within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea after coming from behind to beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1, a result repeated in the south of the capital as Crystal Palace stole the points against West Ham courtesy of a fabulous Jordan Ayew solo effort.

Watford's 1-1 draw at Sheffield United lifted them off the bottom of the table, with Norwich City now propping up the rest after going down 1-0 at Aston Villa.

No sign of home comforts for Lampard, but better news for Solskjaer

Chelsea have now lost five of their past seven Premier League games and three out of four at Stamford Bridge after Southampton were able to toast an unlikely hero.

Obafemi got his chance up front as top scorer Danny Ings was rested and he drove at a backpedalling Blues backline to finish emphatically after the half hour.

Redmond capped a fine team move 17 minutes from time and Chelsea got what they deserved after bearing no more than a passing resemblance to the side that outplayed Tottenham at the weekend.

Spurs were facing a fresh setback in their game against Brighton when Adam Webster powered in Pascal Gross' free-kick, but Harry Kane continued his habit of finding the net on Boxing Day and Dele Alli maintained his prolific form under Jose Mourinho with a 72nd-minute winner.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watched his Manchester United turn on the style after going behind to an early Matty Longstaff goal against Newcastle. As memories of a painful 1-0 defeat to the Magpies in October came flooding back, the hosts found an extra gear at Old Trafford to turn the match around, with Martial, Greenwood and Rashford showing a clinical touch.

Encouraging early signs for Ancelotti and Arteta

Burnley created little at Goodison Park but Everton had to be patient before the breakthrough arrived with 10 minutes to play.

Djibril Sidibe's searching cross found a diving Calvert-Lewin, who headed home via the post.

Burnley are now below 11th-placed Arsenal on goal difference after Arteta got a first-hand look at some of his club's long-standing defensive problems,

Dan Gosling put Bournemouth ahead after the Gunners were carved apart down the right but the Gunners summoned a battling response and Aubameyang turned in his 12th Premier League goal of the season.

Ayew sends Eagles soaring

Palace had a day to remember against West Ham despite falling behind to a Robert Snodgrass goal at Selhurst Park.

Cheikhou Kouyate stole in to equalise against his former club before Ayew danced through a succession of challenges and found a delightful chipped finish in the final minute.

West Ham are a point and a place above the relegation zone after third-bottom Villa saw off fellow strugglers Norwich.

Substitute Conor Hourihane swept in Jack Grealish's pass eight minutes after coming on, while Tom Heaton excelled in the home goal.

Watford made it back-to-back draws under Nigel Pearson, leading briefly at Bramall Lane through Gerard Deulofeu before Oliver Norwood levelled from the penalty spot.

Southampton shocked Chelsea with a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day as two keenly anticipated managerial tenures got under way in the Premier League.

Carlo Ancelotti saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin head Everton to a 1-0 win over Burnley in his first game in charge at Goodison Park, while Mikel Arteta had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank for salvaging a 1-1 draw for Arsenal at Bournemouth.

Yet the story of the afternoon came at Chelsea, where superb goals from Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond meant Frank Lampard's men were unable to build upon their impressive triumph at Tottenham last time out.

Spurs are back to within three points of their London rivals and the top four after coming from behind to beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1, a feat repeated in the south of the capital later in the day as Crystal Palace stole the points against West Ham courtesy of a fabulous Jordan Ayew solo effort.

Watford's 1-1 draw at Sheffield United lifted them off the bottom of the table, with Norwich City now propping up the rest after going down 1-0 at Aston Villa.

No sign of home comforts for Lampard

Chelsea have now lost five of their past seven Premier League games and three out of four at Stamford Bridge after Southampton were able to toast an unlikely hero.

Obafemi got his chance up front as top scorer Danny Ings was rested and he drove at a backpedalling Blues backline to finish emphatically after the half hour.

Redmond capped a fine team move 17 minutes from time and Chelsea got what they deserved after bearing no more than a passing resemblance to the side that outplayed Tottenham at the weekend.

Spurs were facing a further setback when Adam Webster powered in Pascal Gross' free-kick but Harry Kane continued his habit of finding the net on Boxing Day and Dele Alli maintained his prolific form under Jose Mourinho with a 72nd-minute winner.

Encouraging early signs for Ancelotti and Arteta

Burnley created little at Goodison Park but Everton had to be patient before the breakthrough arrived with 10 minutes to play.

Djibril Sidibe's searching cross found a diving Calvert-Lewin, who headed home via the post.

Burnley are now below 11th-placed Arsenal on goal difference after Arteta got a first-hand look at some of his club's long-standing defensive problems,

Dan Gosling put Bournemouth ahead after the Gunners were carved apart down the right but the Gunners summoned a battling response and Aubameyang turned in his 12th Premier League goal of the season.

Ayew sends Eagles soaring

Ahead of Manchester United's later kick-off at home to Newcastle United, Palace moved up to eighth despite falling behind to a Robert Snodgrass goal at Selhurst Park.

Cheikhou Kouyate stole in to equalise against his former club before Ayew danced through a succession of challenges and found a delightful chipped finish in the final minute.

West Ham are a point and a place above the relegation zone after third-bottom Villa saw off fellow strugglers Norwich.

Substitute Conor Hourihane swept in Jack Grealish's pass eight minutes after coming on, while Tom Heaton excelled in the home goal.

Watford made it back-to-back draws under Nigel Pearson, leading briefly at Bramall Lane through Gerard Deulofeu before Oliver Norwood levelled from the penalty spot.

Manchester City battled to a 3-1 comeback win against Leicester City to keep alive their slim Premier League title hopes, while Everton and Arsenal played out a bore draw at Goodison Park.

Riyad Mahrez struck against his former club to cancel out Jamie Vardy's opener in a game the reigning champions went on to win comfortably, moving them to within a point of their second-placed opponents.

Elsewhere, Miguel Almiron scored his first Premier League goal to fire Newcastle United to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, while Everton and Arsenal played out a bore draw at Goodison Park.

Paraguay international Almiron volleyed home late on to get off the mark on his 27th appearance in the competition and settle a match that was heading for a goalless draw.

Goals proved hard to come by in the stalemate between Everton and Arsenal, a low-quality match watched from the stands by respective incoming bosses Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta.

Everton failed to record a shot on target in a top-flight home match for the first time since January 2018, while Gabriel Martinelli went closest to scoring for the visitors.

Elsewhere, Burnley, Sheffield United, Wolves and Southampton all won away from home, the latter seeing off relegation rivals Aston Villa 3-1 to boost their survival hopes.
 

City comeback flattens Foxes

Pep Guardiola's side entered Saturday's late kick-off sitting four points behind Leicester and 14 adrift of Liverpool, meaning only victory would do if they were to keep their outside title aspirations alive.

Those hopes were further dented when Vardy got on the end of Harvey Barnes' pass and scored through Leicester's first effort at goal but, inspired by another Kevin De Bruyne masterclass, the champions roared back to claim back-to-back league wins.

Mahrez, who won the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016, fired a deflected shot past Kasper Schmeichel to pull one back and Ilkay Gundogan converted from the penalty spot after Raheem Sterling was fouled by Ricardo Pereira.

De Bruyne picked up the assist his performance deserved in the second half by setting up Gabriel Jesus - who had not previously scored on home soil this season - to seal the victory.

Arsenal's poor form continues

With Arteta not officially taking charge of his first Arsenal match until the Boxing Day trip to Bournemouth, interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg oversaw yet another below-par display from his side.

The Gunners looked the more likely side to score on Merseyside but lacked cohesion all over the field and had to settle for a point, making it just one win in 13 matches in all competitions.

Arsenal did at least manage to test Jordan Pickford - the England international doing well to keep out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the second half - with the Toffees rarely troubling the opposition defence.

Ancelotti was confirmed as Everton's new manager on a four-and-a-half-year deal shortly before kick-off, giving him a chance to witness up close just how big a task he has on his hands when taking the reins from stand-in boss Duncan Ferguson.

Almiron ends drought to extend Palace's winless run

A third victory in four Premier League matches for Newcastle was secured thanks to Almiron, who has had a tough time of things since arriving from Atlanta United for a reported £20million in January.

Almiron converted with a first-time finish seven minutes from time after being teed up by Andy Carroll's header, ending his long-running goal drought and sending United up to ninth place.

Palace, now without a win in three league outings, saw more of the ball and had the better of the chances, but Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke were unable to find a way past home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

Ings inspires Southampton to vital victory

Southampton leapfrogged fellow strugglers Aston Villa into 17th place with a Danny Ings-inspired win, the one-cap England international reaching double figures for the season before Christmas.

Ings scored either side of Jack Stephens' towering header as Ralph Hasenhuttl's charges raced into a three-goal lead at Villa Park with 51 minutes played.

Jack Grealish scored a fine goal to reduce the arrears, but Villa left themselves with too big a mountain to climb and are now in the relegation zone after a fourth defeat on the spin.

Norwich cut further adrift

Norwich City failed to make their first-half dominance count in a 2-1 home loss to Wolves that leaves them six points adrift of safety at Christmas.

Todd Cantwell pounced on a loose ball to give Norwich a deserved 17th-minute lead, but they could not build on their advantage and Wolves hit back.

After a subdued opening hour, Romain Saiss sparked his side into life with a powerful header and Raul Jimenez made it 16 goals for the season across all competitions late on to condemn Norwich - who have one point from their last five home matches - to another defeat.

Wilder's men overcome more VAR frustrations

Sheffield United continued their march up the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, despite the frustration of having two goals ruled out by VAR.

John Egan's bundled finish was chalked off for handball and Jack O'Connell was denied for offside - the third and fourth goals United have been awarded on the field this term, only for VAR to intervene.

Not that it mattered, though, as Oli McBurnie's third goal of the season - a powerful strike past Mat Ryan after 23 minutes - proved enough for Chris Wilder's men to keep their unbeaten away record this season intact as they moved into the lofty heights of fifth place.

Rodriguez settles contest between shot-shy sides

Burnley edged out Bournemouth 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium in a game that saw the sides register just five shots between them - the fewest recorded in a Premier League game since records began in 2003-04.

The one and only attempt on target arrived in the final minute of the game, Jay Rodriguez heading in Ashley Westwood's cross from close range to settle a dreadful game.

Jefferson Lerma's 30-yard effort over the bar was as good as things got for a Bournemouth side that have lost six of their last seven league matches to slip into relegation danger.

Miguel Almiron scored his first Premier League goal to fire Newcastle United to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, while Everton and Arsenal played out a bore draw at Goodison Park.

Paraguay international Almiron volleyed home late on to get off the mark on his 27th appearance in the competition and settle a match that was heading for a goalless draw.

Goals proved hard to come by in the stalemate between Everton and Arsenal, a low-quality match watched from the stands by respective incoming bosses Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta.

Everton failed to record a shot on target in a top-flight home match for the first time since January 2018, while Gabriel Martinelli went closest to scoring for the visitors.

Elsewhere, Burnley, Sheffield United, Wolves and Southampton all won away from home, the latter seeing off relegation rivals Aston Villa 3-1 to boost their survival hopes.

Arsenal's poor form continues

With Arteta not officially taking charge of his first Arsenal match until the Boxing Day trip to Bournemouth, interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg oversaw yet another below-par display from his side.

The Gunners looked the more likely side to score on Merseyside but lacked cohesion all over the field and had to settle for a point, making it just one win in 13 matches in all competitions.

Arsenal did at least manage to test Jordan Pickford - the England international doing well to keep out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the second half - with the Toffees rarely troubling the opposition defence.

Ancelotti was confirmed as Everton's new manager on a four-and-a-half-year deal shortly before kick-off, giving him a chance to witness up close just how big a task he has on his hands when taking the reins from stand-in boss Duncan Ferguson.

Almiron ends drought to extend Palace's winless run

A third victory in four Premier League matches for Newcastle was secured thanks to Almiron, who has had a tough time of things since arriving from Atlanta United for a reported £20million in January.

Almiron converted with a first-time finish seven minutes from time after being teed up by Andy Carroll's header, ending his long-running goal drought and sending United up to ninth place.

Palace, now without a win in three league outings, saw more of the ball and had the better of the chances, but Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke were unable to find a way past home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

Ings inspires Southampton to vital victory

Southampton leapfrogged fellow strugglers Aston Villa into 17th place with a Danny Ings-inspired win, the one-cap England international reaching double figures for the season before Christmas.

Ings scored either side of Jack Stephens' towering header as Ralph Hasenhuttl's charges raced into a three-goal lead at Villa Park with 51 minutes played.

Jack Grealish scored a fine goal to reduce the arrears, but Villa left themselves with too big a mountain to climb and are now in the relegation zone after a fourth defeat on the spin.

Norwich cut further adrift

Norwich City failed to make their first-half dominance count in a 2-1 home loss to Wolves that leaves them six points adrift of safety at Christmas.

Todd Cantwell pounced on a loose ball to give Norwich a deserved 17th-minute lead, but they could not build on their advantage and Wolves hit back.

After a subdued opening hour, Romain Saiss sparked his side into life with a powerful header and Raul Jimenez made it 16 goals for the season across all competitions late on to condemn Norwich - who have one point from their last five home matches - to another defeat.

Wilder's men overcome more VAR frustrations

Sheffield United continued their march up the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, despite the frustration of having two goals ruled out by VAR.

John Egan's bundled finish was chalked off for handball and Jack O'Connell was denied for offside - the third and fourth goals United have been awarded on the field this term, only for VAR to intervene.

Not that it mattered, though, as Oli McBurnie's third goal of the season - a powerful strike past Mat Ryan after 23 minutes - proved enough for Chris Wilder's men to keep their unbeaten away record this season intact as they moved into the lofty heights of fifth place.

Rodriguez settles contest between shot-shy sides

Burnley edged out Bournemouth 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium in a game that saw the sides register just five shots between them - the fewest recorded in a Premier League game since records began in 2003-04.

The one and only attempt on target arrived in the final minute of the game, Jay Rodriguez heading in Ashley Westwood's cross from close range to settle a dreadful game.

Jefferson Lerma's 30-yard effort over the bar was as good as things got for a Bournemouth side that have lost six of their last seven league matches to slip into relegation danger.

Liverpool kept their first home clean sheet of the Premier League season in a 2-0 win over Watford as Mohamed Salah's double rescued the off-key Reds.

The manner in which Jurgen Klopp's men can win when out of sorts must be hard to swallow for second-placed Leicester, who drew 1-1 at home to Norwich City, and third-placed Manchester City, who travel to Arsenal on Sunday.

Chelsea failed to put pressure on the top three as they succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat to Bournemouth, but Sheffield United moved up to fifth after brushing Aston Villa aside in a 2-0 win.

Chris Wood's goal was enough to bring Burnley's three-match losing streak to an end and condemn Newcastle United to a first defeat in four league outings.

 

Watford make Reds work for 16th straight home win

New manager Nigel Pearson left Anfield with every reason to be proud of his Watford side's performance on an afternoon when the Hornets had enough chances to claim a shock victory against the Premier League leaders.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue were guilty of wasteful finishing that let Liverpool off the hook and Salah made Watford pay in spectacular style.

The Egypt international curled a spectacular opener into the top corner after 38 minutes and then wrapped up a hard-fought win with a cheeky tap-in in the last minute.

The satisfaction Jurgen Klopp took from an ugly win was dulled by an injury to Georginio Wijnaldum, who suffered a muscle strain that looks set to rule him out of Liverpool's trip to Qatar for the Club World Cup.

Liverpool have now won 16 straight home Premier League games, with their lead up to 10 points.

Four defeats in five for Lampard's Blues

Bournemouth arrived at Stamford Bridge in the midst of a five-game Premier League losing streak but emerged with all three points after Dan Gosling's late goal clinched a surprise 1-0 victory over Chelsea.

Any hopes the Blues had of a return to strong domestic form following their 2-1 midweek victory over Lille began to fade as chances went begging while Bournemouth grew in confidence.

As the Cherries piled forward, Jefferson Lerma's looping header into the box six minutes from time found Gosling unmarked and he lifted the ball over Kepa Arrizabalaga and over the line.

Chelsea had 18 shots at goal throughout the match but failed to force an equaliser and Frank Lampard's men trudged off the field with a record of one win and four defeats in their last five Premier League outings.

Foxes come up short as winning streak ends

Teemu Pukki's third goal in four Premier League matches gave Norwich City the lead at King Power Stadium, where Leicester City's eight-match Premier League winning streak came grinding to a halt.

The Finland international fired Norwich ahead after 26 minutes, but their advantage did not last long, with Tim Krul palming Jamie Vardy's header into his own net seven minutes before half-time.

Daniel Farke's Norwich fought hard for their share of the points in a second half that saw Leicester heap pressure on their goal, attempting 12 shots on goal.

Ben Chilwell's cross forced a late corner from which substitute Harvey Barnes fired agonisingly wide for the hosts, who remain second in the table.

Blades up to fifth after victory over Villa

Any doubts over which of this season's promoted sides has the best chance of a top-half finish appeared to be resolved at Bramall Lane, where Fleck scored both of Sheffield United's goals in a 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

Chris Wilder's men have proved themselves extremely tough to beat and Villa's hopes of inflicting what would have been only United's second defeat in 10 league games suffered a blow when Scotland international Fleck finished a neat passing move with a goal after 50 minutes.

Fleck coolly slotted home his second 23 minutes later before Jack Grealish hit the crossbar with a penalty, leaving Villa winless in four Premier League matches and in trouble towards the foot of the table.

Leicester City registered a club-record eighth Premier League win a row with a resounding 4-1 defeat of Aston Villa on Sunday.

The result – aided by a Jamie Vardy brace – means Brendan Rodgers' side go back to within eight points of leaders Liverpool and sees them open a six-point advantage over Manchester City following their defeat to Manchester United on Saturday.

Sheffield United's impressive return to the top flight continued as they came from behind to beat Norwich City 2-1 at Carrow Road, while Newcastle United left it late to scrape past Southampton by the same scoreline.

In the day's final game, Diogo Jota scored twice as Wolves and Brighton and Hove Albion played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Amex Stadium.

 

Foxes maintain sensational run

Vardy's stunning streak continued as he became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League games since he previously achieved the feat himself in 2015.

The 32-year-old claimed goals in a record-breaking 11 matches in a row during Leicester's remarkable title-winning campaign and is now threatening to match or even improve upon that landmark.

He put Leicester ahead at Villa Park before Kelechi Iheanacho doubled the Foxes' advantage from close range.

Jack Grealish suggested the hosts could stage a comeback when he scored on the stroke of half-time, but Jonny Evans and Vardy's second sealed yet another three points for Rodgers' relentless side.

Blades bounce back to overcome Canaries

Sheffield United remain unbeaten away from home in this season's Premier League after a narrow victory over Norwich City.

Alexander Tettey had given the hosts a first-half lead, but Chris Wilder's side bounced back after the break courtesy of goals from Enda Stevens and George Baldock.

The Canaries thought they had been handed an opportunity to claw their way back into the game when Chris Basham was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Kenny McLean, only for a VAR review to downgrade the dismissal to a yellow card.

The result moves the Blades up to eighth, while Daniel Farke's side remain four points away from safety in 19th.

Jota double seals away point for Wolves

Wolves stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 11 games after a draw with Brighton that saw all four goals scored in the first half.

Jota put the visitors ahead in the 28th minute after playing a one-two with Raul Jimenez before the hosts turned the game on its head with two goals in 96 seconds.

First, Neal Maupay drew Graham Potter's side level and then Davy Propper put them ahead with a fine header from Leandro Trossard's cross.

Jota ensured a share of the spoils a minute before the interval, though, turning inside the penalty area and firing past Mat Ryan.

Magpies' revival continues with hard-fought win

Jonjo Shelvey scored for a third consecutive game as Newcastle made it four wins from their past six in the Premier League with a late victory over Southampton.

The Saints went ahead courtesy of Danny Ings' fifth goal in as many games seven minutes into the second half, but Shelvey restored parity in the 68th minute.

Federico Fernandez had the final say, firing in from close range after Sean Longstaff's shot was parried by goalkeeper Alex McCarthy with three minutes of normal time to go.

Newcastle United inflicted a first defeat on Sheffield United since September as the visitors ran out 2-0 winners in the Premier League at Bramall Lane.

Allan Saint-Maximin headed Steve Bruce's side into a 15th-minute lead and Jonjo Shelvey made sure of the points in odd circumstances 20 minutes from time.

Javier Manquillo supplied the cross for Saint-Maximin's opener, before Andy Carroll - making his first start of the season - provided the flick-on that sent Shelvey clear to double the Magpies' advantage, after he ignored the offside flag and found VAR was in his favour.

That was enough to condemn the Blades to their first loss since a 1-0 reverse at home to runaway leaders Liverpool on September 28.

Liverpool have been drawn at home to Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round, while holders Manchester City will start the defence of their title at home to third-tier Port Vale.

The Toffees face Jurgen Klopp's side on Wednesday in the Premier League and will make the short trip to Anfield for a second time this season during the first week of January.

Pep Guardiola's City thumped Watford 6-0 in last season's final and have been given a favourable draw to kick-start their 2019-20 campaign, with John Askey's League Two side pitching up at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United face a difficult away tie against Premier League rivals Wolves, who knocked them out of the competition last season's quarter-finals, while Arsenal welcome Championship leaders Leeds United to the Emirates Stadium.

New Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to Middlesbrough, managed by former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate, and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.

Ties will take place between January 3 and 6.

Kelechi Iheanacho benefitted from a huge VAR assist as Leicester City continued to hang on to the coattails of Liverpool on a day when Arsenal started the post-Unai Emery era with a draw.

With Manchester City and Chelsea suffering unlikely setbacks on Saturday, Liverpool took the opportunity to extend their lead to 11 points and it appeared the Foxes were not well placed to cut that gap after falling behind at home to Everton. 

However, a last-gasp technological intervention sparked wild celebrations at the King Power Stadium as Leicester completed a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph.

Also on Sunday, there was more frustration for Manchester United and interim boss Freddie Ljungberg saw Arsenal twice come from behind at Carrow Road.


FOXES GRATEFUL TO VAR

Leicester were in danger at the break after Richarlison headed home to put Everton into a half-time lead, while Ben Chilwell saw a penalty for a trip from Mason Holgate overturned by VAR.

Jamie Vardy's neat strike – his 13th in the league this season – brought Leicester level, though, before drama ensued deep into second-half stoppage time.

Iheanacho latched on to Ricardo Pereira's excellent throughball and rifled his shot past Jordan Pickford, only for the linesman to curtail his knee-sliding celebration.

But a check with the video assistant showed Yerry Mina had played the striker onside to leave Leicester in outright second and pile more pressure on under-fire Toffees boss Marco Silva.


SAME OLD ARSENAL

Emery may have departed Arsenal but it was a familiar story for the Gunners defensively under Ljungberg.

Norwich stole ahead when Kenny McLean was afforded too much space to pick out Teemu Pukki, whose deflected effort beat Bernd Leno after David Luiz had backed off the striker.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelled from the penalty spot at the second attempt having been handed a reprieve when his first attempt was saved by Tim Krul, only for VAR to spot an encroachment.

Aubameyang levelled again in the second half but only after more poor defending had seen Todd Cantwell put Norwich in a 2-1 half-time lead. 


RED DEVILS STRUGGLE AT HOME

Manchester United were again off the pace in a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa, who led through Jack Grealish's stunning curling opener.

Marcus Rashford saw a header from Andreas Pereira's whipped cross cannon off the post and hit Tom Heaton on the back before nestling in the goal to bring United level and they led when Victor Lindelof nodded home in the 64th minute.

Just two minutes later, United were caught napping when Matt Targett clipped a second ball in from a cleared corner and Tyrone Mings volleyed past David de Gea.


DOHERTY PAYS TRIBUTE TO AFOBE

Two teams impressing in the top half of the table played out a 1-1 draw at Molineux as Wolves came back against Sheffield United – the visitors leading through Lys Mousset's second-minute goal.

Matt Doherty levelled in the second half and celebrated by kissing and raising his black armband, which was being worn in honour of former Wolves striker Benik Afobe, who announced the tragic loss of his two-year-old daughter Amora on Sunday. 

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