Jose Mourinho will be furious with Nemanja Matic's red card

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Chelsea missed an opportunity to extend their lead at the summit of the Premier League to 10 points as they were held at Stamford Bridge by relegation-threatened Burnley.

Manchester City can now move within five points of Chelsea if they are able to overcome Newcastle in Saturday’s late kick-off, and that will be an unexpected incentive for the champions.

Arsenal are up to third after they beat Crystal Palace and Manchester United lost to Swansea while, down at the bottom, Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa were beaten in stoppage time by a Stoke penalty.

These are the big talking points from this afternoon’s action…

Boring, boring Chelsea

Chelsea and Burnley first met on the opening weekend of the season, and the league leaders blew the newly-promoted side apart at Turf Moor with a deliciously slick first-half display.

Jose Mourinho’s side were in fluid form, as demonstrated perfectly by Andre Schurrle’s goal, as Cesc Fabregas pulled the strings in midfield. It was quite a statement of intent.

But fast forward six months and gone is that fluidity with Chelsea seemingly bereft of that creativity and drive they had displayed in the opening weeks of the campaign.

1-1 was the score on this occasion and, even before Chelsea were reduced to 10-men, they were far from fluent and lacked real speed or intent in their attacking play.

Perhaps we were fooled at the start of the season that this was a Chelsea side under Mourinho that was prepared to have a go and would streak to the title in style. But now they are in a mode of churning out results and that will continue for the remainder of the campaign.

So very Mourinho.

Red card controversies

The only real source of entertainment, if one could call it such a thing, came when Nemanja Matic was sent off after uncharacteristically losing his cool following a dangerous challenge from Ashley Barnes.

Matic, incensed by the tackle, steamed into Barnes and pushed him to the ground. It was a deserved sending off, of that there is no doubt. But Barnes should also have been dismissed for the part he played.

The Chelsea midfielder now misses the Capital One Cup final next weekend and will be absent for the games with West Ham and Southampton that follow. How he will be missed.

Another red card for violent conduct came at the KC Stadium where Chelsea’s local rivals, Queens Park Rangers, were dramatically beaten by Hull in the closing stages.

While Matic’s reaction was understandable, this sending off was nothing more than a moment of stupidity as Joey Barton - who else? - was given his marching orders for striking Tom Huddlestone in his personal parts.

Although it was foolish from the man wearing the captain’s armband, it was certainly a very strict interpretation of the rules from the referee. It was little more than a playground flick and players have stayed on the pitch for more than that in the past.

Who knew Manchester United could do this?

Manchester United may have suffered defeat at the hands of Swansea City but they did surprise us all by producing a goal of real beauty. Who knew they were capable?

Louis van Gaal’s side have come under constant attacks for a lack of cohesion and less than easy on the eye football but, on this occasion, defied their critics with well worked team effort.

Wayne Rooney started things off when he found Angel di Maria on the edge of the Swansea area, and a disguised pass from the Argentina international found Ander Herrera, afforded a rare start, with a clear sight of goal.

Herrera was able to provide the precise finish, and he now has a a respectable five goals for this season.

Swansea were, however, back on terms only two minutes later through Ki Sung-yueng before Jonjo Shelvey found the winner at the Liberty Stadium.

Who do you think will win the Premier League title? Let us know below!

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Joey Barton
Premier League
Manchester United
Queens Park Rangers

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