By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Reigning champions Manchester City suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United on Tuesday that swung the Premier League title door wide open for leaders Liverpool.
City had won their previous eight games in all competitions, scoring 33 goals in the process, and looked on course to close the gap on Liverpool to one point when Sergio Aguero put them in front after 24 seconds at St James’ Park.
But Pep Guardiola’s side were nowhere near their fluent best and Salomon Rondon equalised after 66 minutes before Matt Ritchie’s late penalty secured victory for Newcastle.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer received a reality check after his eight-game winning run as Manchester United’s interim manager was ended by Burnley in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.
It could have been worse for Solskjaer and United’s top-four ambitions when they trailed 2-0 to goals by Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood but Paul Pogba halved the deficit with a penalty in the 87th minute and Victor Lindelof levelled in stoppage time.
The surprise setbacks for the Manchester clubs left City four points behind Liverpool who host Leicester City on Wednesday, and United in sixth place, two points behind Arsenal.
An emotional night at the Emirates saw Arsenal beat Cardiff City 2-1 with second-half goals by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
It was Cardiff’s first game since a light aircraft carrying Cardiff’s new signing Emiliano Sala went missing over the English Channel on Jan. 21.
Flowers were laid on the pitch before kickoff in respect of the Argentine who might otherwise have been making his Cardiff debut after joining from Nantes for a club-record fee.
The result left Cardiff third from bottom, two points ahead of Fulham who staged a remarkable comeback from 2-0 down to beat Brighton & Hove Albion 4-2 at Craven Cottage.
Bottom side Huddersfield Town look down and out after a 1-0 home defeat by Everton in Jan Siewert’s first game in charge.
They are 11 points adrift of fourth-bottom Southampton.
In the ‘battle’ for seventh place, Wolverhampton Wanderers beat West Ham United 3-0 at Molineux.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)