Manchester United started the Ralf Rangnick era with a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace on Sunday (Dec 5), as Tottenham crushed Norwich 3-0 to extend their recent revival under Antonio Conte.
Leeds struck late to draw 2-2 with Brentford, as new Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard prepared to lock horns with his former boss at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, in the late match against Leicester.
Rangnick, taking the reins for the first time, named an unchanged side at Old Trafford after United beat Arsenal 3-2 in midweek and was rewarded with a high-energy performance in the first half, backed by a vocal crowd.
Cristiano Ronaldo had the hosts’ best chances as Palace initially struggled to get a foothold but the game remained goal-less at half-time.
United’s performance levels dipped in the second period and Rangnick threw on Mason Greenwood and Anthony Elanga for Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford to inject fresh energy into his attack.
But it was often-maligned Brazil midfielder Fred who broke the deadlock, curling home a superb strike past Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita from outside the box after a pass from Greenwood.
The three points lift United to sixth place in the table, three points behind fourth-placed West Ham (27 points).
Spurs are one point ahead of United with a game in hand after cruising to a 3-0 win against bottom side Norwich – their third straight victory in the Premier League.
Lucas Moura opened the scoring in the 10th minute. After a nice piece of skill to round a Norwich defender, he played a one-two with Son Heung-min, turned his marker and thundered an unstoppable drive into the top corner from 20 yards.
Tottenham doubled their lead midway through the second half when Davinson Sanchez smashed home a loose ball from a corner.
Son made it 3-0 in the 77th minute with a fine goal as Ben Davies and Oliver Skipp combined before the South Korean fired into the bottom corner.
Italian Conte took over from the sacked Nuno Espirito Santo early last month, with Spurs languishing in mid-table after a poor run of results and is starting to make an impact.
Brentford were denied a win at Elland Road, as Patrick Bamford scored deep into stoppage time to rescue a point for his side.
Tyler Roberts gave Leeds a 27th-minute lead, sliding on to Raphinha’s cross from the left to stab the ball home.
Shandon Baptiste equalised for Brentford from the edge of the penalty area in the 54th minute and Sergi Canos put the Londoners ahead seven minutes later.
But Bamford had the last word, poking home from close range in the 95th minute following a corner.
Manchester City are top of the Premier League on 35 points, after their 3-1 cruise against Watford on Saturday, one point clear of in-form Liverpool and two ahead of Chelsea.