Manchester City returned to the Premier League summit after a 0-0 draw against arch rivals Manchester United, while Jurgen Klopp was dramatically denied his first win as Liverpool boss in a 1-1 draw with Southampton.
A forgettable 170th Manchester derby yielded only two shots on target at Old Trafford, but that was enough to return City to the top of the table on goal difference above Arsenal, with United two points back in fourth place.
Manuel Pellegrini’s City could point to the absence of injured duo Sergio Aguero and David Silva, which partly explained why their attack ran dry after a flood of 11 goals in two league games.
“We are back at the top of the table,” Pellegrini said. “I prefer to play in another way but we defended well.
“It was very tactical. Unfortunately it was not a very attractive game.”
There were no such excuses for Louis van Gaal’s United, although they came closest to scoring when Anthony Martial teed up substitute Jesse Lingard to volley against the bar late on.
“I am proud of my players. They have been concentrating and focused for 90 minutes,” van Gaal said.
“We didn’t create much but City adapted their line-up to our line-up. It was tough.”
Klopp’s wait for his maiden Liverpool win goes on as Sadio Mane’s late equaliser earned Southampton a deserved draw at Anfield.
Klopp had looked set to break his duck when substitute Christian Benteke powered in a header from James Milner’s cross with 13 minutes to play.
But Liverpool, who had drawn each of their new manager’s first two matches in charge, were held once again as Mane bundled in his fifth goal in five matches with four minutes remaining.
Senegal winger Mane was then sent off late on after receiving two yellow cards in quick succession, the second of which was for a crunching challenge on Alberto Moreno.
“Football is not a fairytale. Sometimes we write stories like this but it doesn’t happen,” Klopp said.
“You saw how big the disappointment was after Southampton scored.
“It’s only a goal, only a game of football! It’s like it’s the last thing in your life and we have to calm this down.”
At the Stadium of Light, Sunderland swept to a record sixth successive Premier League triumph over hated neighbours Newcastle United as Fabricio Coloccini’s controversial dismissal proved the turning point in the hosts’ 3-0 win.
Newcastle had more than one reason to be aggrieved over the incident that shaped the outcome.
It came from a penalty awarded in first-half stoppage time when Newcastle defender Coloccini blocked Steven Fletcher as the Sunderland striker tried to reach a through ball.
Whether referee Robert Madley was right to award the spot-kick converted by Adam Johnson was highly debatable, but the red card shown to the centre-back by referee Robert Madley was certainly harsh since goalkeeper Rob Elliot looked certain to reach the ball ahead of Fletcher.
– Double whammy –
Billy Jones and Fletcher added further goals for Sunderland in the second half.
And to make the derby success even sweeter for Sunderland’s players and fans, their first league win of the season lifted them above Newcastle on goal difference, although both remain in the relegation zone.
“This was quite an achievement considering the low ebb we’re in at the moment,” Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce said.
Newcastle boss Steve McClaren added: “It was never a penalty. Absolutely ridiculous.”
Elsewhere, Harry Kane ended his goal drought in spectacular fashion as the Tottenham Hotspur striker’s hat-trick inspired a 5-1 demolition of Bournemouth.
Kane had scored only once in his last 11 games for Tottenham and England and had just a solitary club goal to his name this season.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side had actually fallen behind after just 49 seconds to Matt Ritchie’s strike.
But Kane led the fightback, equalising with a penalty before goals from Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela put Tottenham in control prior to half-time.
Kane struck twice in seven minutes in the second half to confirm his return to form, lifting Tottenham to sixth place and leaving Bournemouth hovering just above the relegation zone.