MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Chelsea’s winning start to the Premier League was ended by a dramatic goal from one of its greatest ever players while Manchester United’s all-star attack was undermined by its jittery defense in a 5-3 loss at Leicester on Sunday.
Frank Lampard struggled to contain his emotions after grabbing 10-man Manchester City’s 85th-minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea, the team which released the former England midfielder this summer after his club-record 211 goals in 13 years at Stamford Bridge.
“It is a special and weird day,” said Lampard, who was applauded before and after the game by Chelsea’s traveling support.
Lampard was talking about his own experience but he could easily have been summing up an afternoon full of surprises in England’s top division, which finished with Chelsea holding a three-point lead after five games.
Surprise home defeats by Tottenham and Everton were upstaged by an implosion from Manchester United, which conceded four goals in 20 minutes to lose a Premier League game for the first time after holding a two-goal lead.
Robin van Persie’s header and Angel Di Maria’s exquisite chip put United 2-0 ahead after 16 minutes and Ander Herrera regained the team’s two-goal cushion at 3-1 in the 57th minute.
However, penalties by David Nugent and Leonardo Ulloa — the second after Tyler Blackett’s sending-off — came either side of goals by Esteban Cambiasso and Jamie Vardy as United’s defense fell apart at King Power Stadium.
“How is it possible to give this game away?” said United manager Louis van Gaal, whose side has five points from five games despite a spending spree of $250 million over the summer.
West Bromwich Albion beat Spurs 1-0 through James Morrison’s goal to climb off the bottom of the standings and Crystal Palace also grabbed a first win of the season, defeating Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park.
Lampard was cheered onto the field by Chelsea fans as he entered as a substitute in the 78th minute, with City a man and a goal down and seeking an unlikely way back into the game.
Pablo Zabaleta was sent off in the 66th for receiving a second booking and Chelsea capitalized within five minutes when substitute Andre Schuerrle tapped in at the far post from Eden Hazard’s cross.
Chelsea, which ditched the flamboyance that characterized its opening four wins, failed to see the match out and after Diego Costa hit the post for the visitors, Lampard arrived with a trademark late run into the box to side-foot home James Milner’s knockdown.
Lampard — keeping his head down — held his arm out in an attempt to hold off the advances of his joyous City teammates and didn’t celebrate the goal.
“It was a difficult day for me at the end because what do you do?” Lampard said. “You’re caught in the middle.”
Lampard’s first goal for City overshadowed strong words by City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who described Chelsea as a “small team” because of what he perceived as defensive tactics.
“I think we played against exactly the same team we played against Stoke here,” Pellegrini added, referring to his team’s 1-0 loss to Stoke in City’s last home game.