Manchester City’s challenge for the Premier League title suffered a setback as they were forced to stage a late fightback just to salvage a 3-3 draw against Sunderland at Eastlands on Saturday.

City falling apart

With leaders Manchester United not in action until Monday’s trip to Blackburn, Roberto Mancini’s side would have returned to the top of the table on goal difference if they had beaten the Black Cats.
But City, who had won their previous 20 home league games to set a Premier League record, are now two points behind United and that gap will extend to five if the champions win at Ewood Park.
City, on a run of only one win in four league matches, fell behind to Sweden midfielder Sebastian Larsson’s cool finish in the 31st minute.
Mancini’s men equalised two minutes before half-time when referee Phil Dowd harshly awarded a penalty for Craig Gardner’s challenge on Edin Dzeko.
Mario Balotelli stroked home the spot-kick, yet City were behind again moments later as on-loan Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner headed in Stephane Sessegnon’s cross.
Larsson added the third goal as he fired Sessegnon’s pass beyond Joe Hart in the 55th minute.
But, to their credit, City kept going and Balotelli struck again in the 85th minute before Aleksandar Kolarov hit the equaliser moments later.
Chelsea kept their top-four bid alive with a 4-2 win over Aston Villa as the home faithful paid tribute to stricken captain Stiliyan Petrov.
Petrov’s presence at Villa Park just 24 hours after being diagnosed with acute leukaemia produced an emotional atmosphere.
With reports circulating that the Villa midfielder will retire to focus on his battle, a tearful Petrov was given a rapturous reception from the home fans.
Chelsea made the perfect start when Daniel Sturridge slotted home in the ninth minute and Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic doubled their lead in the 51st minute goal.
Villa looked to have snatched a point when James Collins struck in the 77th minute header and Eric Lichaj equalised three minutes later.
But Ivanovic restored Chelsea’s lead in the 83rd minute and Fernando Torres moved the Blues within two points of fourth placed Tottenham, who host Swansea on Sunday, with his first league goal since September.
Struggling QPR ended Arsenal’s run of seven successive league wins with a shock 2-1 victory at Loftus Road.
The third placed Gunners fell behind in the 22nd minute as Adel Taarabt skipped past Thomas Vermaelen to fire in his first Premier League goal.
Theo Walcott equalised in the 37th minute, but Mark Hughes’s side regained the lead as Mali midfielder Samba Diakite notched his first QPR goal in the 66th minute.
QPR remain third bottom but they are now level on points with Blackburn.