LONDON - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson fumed that Swansea City defender Ashley Williams could have killed Robin van Persie on Sunday, a day that Chelsea crushed Aston Villa 8-0 to climb to third in the Premier League.
Williams struck the prone van Persie in the back of the head with the ball during the second half of a 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium, sparking a furious reaction from the Dutchman that culminated in bookings for both players.
Swansea top scorer Michu had earlier cancelled out Patrice Evra's opener for United to prevent Ferguson's men from restoring their six-point advantage over second-placed Manchester City at the Premier League summit.
"Robin van Persie is lucky to be alive," said Ferguson.
"It was a disgraceful act from their player today and he should be banned by the FA (Football Association). Robin could have had a broken neck.
"It was one of the most dangerous things I've seen on a football pitch in many, many years. It was absolutely deliberate, and right in front of the referee."
Williams claimed it had been an accident, telling Sky Sports: "I just cleared the ball with frustration and unfortunately it hit him in the head and he got a bit angry about it."
United took the lead in the 16th minute, with Evra getting in front of his marker to dispatch van Persie's corner and claim his third goal — all headers — of the season.
In the 29th minute, Wayne Routledge's cute pass freed Jonathan de Guzman and when his shot was parried by David de Gea, Michu followed up from close range to claim his 13th league goal of the campaign.
After a scoreless second half, United had to settle for their first draw of the season in all competitions, leaving them four points above Manchester City.
Later in the day, Frank Lampard marked his 500th Premier League start with a sweetly struck goal as Chelsea annihilated Villa 8-0 at Stamford Bridge.
The win equalled Chelsea's 8-0 rout of Wigan Athletic in May 2010.
Manchester United hold the Premier League record for the biggest winning margin, having beaten Ipswich Town 9-0 in March 1995.