Manchester United came away with a 4-2 win at Watford, where Ashley Young was the unlikely hero. Watford dominated possession, till two superb strikes from Young gave United momentum. Anthony Martial made it 3-0 before half-time, in a complete reverse of United’s recent away form. However, substitute Troy Deeney scored a penalty and Abdoulaye Doucoure netted as well to leave the Red Devils sweating, with only a fine late solo goal by Jesse Lingard settling those nerves.
Manchester City continued their recent knack of finding late winners, as Raheem Sterling scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time to break Southampton hearts and leave the Etihad with a 2-1 win. Earlier, a Virgil van Dijk own goal had been cancelled out by a superb strike from Oriol Romeu, and this was City’s 12th consecutive win in the league, a club record.
Antonio Conte was sent off before half-time, as Chelsea managed to beat Swansea 1-0, via a 55th minute header from Antonio Rudiger. The Italian took umbrage at what he perceived were Swansea’s time-wasting tactics, and the referee had no option after he shouted in the fourth official’s face one too many times. Arsenal hammered Huddersfield 5-0 at the Emirates, Alexandre Lacazette getting an early goal before a late flurry from Olivier Giroud (x2), Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil added a bit of gloss to the score. Ozil was especially inspired, scoring one and setting up two in a four-minute burst that destroyed the Terriers.
Liverpool beat hapless Stoke 3-0; Sadio Mane and substitute Mohamed Salah scoring the goals. Salah’s brace takes him well clear at the top of the goalscoring charts, with 12 goals. The watching Sam Allardyce must have wondered what all the fuss was about, as Everton once again ruined David Moyes’ homecoming by hammering his West Ham side 4-0. Wayne Rooney scored a hattrick, with Ashley Williams adding the fourth, and Rooney’s third was exceptional, scoring from the halfway line with a first-time shot after Joe Hart’s clearance fell to him. Burnley continued their scarcely-believable season, winning 2-1 away at Bournemouth. Chris Wood and Robbie Brady gave Sean Dyche’s side a 2-0 lead before a late consolation by Josh King; this was Burnley’s fourth win in five games and it moves them up to the heady heights of sixth place, three points off fourth. What a time to be alive eh?
The team that Burnley moved ahead of, Tottenham Hotspur, are on the opposite trajectory, losing 2-1 at Leicester. Superb goals from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, in a throwback to the 2015-16 season, were enough to claim victory, notwithstanding Harry Kane’s late finish. Spurs have now lost their last three away games to add to their woes at Wembley, and have only four points from their last five league games. Down on the south coast, Brighton and Crystal Palace’s first top-flight derby since 1981 ended goalless, where more of note happened off the pitch than on it. Quite a few Palace supporters were refused entry into the ground after clashes sent two Brighton stewards to hospital, and the FA is also seeking answers on how Palace supporters managed to set off smoke bombs and flares in the away section. Gary Megson’s last game in charge before Alan Pardew takes over finished in a 2-2 draw, somewhat ironically against another of Pardew’s former clubs, Newcastle. Hal Robson-Kanu and the youngster Sam Field had put the Baggies in a 2-0 lead, but a Ciaran Clark header and a Jonny Evans own goal meant that both teams shared the spoils.
United had a chaotic game, taking a commanding lead only to almost throw it away. Nevertheless, this away performance would have pleased Jose Mourinho, notwithstanding a potential injury to Nemanja Matic. With the next two games against Arsenal and City, Mourinho cannot afford to be without the Serbian, who has become integral to the side, and his absence will surely affect United’s chances of getting results in those two games.