Manchester United’s Premier League Roundup

Manchester United stuttered to a 2-2 draw away at Leicester City, allowing Manchester City to gain further ground at the top of the table. Jamie Vardy had given the Foxes the lead after a classic counter-attack, but Juan Mata struck soon after as the two sides went in level at the break. Mata scored his second goal of the night with a freekick to allow United to sneak into the lead, and while the Red Devils created a host of opportunities, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, and the substitutes Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford all missed chances to put the game to bed. Daniel Amartey’s sending off for two bookable offences, merely 15 minutes after coming on as a substitute, should have allowed United to see off the game. However, a combination of poor game management and Chris Smalling’s injury meant that Leicester scored through Harry Maguire with the last kick of the game, sending United fans and Jose Mourinho into despair.

There was plenty of drama elsewhere in the league, on a day with a full round of fixtures. Manchester City continued their inexorable march towards the title with a 4-0 evisceration of Bournemouth at the Etihad. Sergio Aguero scored a brace, with Raheem Sterling and Danilo netting the other goals; the Brazilian getting his first for the club. Everton continued their unbeaten run under Sam Allardyce, drawing 0-0 with Chelsea at Goodison Park, while Liverpool and Arsenal played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Emirates. A first headed goal in Liverpool colours for Philippe Coutinho put the Reds in front, and they should have arguably finished Arsenal off in the first half itself. As it was, Mohamed Salah did make it 2-0 in the 52nd minute; however, three Arsenal goals in five minutes completely turned the game around, as Alexis Sanchez, Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil, aided by some suspect goalkeeping, looked to have won the game for the Gunners. Roberto Firmino’s late goal was enough to leave a share of the spoils for Liverpool, in what was a helter-skelter adrenaline rush of a football match.

Tottenham won their first away game in five attempts, courtesy a hattrick from Harry Kane, as he laid waste to Burnley at Turf Moor. Brighton managed a first win in eight games; Pascal Gross’ long-range goal proving enough to down Watford at home. Southampton and Huddersfield played out a 1-1 draw on the south coast, as Charlie Austin and Laurent Depoitre both continued their recent goalscoring runs. There was some relief for the beleaguered Mark Hughes, with his Stoke City side running out 3-1 winners over West Brom at the bet365. Joe Allen and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had set Stoke on their way, but Salomon Rondon halved the deficit in the 51st minute. However, Ramadan Sobhi scored in the last minute of stoppage time to seal the game for the Potters; incidentally becoming their youngest ever goalscorer in the Premier League. This defeat extended West Brom’s winless run to 17 matches.

Swansea managed to rescue a point against a resurgent Crystal Palace, drawing 1-1 at the Liberty Stadium. Luka Milivojevic had put the Eagles ahead with a penalty, but Jordan Ayew struck a sumptuous equaliser to give Leon Britton a point on his first game in charge of the Swans. Newcastle United ended a 10 game run without winning with victory over West Ham. Marko Arnautovic’s renaissance continued as he gave the Hammers an early lead, but goals from Henri Saivet, Mohamed Diame and Christian Atsu put the Magpies in front. Andre Ayew’s goal raised hopes of a comeback around the London Stadium, but Newcastle held on for a 3-2 win.

A poor result for United, as they needlessly dropped two points from a winning position. With Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all drawing, this was the perfect opportunity to put some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack. United must not succumb to such lapses again, or a top-four spot could be in jeopardy, given the strength of the other top clubs.