Manchester United’s Premier League Roundup

Manchester United capitulated to a 2-0 defeat away to Tottenham as Christian Eriksen scored 11 seconds into the game and a Phil Jones own goal around the half-hour mark proved enough for Spurs. Eriksen’s goal was the first goal conceded by United since Boxing Day in the league. More pertinently, it was the second-fastest Premier League goal ever, the fastest being former Spurs captain Ledley King’s effort inside 10 seconds against Bradford City all the way back in 2000.

It was a terrible round of fixtures for a couple of the other top-six contenders as well. Arsenal were beaten 3-1 by Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, continuing their horrid away form. On a night when Henrikh Mkhitaryan made his debut for the club as a substitute, Nacho Monreal continued his new-found goalscoring touch by netting the opener, only for Sam Clucas to level the scores within a minute. An absolute howler by Petr Cech gifted Jordan Ayew the lead and Clucas scored his second of the night to finish the Gunners off. Swansea have now taken 10 points from their five games under Carlos Carvalhal, winning back-to-back games for the first time this season (against Liverpool and Arsenal, no less), and are out of the relegation zone. Chelsea fell to a shock 3-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth, in a result that looks to have further increased the chances of Antonio Conte leaving the club in the summer. Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas and Nathan Ake got the goals in the second half for the Cherries, who are now up to the lofty heights of 10th place, but still only five points outside the relegation zone.

Liverpool were quietly efficient in their 3-0 dismantling of Huddersfield, after two unexpected losses following their defeat of Manchester City earlier in January. Emre Can scored with a deflected effort in the first half, while Roberto Firmino squeezed one in at the near post on the stroke of half time, and Mohamed Salah got his share of the spoils from the penalty spot late in the game. The win moved Liverpool to within three points of United in second, and level with Chelsea, whom they lead by a narrow margin on goal difference. Manchester City dispatched West Brom by the same scoreline at the Etihad, as Fernandinho, Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero got the goals in club-record signing Aymeric Laporte’s debut game. City have again opened up a 15-point gap over United at the top with this win.

Stoke’s revival under Paul Lambert continued with a 0-0 draw against Watford, while Newcastle and Burnley too played out a stalemate, albeit with a 1-1 scoreline, as Jamaal Lascelles goal was cancelled out by Karl Darlow’s late own goal. Southampton and Brighton too drew by the same scoreline; Glenn Murray’s early penalty looked to be enough to get the Seagulls the elusive three points, only for Jack Stephens to save the Saints with the equaliser. The draw did extend Southampton’s winless run to 12 games, equalling a club record, and they have still only won four games this season. New signing Theo Walcott was on the double for Everton as they beat Leicester City 2-1 at Goodison Park, for their first win in eight games. Jamie Vardy scored with a late penalty for the Foxes, for whom all of the drama was focused around the absence of Riyad Mahrez from the match-day squad, after Manchester City’s ultimately unsuccessful pursuit. Finally, a heavily depleted West Ham side did well to draw 1-1 with Crystal Palace, as Christian Benteke’s second goal of the season and Mark Noble’s 50th goal for West Ham allowed the points to be shared.

Manchester United’s loss opens the doors for Chelsea and Liverpool to potentially overhaul them in second place. With Spurs also moving five points behind the Red Devils with this win, the season could soon turn into a scrap for a top-four spot if United aren’t careful.