Manchester United moved third in the Premier League with a frenzied 6-2 victory over Leeds after an exhilarating 90 minutes that resembled a basketball game at Old Trafford.
Sky News reports that Leeds’s defence rolled out the red carpet as Bruno Fernandes lashed Man Utd three ahead through a narrow gap from 12 yards (20), and the visitors conceded four goals for the fourth time already this season as Victor Lindelof converted at the far post after Anthony Martial flicked on a corner (37).
Leeds pulled one back through Liam Cooper’s header from their own corner (42), with five goals and 18 shots in a chaotic first half, but Man Utd regained their four-goal lead as Daniel James shot through the legs of Illan Meslier (66) following a counter-attack. Fernandes’ penalty made it 6-1 after Pascal Struijk fouled Martial (70), and the chaos continued as Stuart Dallas curled a beauty into the top right corner for 6-2 (73), sandwiched in-between several guilt-edged chances at both ends.
It somehow ended 6-2 – Man Utd in particular could have easily made double figures – with 43 shots registered between the sides, meaning Man Utd moved five points off leaders Liverpool with a game in hand. “Liverpool are still the strongest, but United could be the best of the rest,” said Roy Keane on Sky Sports after the game.
Other results :
Jamie Vardy scored Leicester City’s opening goal and had a hand in the other as the Foxes earned an impressive 2-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday.
Vardy netted a penalty on the stroke of halftime and his 59th-minute header led to Toby Alderweireld’s own goal to lift Leicester two places up to second on 27 points from 14 games, four behind champions and leaders Liverpool.
Tottenham dropped two places down to fourth after a second successive defeat, having suffered a 2-1 loss at Liverpool on Wednesday, with their display against Leicester leaving a lot to be desired.
The home side conceded a needless penalty, given after a VAR check, as Sergie Aurier clattered into Wesley Fofana on the edge of the area and Vardy made no mistake when he drilled the spot kick down the middle past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Visiting midfielder James Maddison had a superb finish ruled out for marginal offside before Vardy got on the end of a Marc Albrighton cross and his header cannoned off Alderweireld into the back of the net.
Spurs pressed in the closing stages as Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel kept out Son Heung-min’s close range effort with a brilliant save before the visitors twice came close to adding a third goal at the other end.
Other talking points
Following weeks of grumbling about fixture congestion and injuries, Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool are peaking just in time for the busy festive season, as illustrated by their 7-0 thrashing of hapless Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Having struggled to score in some recent games, Klopp’s side erupted at Selhurst Park, scoring seven goals of superb quality from eight efforts on target as they downed the Eagles with ease.
The Reds were enjoying the goal-hunt so much that Sadio Mane wore a thunderous expression on his face as he was replaced by Mohamed Salah, who went on to score twice, in the 57th minute.
“Today it clicked. This is a very intense period, the boys should be very proud of it. We take a day off tomorrow, then prepare for West Brom,” Klopp told BT Sport.
Liverpool can now enjoy a few days’ rest before taking on West Bromwich Albion on Dec 27, but with their forwards in this kind of form, it’s doubtful that new West Brom boss Sam Allardyce will be able to do the same.
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta were both appointed this time last year and looking at the league table after Saturday’s 2-1 win for the Merseyside team over the struggling Gunners, there is no doubt which made the better call.
Curiously, Everton had been linked with former player Arteta after sacking Marco Silva while Arsenal had been rumoured to be considering Ancelotti for the hot-seat at the Emirates.
Both inherited teams that had failed to live up to their potential and costly transfer costs but while Ancelotti has turned Everton into a team that looks comfortable in the top six, Arteta has his team just four points above the relegation zone.
It can be argued that Arteta has deeper issues to deal with at Arsenal with a squad in need of a major overhaul while Ancelotti has been able to improve Everton by the addition of a few key arrivals.
But the fortunes of the two clubs might also give pause to clubs who are tempted by the buzz around a young, up and coming coach and dismissive of more experienced options.
Arteta was ‘highly rated’ as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City and hailed by many pundits as a great choice — but had never held a manager position. Ancelotti is one of the most successful coaches in European football but had been written off by some.
Arsenal fans must surely wonder what their team might look like if their board had gone for the former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach rather than an untested rookie.
While Manchester City continue to lack a real goalscoring threat without the injured Sergio Aguero, coach Guardiola has been able to bank on the new-found resilience at the back in recent weeks.
The Spaniard has tweaked his formation to regularly field two holding midfielders in the lineup, offering extra cover to the central defensive pairing of John Stones and Ruben Dias.
The duo looked in complete control again at Southampton as City kept their sixth clean sheet of the season — more than any other team in the competition.
Newcastle United had to settle for a 1-1 home draw with 10-man Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday after a Callum Wilson penalty cancelled out Matt Ritchie’s own goal which fired the visitors ahead in a scrappy encounter.
Ten-man Sheffield United were denied a first win of the season when hosts Brighton & Hove Albion grabbed a late equaliser to earn a 1-1 Premier League draw at the Amex Arena on Sunday.
English second-tier side Watford sacked their manager Vladimir Ivic on Saturday despite the Serb having guided Watford to fifth place in the Championship.
The club took the decision after their 2-0 defeat at Huddersfield Town, with Ivic having only been appointed in August. Ivic becomes the fourth Watford manager to be sacked since September, 2019.
“Watford FC confirms the departure of Head Coach Vladimir Ivic with immediate effect,” the club said in a statement.
Reporting by Philip O’Connor, Hardik Vyas and Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar
Photo Jamie Vardy of Leicester (L) celebrates after Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham (not seen) scored an own goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City in London, Britain, 20 December 2020.during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City in London, Britain, 20 December 2020. EPA-EFE/Andy Rain / POOL