United loss dou­ble blow for Mour­inho

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - STEVE DOU­GLAS

Jose Mour­inho hadn’t lost a Premier League soc­cer game in more than six months. He had never lost a com­pet­i­tive game against ri­val coach Arsene Wenger in al­most 13 years.

Two long, proud, un­beaten records came to an end for the Man United man­ager Sun­day. United lost 2-0 at Arse­nal at Emi­rates Sta­dium for a re­sult that, ac­cord­ing to Mour­inho, makes it “im­pos­si­ble” for United to fin­ish in the top four and se­cure Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion through its league plac­ing.

“All on the Europa League,” Mour­inho said, pil­ing the pres­sure on his play­ers ahead of the sec­ond leg of a semi­fi­nal that United leads 1-0 against Celta Vigo on Thurs­day. Mour­inho used to ridicule the Europa League. Now it could be his saviour.

This win lifted Arse­nal to within two points of fifth-placed United, hav­ing played one game fewer, and within seven points of third-placed Liver­pool, hav­ing played two games fewer. Liver­pool could only draw 0-0 at home to Southamp­ton in the other league game played on Sun­day.

With four games re­main­ing, Arse­nal could yet squeeze into the top four and play in the Cham­pi­ons League for a 20th straight sea­son. The team also has an FA Cup fi­nal against Chelsea at the end of May.

A dis­ap­point­ing game burst into life in the 54th minute when Xhaka, af­forded plenty of space in cen­tral mid­field fol­low­ing a throwin, ad­vanced and drove in a 30-me­tre shot that struck the turned back of An­der Her­rera and looped over goal­keeper David de Gea.

Wel­beck pow­ered home a header off the bar in the 57th from Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain’s cross to make it 2-0. The striker has now scored in each of his last three ap­pear­ances against his old club. LIVER­POOL 0, SOUTHAMP­TON 0 Liver­pool hasn’t scored a goal against Southamp­ton in four matches this sea­son — two in the league and two in the League Cup.

Even when the team was gifted a penalty for a hand­ball against Jack Stephens, Liver­pool couldn’t cap­i­tal­ize. But the point lifted Liver­pool back into third above Man City.

MATT DUN­HAM, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Manch­ester United’s Wayne Rooney boots the ball by Arse­nal’s Kieran Gibbs in their English Premier League match Sun­day at the Emi­rates Sta­dium in Lon­don. Are­se­nal won, 2-0.

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