United scrap to victory over plucky Brighton
MANCHESTER UNITED stayed on the tail of Premier League leaders and arch rivals Manchester City after a Lewis Dunk own goal gave them a laboured 1-0 win over Brighton at Old Trafford yesterday.
United’s 32-year-old wing-back Ashley Young let fly from the the edge of the penalty area in the 66th minute and his shot took a heavy deflection off Dunk, leaving visiting goalkeeper Mathew Ryan rooted to the spot.
The winner settled an uneventful contest as Brighton’s packed defence foiled waves of attacks by United’s 4-3-3 formation, with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford deployed either side of striker Romelu Lukaku. There was also a half-hour cameo from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is returning from a lengthy injury spell.
But Brighton, who had several dangerous raids down Young’s flank, failed to clear a corner and the home side took advantage to stay second in the standings on 29 points from 13 games, five behind City, who visit Huddersfield Town today.
Watford’s Portuguese manager Marco Silva, coveted by Everton, enhanced his reputation further as his side consolidated eighth place with a dominant performance in a 3-0 win at Newcastle United.
Will Hughes, the midfielder who got his first Premier League goal last week, added another one in the first 20 minutes, steering in a cut-back by Marvin Zeegelaar.
Just before halftime Zeegelaar forced an own goal by DeAndre Yedlin, and striker Andre Gray added the third, made by the impressive Brazilian Richarlison.
Swansea City produced a vastly-improved performance and ended a run of four straight Premier League losses with a 0-0 draw against Bournemouth at the Liberty Stadium.
Swansea midfielder Leroy Fer missed a chance to seal the win in the final 10 minutes, shooting straight at goalkeeper Asmir Begovic before missing with his second attempt while team-mate Tammy Abraham had a penalty appeal denied late on.
Wilfried Bony provided the game’s other talking point just before halftime when the Swansea striker curled a shot into the top corner but his effort was disallowed after Jordan Ayew was adjudged to have fouled defender Nathan Ake in the build-up.
Bournemouth began the game brightly but missed a chance to go ahead within two minutes as winger Marc Pugh scuffed Joshua King’s low cross. Bournemouth sat back and allowed Swansea to grow in confidence but the hosts failed to make the most of their chances.
Defender Mamadou Sakho struck deep into stoppage time to snatch a badly-needed 2-1 win for basement club Crystal Palace over Stoke City at Selhurst Park.
Xherdan Shaqiri gave Stoke the lead with a sensational solo goal early in the second half, picking up the ball on the halfway line and racing through before curling home a leftfooted shot.
The lead lasted only three minutes as Ruben Loftus-Cheek stole in at the back post to tuck home Andros Townsend’s cross to equalise.
Ryan Shawcross missed a great late chance for Stoke and Palace made the most of it, with Yohan Cabaye hitting the post before Sakho rifled home the rebound in the 92nd minute to give Roy Hodgson’s side just their second victory of the season.
Harry Kane scored his 40th goal of the year to salvage a 1-1 draw for Tottenham against managerless West Bromwich at Wembley.
Salomon Rondon handed the visitors a fourth-minute lead by out-muscling Davinson Sanchez and rolling a low shot past Hugo Lloris.
Spurs dominated possession but looked unlikely to score against a well-drilled Baggies team until Kane steered home Dele Alli’s cross in the 74th minute.
West Brom, who had Gary Megson in charge following Tony Pulis’s sacking, remain 17th in the standings, one point above the relegation zone.