Liverpool, Leicester City, Manchester City and Chelsea have managed to retain their places in the Top Four after coasting through to comfortable wins in their mid-week Premier League fixtures. While Liverpool blanked out Everton 5-2 at Anfield, Pep Guardiola’s Man City made short work of Burnley, thumping the Clarets 1-4 in away at Turf Moor. But City had to be content with the third place on the table as Leicester overcame Watford 2-0 at the King Power stadium, maintaining a 3-points gap over the defending champions but still 8 points distant from League toppers Liverpool’s 43. Behind by 3 points to Manchester City are Chelsea in the fourth spot. A 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday saw Frank Lampard’s men adding three points and taking their tally to 29, a clear 6 points ahead of 5th placed Wolverhampton.
Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United consigned former manager Jose Mourinho to defeat on his return to Old Trafford, ending Tottenham’s three-match winning streak under the Portuguese coach. United took an early lead in the 6th minute of play when Rashford beat Tottenham keeper Paulo Gazzaniga at his near post after the ball had broken to the England forward off Davinson Sanchez. Dele Alli replied brilliantly 6 minutes before first half but United were definitely the dominant side going into half-time, creating a number of excellent chances they which they failed to capitalize on. Four minutes into the second-half United were awarded a penalty after Moussa Sissoko was adjudged to have fouled Rashford inside the area. The spot kick was cooly converted by Rashford. The scored remained at 2-1 in favour of the hosts till the final whistle. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United were by far the better side being fresher, quicker and sharper off the blocks. Marcus Rashford by far was the best player of the game and could easily have scored more goals. For Jose Mourinho, this was another Old Trafford experience to try and forget. United after Wednesday night’s win are up to the 6th spot with 21 points accrued from their 15 games while Tottenham have slipped to the 8th with 20 points to their credit. Nuno Santo’s Wolves added three points to take their tally to 23 and maintain the 5th place on the EPL table after their 2-0 win over West Ham. Crystal Palace leapt into the Top 8 of the table after their 1-0 win over Bournemouth at Selhurst Park and are now in the 7th place with 21 points. Their cause was helped to an extent by Sheffield United’s shock 0-2 defeat to Newcastle in their own backyard, Bramall Lane. Chris Wilder’s Blades who had lost only to League toppers Liverpool 0-1 in their last 9 games were stunned on Thursday night by Steve Bruce’s Newcastle who rode on the back of goals by Allan Saint-Maximin header and Jonjo Shelvey to edge nearer to the Top 10. The Magpies after their weekend’s sensational 2-2 draw with defending champions Manchester City and the mid-week Sheffield win are now in the 11th place and on equal points with 10th placed Arsenal.
The Gunners’ descent down the table continued when they lost a home game to 13th placed Brighton & Hove 1-2. This was the North London club’s third defeat in the last seven games which they have gone through without a win. The defeat is the first for Freddie Ljungberg in only his second game as interim manager after taking over reins from the sacked Unai Emery. Arsenal have now accrued just 19 points from their 15 fixtures which is undoubtedly their worst performance in a Premier league campaign till date.
Southampton finally found themselves out of the relegation zone when they beat 19th placed Norwich City 2-1 at the St. Mary’s stadium. This is the first time in the ongoing season that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have won consecutive matches. Which is why they have moved a notch higher to the 17th spot and one place further away from relegation. Into that unwanted territory slipped Everton after their defeat to Liverpool on Wednesday night. The Toffees currently share that space with usual suspects Norwich City and Watford. Marco Silva’s Everton have managed just 14 points from their 15 outings so far and with fixtures with Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal lined-up, the immediate future for the looks bleak.