More frustration for Solskjaer as Manchester United held by Villa
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suffered another frustrating afternoon as his team were held to a 2-2 draw at home to lowly Aston Villa at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday.
United came back through an own goal and a Victor Lindelof header to lead after falling behind to an 11th-minute Jack Grealish goal but had to settle for a point that leaves them in ninth place, 22 points adrift of Liverpool after 14 games.
The club have won just 18 points in the Premier League this season, their fewest after 14 games of a top-flight campaign since 1988-89.
Solskjaer's side now face two big tests with their former manager Jose Mourinho returning with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday before the Manchester derby at the Etihad on Saturday.
"First half today wasn't good enough, their first goal knocked us emotionally, we didn't compete until halftime," said Solskjaer.
"As a club we don't like to be in this position but that's the reality. Wednesday we have a big game, Saturday, these boys are looking forward to every game," he added.
United fans will be far from confident of positive results in those games after another poor display from a team lacking authority and quality in midfield against a Villa side inspired by the creativity of Grealish.
After a wide-open start to the game, Grealish fired Villa ahead, cutting in from the left and expertly curling the ball into the far, top corner.
Villa substitute Trezeguet had the ball in the net in the 29th minute but his effort was ruled out for offside and three minutes before the break United got a barely deserved equaliser.
A short corner led to Andreas Pereira floating in a deep cross which Marcus Rashford rose well to head against the post with the ball bouncing in off helpless Villa keeper Tom Heaton in the 42nd minute.
Villa continued to play with ambition after the break and Grealish could have added a second goal but his outstretched foot turned a Trezeguet ball just wide of the post.
It was another corner routine which led to United taking the lead after 64 minutes; this time Fred's cross was inadvertently headed to the back post by Villa striker Wesley and United's Swedish defender Lindelof nodded home.
The lead last only two minutes before Villa got back on level terms, the impressive Matt Targett chipping the ball into the box to an unmarked Tyrone Mings who volleyed home.
While the defender looked offside VAR ruled that it was valid, giving the centre-half his first Premier League goal.
United pushed forward in response but lacked the finesse to open up the Villa defence and their skipper Harry Maguire admitted the performance had not been good enough.
"As a team we are improving but we want to improve a lot more. To not win games at home is disappointing," he said.
"We huffed and puffed but we need to do better and Wednesday (against Spurs) gives us a great opportunity to put that right."
"We were poor after their first goal. It knocked us and we were edgy and nervous. To concede straight away after going in front, it's disappointing," added the England international.
Villa boss Dean Smith hailed Grealish's performance, saying "everything that was good from us came through him", though he added that the midfielder would find it hard to forget his missed chance.
"He knows more than anybody that nine times out of 10 he scores that. He'll be pleased because of his goal but he won't sleep because of that miss," he said.
Aubameyang's double earns Arsenal draw at Norwich
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang once again rescued Arsenal as his brace earned them a 2-2 draw at Norwich City in Freddie Ljungberg’s first game as caretaker manager on Sunday.
The Gabonese striker took his away league tally to six this season as he twice levelled after an impressive Norwich side led through goals by Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell.
While Arsenal showed some backbone to return to London with a point two days after Unai Emery was sacked as manager they are now without a Premier League win for six games — their longest streak within a season since 1994.
They are eighth, seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, while Norwich remain second from bottom.
“I want this club to do well, it is only winning that counts,” Swede Ljungberg, a member of Arsenal’s “Invincibles” who won the title in 2003-04 without losing a game, said.
“I wanted to win the game so I am disappointed but I have also seen some positive things.”
Ljungberg’s starting lineup saw a return for Granit Xhaka for his first league appearance since he argued with Arsenal fans when he was substituted against Crystal Palace in October.
There was also a place for German playmaker Mesut Ozil — given just his fifth start of the season.
The visitors began in sprightly fashion but their fragility was exposed after 21 minutes when Pukki was allowed far too much time to control a ball and turn before his low shot took a deflection and crept past Bernd Leno.
Norwich’s lead was shortlived though as Arsenal were awarded a penalty after Christoph Zimmermann’s handball.
Aubameyang’s first attempt was saved by Tim Krul but a VAR check showed the Norwich players had encroached into the area before the kick was taken and a re-take was ordered.
Despite Krul doing his best to distract Aubameyang the striker calmly angled his kick into the corner.
Arsenal began to dominate but they were caught on the counter-attack in first-half stoppage time and Cantwell’s slide-rule finish had the Carrow Road faithful celebrating again.
Aubameyang fired in from close range following a corner to level again in the 57th minute but it was Norwich, eyeing a second successive league victory, who looked the more likely winners with Leno making several good saves.
The pick of them was when Kenny McLean burst through on goal after indecision in the Arsenal defence and his shot was turned against the post by Leno.
Pukki also had a chance to win it for Norwich while at the other end Arsenal substitute Lucas Torreira almost claimed victory for the Gunners in stoppage time.
“I’m disappointed to some extent — we should have got three points,” Norwich manager Daniel Farke said. “Some of that was due to a world class Bernd Leno.
“Four points from two games is quite good.”
Iheanacho's last-gasp strike gives Leicester win over Everton
Leicester City reclaimed second spot in the Premier League in dramatic fashion as Kelechi Iheanacho came off the bench to score a stoppage-time goal and seal a 2-1 victory over luckless Everton on Sunday.
Playing in his first Premier League game of the season, Iheanacho also set up Jamie Vardy’s 68th-minute equaliser after Leicester had trailed to Richarlison’s first-half header.
A draw would have been a fair result and a boost for under-pressure Everton boss Marco Silva but Nigerian former Manchester City striker Iheanacho showed great composure to turn inside Mason Holgate and fire past Jordan Pickford, extending Leicester’s winning league run to six games.
The goal was initially disallowed for offside but after an agonising VAR wait the decision was overturned, sparking scenes of joy for the hosts and dejection for Everton.
A buoyant Leicester moved back above Manchester City and are three points ahead of the champions with 32 from 14 games and eight behind Liverpool.
Everton remain in trouble in 17th, two points off the relegation zone.
“I have been waiting for this opportunity,” said Iheanacho, who had not scored since September last year.
“I knew one day it would come. It’s not easy not playing but I’m happy that my chance came today.”
Everton began the game confidently and took the lead with a fine team goal in the 23rd minute.
After Richarlison helped to break up play in the middle of the pitch, former Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi passed to Djibril Sidibe and his cross from the right was met by Richarlison whose stooping header flew past Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester thought they had a penalty when referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot after Ben Chilwell went flying but after referring the incident to VAR it was decided Holgate’s swinging leg had made no contact.
There was derision from the home fans, although they were applauding the system later.
Leicester were increasingly dominant in the second half but Everton resisted and were still a threat going forward with Sidibe impressive on the right.
Iheanacho was introduced for Ayoze Perez and it proved to be a masterstroke by manager Brendan Rodgers as Leicester began to lay siege to the Everton goal.
First he provided the cross for Vardy to score for the sixth successive league game, then he broke Everton’s hearts with a lethal finish, even if the celebrations were put on hold.
“It’s really harsh for us — we didn’t deserve it at all. We deserved to take something more in this game,” Silva said.
“We were playing against a confident team. Of all their games at home this might have been the toughest they had.”