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EPL: United outclass Watford; Arsenal down Everton

Last updated on: February 24, 2020 06:04 IST
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IMAGE: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored two goals to earn Arsenal a 3-2 win over Everton in the English Premier League at the Emirates stadium in London on Sunday. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice to earn Arsenal a 3-2 Premier League win over Everton on Sunday, extending the Gunners’ unbeaten start to 2020 and moving them back into the battle for European places.

The win lifts Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side up to ninth place in the league with 37 points, while Everton remain without a victory at the Gunners in 24 years and a point adrift in 11th.

 

As well as the goals of the prolific Aubameyang, who is now joint top scorer in the league on 17 with Jamie Vardy, Arsenal had keeper Bernd Leno to thank for some late saves which preserved the lead.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin put Carlo Ancelotti’s team ahead in the first minute with a superb, acrobatic volley after David Luiz had failed to deal with a Gylfi Sigurdsson free kick.

Yet Arsenal reacted well, with young forward Eddie Nketiah, who started ahead of Alexandre Lacazette, levelling in the 27th minute, his first goal at the Emirates coming from a fine cross from the left from substitute Bukayo Saka.

Six minutes later and Arsenal were ahead — Luiz making amends for his earlier mistake with a lovely, defence-splitting pass to Aubameyang who calmly slotted past Jordan Pickford.

Brazilian Richarlison brought Everton back on level terms though just before the interval, poking home from close range.

Arsenal, however, struck straight after the break with Aubameyang heading in a Nicolas Pepe cross, 23 seconds after the restart.

IMAGE: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores Arsenal's third goal past Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Leno then produced a brilliant point-blank reflex save from Calvert-Lewin and did well to keep out a Richarlison effort as Everton pushed for an equaliser.

Arsenal went close to a fourth goal when Nketiah, who spent the first half of the season on loan at Championship (second-tier) Leeds United, struck the bar with a curling shot.

Everton almost grabbed a point at the end but Calvert-Lewin’s header from a Bernard cross went just wide.

The victory completed an excellent week for Arteta’s side after their 4-0 Premier League win over Newcastle United and 1-0 win at Olympiakos in the Europa League on Thursday.

“The best thing is the spirit we showed after coming back from Europe - three games in seven days. And coming back after we went behind. The resilience they showed after they were absolutely shattered. Three wins in seven days, for sure it is my best week,” said the Spaniard.

Ancelotti said his striker Calvert-Lewin was continuing to progress but needed to work on his focus.

“He is doing well but (it is) not enough. If he wants to be a top striker, he has to work more hard, focus hard, work more. He is doing well but he has to have the game to be focused all the time,” he said.

“Defensively, we were terrible. We have to improve. There were three goals we could have avoided. It was too easy for Arsenal to score three goals.

“We had a lot of opportunities at the end of the game to equalise and we did not get it. We are working, we believe in what we are doing. Today was a step down. We need to refocus. We need to re-balance,” said the Italian.

United outclass Watford to stay in top-four hunt

Manchester United

IMAGE: Manchester United's Mason Greenwood scores their third goal. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

Manchester United kept alive their hopes of finishing in the Premier League's top four after goals from Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood secured a 3-0 home win over Watford on Sunday.

The result lifted United two places up to fifth on 41 points from 27 games, three behind fourth-placed Chelsea and one ahead of Tottenham Hotspur. Struggling Watford stayed 19th on 24 points.

The home side looked disjointed in the opening 20 minutes but Fernandes converted a 42nd-minute penalty to register his first United goal before Watford had an effort ruled out for handball following a VAR check early in the second half.

United doubled their lead in the 58th minute when Martial picked up his own rebound after Ben Foster blocked his initial attempt, left Etienne Capoue dumbfounded with dazzling footwork and dinked the ball over the keeper.

Greenwood put the icing on the cake with another individual goal of the highest quality in the 75th minute, unleashing a piledriver into the top corner after he found space on the edge of the penalty area.

United fans unfurled a giant banner before the kickoff to honour their former goalkeeper Harry Gregg who died last Sunday at the age of 87. There was a minute's silence for Gregg, a survivor of United's 1958 Munich air crash which killed 23 people including eight of the team's players.

Jota double for Wolves pushes Norwich deeper into trouble

Diogo Jota struck twice as Wolverhampton Wanderers pushed Norwich City deeper towards the drop with a 3-0 win over the Premier League's bottom club at Molineux on Sunday.

The in-form Portuguese forward, who scored a hat-trick in Wolves' 4-0 win over Espanyol in the Europa League on Thursday, put his side ahead in the 19th minute with a left-foot finish after good work from Matt Doherty.

Jota doubled Wolves' advantage from close range after Norwich had failed to clear a corner.

Norwich keeper Tim Krul produced an outstanding save on the stroke of halftime to push a Ruben Neves free kick against the bar as Wolves looked to put the game beyond Daniel Farke's side.

The third goal came early in the second half with Mexican Raul Jimenez slotting home after a Jota drive had flown out off the post.

Norwich remained bottom on 18 points, seven points behind 17th-placed Aston Villa. Wolves are eighth on 39 points.

The Canaries never looked likely to get back into the game after falling behind and midfielder Alex Tettey conceded they had let down their travelling supporters.

"I have to apologise to the away fans who came to watch us. From the 20th minute on we didn’t do what we came here to do," he said.

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo was pleased with the discipline his side had shown.

"We managed the game very well, we were always in control. We blocked them and created many chances," he said.

Wolves, enjoying their Europa League campaign, could yet make a push for a top-four finish and Champions League football for next season.

"We're going to stay focused because the difficulty is to sustain your performances through the season. After that, we'll see, but it's about building your team and getting them ready to compete whenever, wherever," added Santo.

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