Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continued his dream start as Manchester United caretaker manager with a 3-1 Premier League win over Huddersfield on his Old Trafford debut in the dugout on Wednesday.
Paul Pogba scored two superb goals in the second half after Nemanja Matic fired United ahead in the 28th minute to continue United's revival under their former striker Solskjaer, who hit the ground running in Saturday's 5-1 win at Cardiff City.
The result left United sixth on 32 points from 19 games halfway through their campaign while Huddersfield stayed rooted to the bottom with 10 points after suffering their sixth successive league defeat.
Serbian enforcer Matic swept in a rebound from two metres after visiting keeper Jonas Lossl parried a glancing Victor Lindelof header from a corner to fire United ahead after the home side had suffered an early scare.
Defender Terence Kongolo blazed his 10th-minute shot over the bar for Huddersfield but United never looked back after taking the lead and their incessant pressure produced two sublime Pogba strikes after the break.
The France World Cup winner drilled in a fierce low shot from 13 metres in the 64th minute and sealed United's win with a rasping long-range effort in the 78th before Mathias Jorgensen netted a late consolation for Huddersfield.
Man City lose again after Ricardo stunner for Leicester
Manchester City suffered their second straight Premier League defeat as they were stunned by a late strike from Leicester City’s Ricardo Pereira in a 2-1 loss.
City were looking to bounce back from their 3-2 defeat by Crystal Palace and were in front after 14 minutes when Bernardo Silva finished with his left foot after being played through by Sergio Aguero.
But four minutes later Leicester were back on level terms after Marc Albrighton met Jamie Vardy’s cross with his head from close range.
Leicester’s defence held tight despite an onslaught from City, with Fabian Delph and Aguero both missing good chances.
Pep Guardiola’s team were may to pay for those spurned opportunities as Ricardo unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top left corner beyond Ederson with less than 10 minutes from the end.
Things went from bad to worse as Delph was shown a straight red for following through in a challenge on Ricardo, capping a miserable afternoon for City who slipped to third in the league.
Liverpool thrash Newcastle 4-0 to extend Premier League lead
Liverpool treated their fans to some Christmas cheer with a 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle United at Anfield, extending their lead at the top of the table.
The win put Liverpool on 51 points at the halfway point in the season, six ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who hammered Bournemouth 5-0, and seven ahead of champions Manchester City who lost 2-1 at Leicester City.
Returning to the club he led to the Champions League title in 2005, Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez picked his team with defence in mind, stringing five players across the back.
But defender Jamaal Lascelles inadvertently teed Dejan Lovren up for the opening goal, carelessly heading an attempted clearance into the path of the Liverpool centre back, who cracked home a fine half-volley in the 11th minute.
Newcastle managed to hold firm until halftime but within minutes of the restart they were two down as Mohamed Salah scored his 13th league goal of the season from the penalty spot following an innocuous foul on him by Paul Dummett.
Liverpool’s enormous pressure threatened to give them a third goal at any moment, and it came when Xherdan Shaqiri stabbed home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low cross from close range in the 79th minute. Fabinho made it 4-0 by heading home Salah’s corner.
Liverpool’s fans burst into song as news reached the Anfield stands that Manchester City had lost at Leicester, giving the Merseysiders the Christmas gift they wanted as they chase a first league title since 1990.
Super Spurs rout Bournemouth to move up to second
Tottenham Hotspur delivered a Boxing Day knockout to Bournemouth with a 5-0 win in the Premier League on Wednesday to move them up to second in the standings.
Having thrashed Everton 6-2 in their last match, it took only 16 minutes before Spurs were scoring again at Wembley. Christian Eriksen was played in by Kyle Walker-Peters and his shot from 25 yards took a big deflection off Bournemouth defender Jefferson Lerma to beat Asmir Begovic in goal.
The home side were celebrating again less than 10 minutes later when Son Heung-min scored his sixth goal of the month with a cool low finish from the edge of the area.
Walker-Peters had done well before giving the ball to Son for the second and the young full back got his third assist of the afternoon 10 minutes before halftime. This time, the English defender ran in behind the visiting defence and pulled the ball back for Lucas Moura to make it 3-0.
Harry Kane compounded Bournemouth’s misery after the break with his 12th league goal of the season. The England captain perfectly meeting an Eriksen ball over the top on the volley, before Son poked in his second and Spurs’ fifth with 20 minutes still to play.
With the win and Manchester City’s defeat at Leicester City, Mauricio Pochettino’s side moved up to second in the standings and six points behind leaders Liverpool. Bournemouth slipped down to 11th.
Everton bounce back with 5-1 rout of Burnley
Everton ended their five-game winless run in emphatic fashion by drubbing relegation-threatened Burnley 5-1 at Turf Moor on Wednesday.
Everton, hammered 6-2 at home by Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, took less than two minutes to grab the lead when the unmarked Yerry Mina headed in a cross from the left by Brazilian winger Bernard.
A curling Lucas Digne free kick beat Burnley keeper Joe Hart to double the lead in the 13th minute and nine minutes later Everton were 3-0 up.
Burnley defender Ben Mee handled the ball, rising for a header in a crowded penalty area, and referee Michael Oliver awarded a spot-kick which Gylfi Sigurdsson confidently converted.
Sean Dyche’s side pulled a goal back eight minutes before the break when a James Tarkowski header was pushed off the line by Jordan Pickford and Ben Gibson hooked the ball home.
But all Burnley’s labour towards an attempted comeback came to nothing after Digne made it 4-1 with a low drive from outside the box.
Brazilian substitute Richarlison completed the rout in stoppage time, collecting a fine through pass from Sigurdsson before slipping the ball home.
Wolves strike late to deny Fulham rare win
Romain Saiss bundled home from close range to earn Wolverhampton Wanderers a 1-1 draw at Fulham and deny Claudio Ranieri's side their first win in six Premier League matches.
Substitute Ryan Sessegnon struck to give the London side hope of three points as they fought to move off the bottom of the table, but Saiss's 85th-minute equaliser left Fulham 19th before Huddersfield's trip to Manchester United.
Claudio Ranieri's side showed defensive steel as they battled for a second consecutive clean sheet after achieving their first in a goalless draw at Newcastle United on Saturday, but eventually caved in.
"When a team is bottom, everything goes against this team. We are stronger than this, we want to react in every circumstance," Ranieri told reporters.
"If you continue to fight you can change (the situation), if you lose hope, you lose everything. I believe in my players and I believe we can make something good this season."
Fulham came closer in a tight first half with Aleksandar Mitrovic a constant thorn in Wolves's side, but Rui Patricio was alert to beat away the Serbian's strike after he wormed free in the area.
Sessegnon made the breakthrough for Fulham seven minutes after being introduced as a substitute, volleying in after Rui Patricio tried to punch the ball away.
With five at the back Fulham looked more able to withstand pressure than earlier in the season but Saiss levelled after Ivan Cavaleiro's cross sat up for him at the back post with Joe Bryan unable to clear the ball.
Fulham nearly snatched a late victory but Wolves captain Conor Coady hacked a late Mitrovic effort off the line to leave his side in mid-table.