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PIX: United ease to another win, Spurs and Everton held

July 10, 2020 11:34 IST
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IMAGE: Paul Pogba, centre, celebrates with his Manchester United teammates after scoring the third goal against Aston Villa at Villa Park, on Thursday. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester United kept up their impressive chase for a top-four spot with a comfortable 3-0 win at relegation-threatened Aston Villa in the English Premier League on Thursday.

 

The victory means United, who are now unbeaten in 17 matches in all competitions, became the first team since the formation of the Premier League to win four consecutive matches by a margin of three or more goals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are fifth in the table, one point behind fourth-placed Leicester City and two adrift of Chelsea in third with four games left.

United went ahead in the 27th minute after a debatable penalty award when referee Jon Moss ruled that Ezri Konsa had brought down Bruno Fernandes just inside the box. The Portugal international rose to convert the spot-kick.

Villa keeper Pepe Reina was kept busy, dealing with efforts from Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood while Fernandes missed a great chance when he headed over when unmarked with the goal at his mercy.

IMAGE: Mason Greenwood scores Manchester United's second goal past Aston Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Pool via Getty Images

There was no dispute about United's second goal, though, just before the break, a thundering drive from Greenwood after good work from Martial.

The 18-year-old has now scored 16 goals in all competitions this season and is rapidly emerging as one of the most exciting young talents seen at United for years.

"Ever since I came to the club, the youth team beat Chelsea and he scored three, I think, I watched that game on video and it's natural for him to score goals and handle the ball," said Solskjaer.

"Now he's playing with better players, enjoying it, just gets on with his job, which he should be, and just enjoying his football," the Norwegian added.

Paul Pogba wrapped up the win against a Villa side, who looked demoralised, when Fernandes played a clever corner deep to the Frenchman outside the box and the World Cup winner placed the ball in the bottom corner past a motionless Reina for his first league goal since April, 2019.

Martial blasted against the bar as United threatened to run riot against Dean Smith's side who are next to bottom on 27 points, four behind 17th-placed Watford.

"It unravelled with the first goal," said Smith.

"I can understand Jon Moss getting it wrong but I don't know what VAR are looking at - it's a disgraceful decision. They have a screen they can go and look at it but they don't seem to be bothered," Smith added.

VAR denies Bournemouth late goal in dreary draw with Spurs

IMAGE: The LED screen shows a 'No Goal' decision by VAR after Callum Wilson thought he had grabbed a crucial win in Bournemouth's desperate battle to avoid the drop but his overhead kick was chalked off for handball after the ball hit the arm of Josh King on the way into the net. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Relegation-threatened Bournemouth had a late goal disallowed by VAR as they had to settle for a 0-0 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Thursday.

Callum Wilson thought he had grabbed a crucial win in Bournemouth's desperate battle to avoid the drop but his overhead kick was chalked off for handball after the ball hit the arm of Josh King on the way into the net.

Harry Wilson was then denied a stoppage-time winner by Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris as a dreary game sprang to life.

There were more than 10 minutes of stoppage time after Bournemouth's Adam Smith was carried off on a stretcher in the second half after lengthy treatment for a head injury.

Until the late drama there was precious little excitement with Tottenham only displaying some belated urgency in the second half as they pinned the hosts back.

They were toothless though as for the first time in 186 top-flight matches Bournemouth did not face an attempt on target.

The Cherries at least ended a run of five successive defeats as they moved up a place to 18th, three points adrift of Watford who are just above the relegation zone.

Victory would have lifted Jose Mourinho's Spurs side to seventh but they are a place and a point below their north London rivals Arsenal in ninth ahead of Sunday's home derby.

The only incident worth talking about in a dreadful first half was when visiting striker Harry Kane was denied a penalty despite appearing to be pushed in the back by King.

Tottenham sent on Son Heung-min and Tanguy Ndombele at halftime and they offered more threat, with Erik Lamela's glancing header flying just wide.

Spurs created little else though as they remained on course for their worst league finish since 2008.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe took the positives from the result even if it did little for their survival bid.

"When you face attackers like Kane and Son and you keep a clean sheet, you've deserved that clean sheet," he said.

Mourinho's Zoom press conference was initially halted by connection problems, but he returned to say: "The performance was not good enough, but good enough to win."

Predictably, the Portuguese aimed fire at VAR over Kane's first-half penalty claim.

"In the world everybody knows that is a penalty. And when I say everybody, I mean everybody," he said.

Everton held at home by improving Southampton

IMAGE: Everton's Richarlison scores his team's first goal past Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Everton's Brazilian forward Richarlison cancelled out Danny Ings's opener for Southampton as the teams drew 1-1 at Goodison Park in the Premier League on Thursday.

After an impressive start, in which Stuart Armstrong had an effort ruled out, Southampton should have grabbed the lead when they were awarded a penalty but James Ward-Prowse, who had been impeded, blasted the spot-kick against the bar.

The Saints did take the lead in the 31st minute, though, when a scuffed Armstrong shot fell to Ings and the forward did well to collect and round Jordan Pickford before sliding home.

Ings has now scored 19 of Southampton's 43 goals in the league this season as he continues to push his claims for an England call-up.

The hosts drew level in the mid-table clash two minutes before the interval when Richarlison brought down a long diagonal ball from Lucas Digne and confidently finished.

Southampton ended the game strongest but Everton's defence, well-marshalled by Michael Keane, kept the visitors at bay to leave Carlo Ancelotti's side in 11th spot with 45 points and the Saints a place and a point below them.

Everton are now unbeaten in 10 straight Premier League games at Goodison Park, while Southampton have earned 27 points away from home this season, the fourth most of any Premier League side.

"We could have killed the game in the first half if we were more clinical with the finishing," said Southampton's Austrian manager Ralph Hasenhuettl.

"We did not play it like an away game, it was a grown-up game and that is a good thing for me," he said.

Carlo Ancelotti was disappointed with Everton's first-half display and a result which hampers their already slim chances of playing in the Europa League next season.

"It is not a good result but we have four games, we have to keep fighting and see what happens after. It will not be easy but we have to try," the Italian manager said.

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