LONDON: Manchester United roared back to beat West Ham 3-1 yesterday and climb into the top four of the Premier League as fans returned to the English top-flight for the first time in nine months. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men fell behind at the London Stadium but a three-goal blitz from Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford turned the tables at the London Stadium. United, who have won nine successive league games on the road, are now fourth in the table, one point ahead of Manchester City, who earlier cruised past Fulham 2-0.
United, who started with Bruno Fernandes and Rashford on the bench, were second best in the first half and fell behind to a Tomas Soucek goal seven minutes before half-time. But, with 2,000 fans inside the ground, Solskjaer threw on Rashford and Fernandes for the start of the second half and United were a changed side. Pogba equalized in the 65th minute with a superb strike from distance and minutes later United were ahead, Greenwood turning and firing home in the area. Rashford struck a post as United looked to extend their lead, and it was the England striker who made it 3-1 12 minutes from time.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have had a patchy start to the season but are now just three points behind leaders Tottenham after a dominant display at the Etihad. City, who had won just four of their opening nine matches, are showing ominous signs they are returning to their best form after building on their 5-0 mauling of Burnley last week.
They made a superb start at the Etihad, with Raheem Sterling putting them ahead inside five minutes to end his recent goal drought. The England forward, who had already had one shot saved by Alphonse Areola, raced through on goal from a measured Kevin De Bruyne pass and calmly side-footed into the far corner. De Bruyne, in Guardiola’s 700th game as a manager, doubled the lead from the penalty spot after Sterling was brought down by Joachim Andersen. The Belgian rattled the bar early in the second half as City continued to dominate but they could not add to their lead.
“We struggled at the beginning of the season for many reasons,” Guardiola told the BBC, bemoaning his side’s wastefulness in front of goal. “Now four games, four clean sheets. It’s so important for us to maintain this solidity.” “This season looks like there will be a lot of teams in contention,” he added. “Everyone can beat everyone. In this month it was important to get qualification for the Champions League, now we focus on the Premier League. It will be a long season.” Earlier, Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his 11th Premier League goal of the season to rescue a point for Everton in a 1-1 draw against struggling Burnley.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side trailed at Turf Moor after a fine strike by midfielder Robbie Brady before England forward Calvert-Lewin leveled on the stroke of half-time. Premier League chiefs issued advice to supporters on coronavirus safety measures, including a warning for fans not to get carried away when their team scores a goal. “Fans can celebrate but should remain socially distanced from people outside their social bubble,” said the advice. “Hugging of other fans and high-fives should be avoided and fans are asked to be respectful to those around them, including avoiding excessive shouting or singing.”
London and Liverpool are among the areas to have been placed into the Tier-2 category based on Covid-19 rates, meaning up to 2,000 fans will be able to attend matches. But clubs based in Tier-3 areas, such as Manchester and Birmingham, are still not allowed to open their gates. Chelsea boss Frank Lampard goes toe to toe with Marcelo Bielsa in the late yesterday kick-off in the first league meeting between the bitter rivals for 16 years. Leaders Tottenham and Liverpool, who are both on 21 points, are in action today. — AFP
Source: Kuwait Times