Arsenal beat lacklustre Liverpool to close gap
IMAGE Arsenal’s Leandro Trossard celebrates scoring their third goal with Reiss Nelson and Martin Odegaard. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
Arsenal spiced up an already intriguing Premier League title race as they beat lacklustre leaders Liverpool 3-1 to slice the gap to two points on Sunday.
Arsenal deserved the points although they would not have expected a helping hand from an awful defensive mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson which allowed Gabriel Martinelli to restore their lead in the 67th minute.
Substitute Leandro Trossard then soothed any late nerves among the Emirates faithful as he secured the victory in stoppage time with a shot through Alisson’s legs.
Bukayo Saka had given Arsenal an early lead with a cool finish in the 14th minute but a Gabriel own goal on the stroke of halftime undid all of their good work.
Heading for only their second league defeat of the season, Liverpool’s frustrations boiled over as Ibrahima Konate was sent off in the closing minutes for a second booking after a foul on Kai Havertz.
Arsenal’s win lifted them to second on 49 points to Liverpool’s 51 with both clubs having played 23 games. Champions Manchester City, who play on Monday, have 46 from 21 games.
Manchester United climb into sixth place with 3-0 West Ham win
IMAGE: Manchester United’s Rasmus Hojlund celebrates scoring their first goal with Alejandro Garnacho. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
Manchester United’s Alejandro Garnacho netted twice after Rasmus Hojlund scored on his 21st birthday as the Old Trafford side beat West Ham United 3-0 to climb above the visitors into sixth place in the Premier League on Sunday.
On the heels of a 4-3 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Thursday, Erik ten Hag’s team now have 38 points after 23 games, eight adrift of fourth spot. The Hammers are seventh with 36.
Hojlund scored in the 23rd minute when Casemiro prodded the ball forward after West Ham failed to clear a high ball. The Dane knocked the ball past a couple of defenders before firing home from the centre of the box into the bottom corner.
“It was very good. It’s always special to play on your birthday but today of course with the win, yeah,” Hojlund said.
Hojlund, who did not score his first league goal until Dec. 26, became the youngest player in the Old Trafford team’s history to score in four consecutive Premier League appearances.
Garnacho, 19, doubled the lead in the 49th after his shot from the corner of the box took a big deflection to send substitute goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski the wrong way.
The Argentine netted his second in the 84th after Kalvin Phillips lost the ball and Scott McTominay pounced, finding Garnacho in the box.
His first goal came seconds after arguably West Ham’s best chance when an error from Harry Maguire saw Emerson left on his own but the Brazilian fired his shot well over the bar.
Defender and former captain Maguire was making his first start since Dec. 12 when he limped off with a groin injury in the 1-0 home defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Ten Hag’s team have now scored 11 goals in their last three games — including a 4-2 win at Newport County in the FA Cup fourth round — after 10 goals in their previous 10 games.
Home keeper Andre Onana also came up with several terrific saves in his second game since returning from international duty with Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The one negative was the loss of Argentine defender Lisandro Martinez to an apparent knee injury in the second half in only his fourth game since returning from foot surgery.
Wolves thump Chelsea 4-2 with Cunha hat-trick
IMAGE: Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Matheus Cunha celebrates scoring their third goal. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters
A hat-trick from Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Matheus Cunha again exposed Chelsea’s defensive frailties with the visitors coming from behind to record a 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
It was the second time in a week the big-spending London side had shipped four goals after losing 4-1 to Liverpool on Wednesday and the defeat piled pressure on coach Mauricio Pochettino.
Chelsea, who looked bright at the start, went ahead in the 20th minute through Cole Palmer, whose neatly-taken goal was his 10th for his new side in the Premier League.
But two minutes later Joao Gomes found Brazilian compatriot Cunha whose shot took a big deflection off Chelsea defender Thiago Silva.
Wolves’ second just before halftime came from a shot by Rayan Ait-Nouri, which hit Axel Disasi and was given as an own-goal with Chelsea goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic wrongfooted.
Chelsea pushed forward but looked disorganised at the back. At the age of 39, Silva’s lack of pace is showing and his young defensive team mates looked short of experience and cohesion.
Cunha made it 3-1 midway through the second half, after Pedro Neto caught Chelsea on the break, and scored his third from the spot in the 82nd after being brought down by defender Malo Gusto.
Brazilian Silva scored a consolation header with four minutes of normal time remaining but by then many home supporters were already leaving the stadium.
The defeat piles pressure on coach Mauricio Pochettino with Chelsea dropping to 11th in the table and Wolves leap-frogging them to 10th.
He said the players were lacking in confidence and performances were not good enough.
“We feel the pressure and the stress to win, to play well to perform. We didn’t have time to feel confident,” the Argentine said.
“I think we are all not good enough. At the moment this is the reality. Myself, also. What we are showing today is we are not good enough. We didn’t manage the situation properly.”
The former Tottenham Hotspur coach added that expectations were high and the players felt those expectations.
“At the moment, we are not matching the history of the club… that is true. We need to accept and be critical. We will not give up.”
Several voices in the crowd started singing the name of former coach Jose Mourinho, recently sacked by AS Roma, who led Chelsea to three Premier League titles during his tenure.
It was Wolves’ first win at Stamford Bridge since 1979 and the first top-flight double over Chelsea since 1975. They beat Chelsea 2-1 at home on Dec. 24.
Hudson-Odoi stunner earns Forest draw at 10-man Bournemouth
IMAGE: Nottingham Forest’s Andrew Omobamidele in action with AFC Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters
A fantastic strike from Callum Hudson-Odoi earned struggling Nottingham Forest a welcome point in a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth in the Premier League on Sunday.
Former Chelsea forward Hudson-Odoi scored with a curling shot from outside the box following a well-drilled Forest free-kick routine in first-half stoppage time to draw his side level after they fell behind to an early Bournemouth goal.
Bournemouth started brightly, taking the lead from a Lloyd Kelly corner in the fifth minute, with Justin Kluivert firing the hosts in front from point-blank range after latching on to Luis Sinisterra’s knock on.
Forest served the first notice of their attacking intentions five minutes after falling behind, when Taiwo Awoniyi was played through by Morgan Gibbs-White, but the Nigerian striker shot straight at Neto in the Bournemouth goal.
The visitors grew into the match as the half wore on, with Ryan Yates shooting tamely straight at Neto from close range in the 24th minute after being picked out by Murillo following a deep free kick that sparked panic in the Bournemouth defence.
Bournemouth did not learn from that scare and Hudson-Odoi’s goal in the 45th minute came from a free kick in a similar position, with a ball swung in from right to left causing mayhem in the hosts’ back line once again.
Hudson-Odoi latched on to the loose ball just outside the Bournemouth area and cut in on his right foot before unleashing an unstoppable shot that curled inside the far post.
“I feel I’m getting more and more confident,” the 23-year-old told Sky Sports after his second league goal of the season.
“Obviously I want to be getting more goals for the team. That’s my aim for the rest of the season. We came to get the three points. We’ll take the point and hopefully in the next league game we can get three points.”
The second half was a scrappy affair, broken up by a series of niggling fouls, with neither side able to get the upper hand.
Bournemouth were reduced to 10 men in the 84th minute, when substitute Philip Billing was shown a straight red card for a nasty foul on Hudson-Odoi, but Forest could not make their numerical advantage count late in the game.
The point moved Forest up a place to 16th in the table on 21 points, above Luton Town, while Bournemouth climbed above Fulham into 12th.