EPL: Solskjaer joy as Man United open 2021 level with Liverpool

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In the nippiness of the Old Trafford evening, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watched anxiously in stoppage time.

There was a 2-1 lead for Manchester United to guard in opposition to Aston Villa and the prospect to go level on factors with Premier League chief Liverpool.

Matty Cash was first denied an equalizer by goalkeeper David de Gea’s save. Then, United defender Eric Bailly made a decisive block from Keinan Davis with the clock ticking down.

“There is a reason behind the color of my hair,” Solskjaer mentioned of his gray locks, “and that’s just that we like to do it the hard way at Man United.”

When the ultimate whistle blew, it was little surprise, Bailly was so triumphant and embraced by Bruno Fernandes, who struck the winner from the penalty spot.

A league unbeaten run that’s been prolonged to 10 video games — that includes eight wins — has the document 20-time English champions well-placed to mount a problem for a primary title since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Solskjaer isn’t getting forward of himself, particularly after seeing it so laborious to guard this win after Anthony Martial’s first-half header was canceled out by Bertrand Traoré earlier than Fernandes transformed the penalty gained by Pogba.

“We’ve shown what we are capable of and we are improving at home as well,” mentioned Solskjaer, who was feeling the warmth when United was knocked out of the Champions League a month in the past. “This result is massive for the confidence and for the attitude.”

MOYES TRIUMPHS

The first supervisor to strive — and fail — to construct on Ferguson’s achievements at United was David Moyes, who was fired in 2014 after lower than a season as the Scot’s successor.

But he began 2021 in high-quality type, seeing West Ham rise to 10th place with a 1-Zero win over one other former membership: Everton. It’s so tight within the high half of the standings that West Ham is just three factors behind third-place Leicester and Everton.

After 4 earlier defeats as an opposition supervisor at Goodison Park since leaving for United in 2013, Moyes noticed Tomas Soucek rating a winner within the 88th minute. It was solely West Ham’s second win in seven matches.

“Coming here tonight and winning was really important,” mentioned Moyes, who’s a 12 months into his second stint in control of West Ham. “Everton are in a great moment, have been playing well, getting great results and had a chance to go second, so you couldn’t under-estimate what it would mean to Everton.”

It may have meant going inside some extent of Liverpool, however a four-game successful streak ended as an alternative for Carlo Ancelotti’s fourth-place aspect.

“Not a good performance, we didn’t deserve to win, we didn’t deserve to lose,” Ancelotti mentioned. “They had a lucky deflection, we lost the game and are disappointed and frustrated.”

Soucek scores 1st EPL aim of 2021 as West Ham beats Everton

Tomas Soucek scored the primary English Premier League aim of 2021 as West Ham beat Everton 1-Zero on Friday.

Soucek struck for the guests within the 86th minute to finish Everton’s streak of 4 league wins.

The Toffees remained on 29 factors with West Ham 10th on 26. Leader Liverpool has 33 factors.

With no followers allowed as a result of coronavirus restrictions, West Ham’s David Moyes registered his first win at Goodison Park as an opposition supervisor.

The Scot had misplaced all 4 earlier appearances by an mixture of 12-1 on a floor the place he had success till leaving Everton for Manchester United in 2013.

Having executed their major job of not conceding, the Hammers benefited from some success when Aaron Cresswell’s mis-hit shot deflected off Yerry Mina and into the trail of Soucek, who couldn’t miss.

“The players have played three games in six days and I don’t think you would have said there was any difference in how the fitness looked, or how they were,” Moyes mentioned. “So great credit to the players for the way they have gone about it. That is a big change in the mentality here at West Ham, and they are showing it in the games.”

The sport obtained off to an inauspicious begin for West Ham when goalkeeper Lucasz Fabianski was injured within the warmup and had to get replaced by Darren Rudolph earlier than kickoff.

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