Ashley Young bolstered Manchester United’s bid for a Premier League top-four place with an 89th-minute winner at Newcastle United on Wednesday, while leaders Chelsea preserved their five-point lead.
Young’s strike, after a mistake by Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul, gave Louis van Gaal’s side a 1-0 win that enabled them to maintain a two-point advantage over in-form Liverpool, who won 2-0 at home to Burnley.
Chelsea kept their lead intact by winning 1-0 at West Ham United, while second-place Manchester City, who have played a game more than the leaders, beat Leicester City 2-0.
Meanwhile, Swansea City striker Bafetimbi Gomis was said to be “fine” despite being stretchered off after collapsing on the pitch in the early stages of his side’s 3-2 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
The major talking point of the first half at St James’ Park was a clash between Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse and United defender Jonny Evans that may prompt disciplinary action from the FootballAssociation.
Evans seemed to spit towards the floor after a tussle with Cisse, who appeared to react by spitting at the Northern Irishman’s neck, but referee Anthony Taylor did not take action.
United, who started with Marouane Fellaini in place of Radamel Falcao, were indebted to goalkeeper David de Gea for thwarting Emmanuel Riviere from close range early in the second period.
Krul then produced a double save to deny Fellaini and Young, but the United winger had the last laugh when he tucked home the winner after Krul kicked the ball straight to him under pressure from Wayne Rooney.
“I think we have dominated for 90 minutes,” said Van Gaal.
“It was maybe our best match of the season, especially in an away match. We deserved the victory.”
– Hazard inspires Chelsea –
Fresh from victory over Tottenham in Sunday’sLeague Cup final, Chelsea took a step closer to the league title with a win at West Ham, who have now gone six games without a league success.
The impressive Eden Hazard claimed the game’s only goal in the 22nd minute with a header from a right-wing cross by Ramires, who later hit the post.
“They are the best at the way they play,” said Mourinho of West Ham.
“It is not just to play football — the pressure, the tension and the emotion. My players were fantastic. We couldn’t kill the game and these three points are massive for us.”
Champions City preserved the status quo at the top with a home victory over bottom club Leicester that followed painful consecutive defeats by Barcelona and Liverpool.
City, who dropped out-of-form captain Vincent Kompany, took the lead in first-half stoppage time when David Silva followed in to score after he and Wilfried Bony had seen shots blocked.
James Milner sealed victory two minutes from time by smashing home a cross from Jesus Navas.
Third-place Arsenal also won, prevailing 2-1 at third-bottom Queens Park Rangers to remain four points below City.
Olivier Giroud poked home a cross from Kieran Gibbs in the 64th minute and Alexis Sanchez doubled Arsenal’s lead with a solo effort five minutes later — his first goal in eight games — before Charlie Austin replied for QPR.
– Gomis scare –
Liverpool extended their unbeaten run to 11 matches by overcoming second-bottom Burnley 2-0, which took Brendan Rodgers’s side back above Southampton and into fifth place.
Jordan Henderson followed up his stunning goal from Sunday’s 2-1 defeat of City with a 29th-minute opener from the edge of the box and then teed up Daniel Sturridge for a 51st-minute header.
Gomis’s dramatic collapse caused a moment of grave concern as Spurs reacted to their League Cup final defeat by edging Swansea 3-2 at White Hart Lane.
The Frenchman fell to the ground shortly after Nacer Chadli had volleyed Spurs ahead in the seventh minute and had to be given oxygen before being carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital.
The 29-year-old had fainted on three occasions during his time with previous club Lyon due to a vasovagal condition and manager Garry Monk allayed fears about his health after the game.
“Bafetimbi Gomis is fine. He went to hospital as a precaution, but he is fine. That’s the main thing,” Monk said.
“We understand his history. He has had all the tests, but it’s just part of life for him.”
Ki Sung-yueng equalised for Swansea in the 19th minute, but second-half goals from Ryan Mason and Andros Townsend were enough to give Spurs the win despite a late effort from Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Meanwhile, Victor Moses and Mame Biram Diouf scored as Stoke City beat Everton 2-0. – Agence France-Presse