The weird Manchester United concoction can work, sometimes: Premier League results

The 11th round of the Premier League season is split into two days this week, starting Saturday with a five-match set of fixtures.
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his second goal with Wayne Rooney on Sunday. Stu Forster / Getty Images / November 6, 2016
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his second goal with Wayne Rooney on Sunday. Stu Forster / Getty Images / November 6, 2016

Liverpool went top of the Premier League with a six-goal outburst on Sunday.

Harry Kane netted home a penalty early in the second half to draw 1-1 with Arsenal in the striker’s first game back from injury since September.

On Saturday, Middlesbrough turned a late turnover into a brilliant header from Marten de Roon in stoppage time to draw Manchester City 1-1, stunning the Etihad crowd on Saturday night. Meanwhile in Bournemouth, Sunderland got their first win of the season thanks to a penalty-kick goal by Jermain Defoe in the 74th minute to put them up 2-1 for good. In the nightcap, Chelsea destroyed Everton to go top of the table.

Stick with The National for updates from the remainder of Sunday’s Premier League fixtures.

SUNDAY SCORES

Swansea 1-3 Manchester United

Swansea: Van der Hoorn 69’

Man United: Pogba 15’, Ibrahimovic 21’, 33’

• One day, finally, everything was as it was supposed to be for Manchester United.

Paul Pogba, with all that magnificent talent bottled up inside, released at last a bit of it. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the most lethal of finishers seeming maybe now a spot less sharp at 35, scored twice. Even Wayne Rooney, of recent the misfit toy managers strain to find a use for, looked instead a bit like Wayne Rooney again.

But for Jose Mourinho missing from the touchline, this is how Manchester United were always supposed to look.

In an 18-minute first-half span, they dusted off Bob Bradley’s Swansea. Pogba, first, with the kind of wondergoal he always seems to promise yet hasn’t delivered with any especial frequency for United yet. The Frenchman picked out a stray ball just outside the area and drilled it mid-air past a quite athletic diving effort by Lukasz Fabianski. The shot had far, far too much sizzle on it for him.

Then Ibrahimovic, six minutes later, took a Rooney pass and fired from about 20 yards out, one of those low shots that seems to duck under legs and rumble past keepers only through the power of Zlatan.

And 12 minutes after that, Rooney – really! – charging up the middle of the pitch, breaking down the defence, and laying off to Ibrahimovic on his left for a few more steps, a defender to beat, and one please, don’t-even-try-to-stop-me rocket finish from about 10 yards.

For this sterling display, United are, well, they’re still only sixth. Three points from Spurs in fifth, six off the top-four and eight from the top.

United this season seem to veer every couple of weeks from looking like either the sum of all their princely talents or pathetically lost.

It can work, for Manchester United, this whole weird concoction of Mourinho and Pogba and Zlatan and Rooney and 18 other seemingly disparate ingredients. Their dissection of Swansea was proof enough of that.

The question was and is – can it work consistently? Who knows. We’ll see. It was fun for a day at least.

*Jonathan Raymond

Leicester 1-2 West Brom

Leicester: Slimani 55’

West Brom: Morrison 52’, Phillips 72’

• At least Leicester have the Champions League.

As strange and spectacular and unexpected and unsustainable as their title run last season was, it also didn’t necessarily seem like they would come crashing back to earth this year or anything.

They lost N’Golo Kante, yes, but they still had Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. They seemed to buy well in the summer. Islam Slimani, their goalscorer on Sunday, is evidence enough of that.

But 11 matches in and Leicester are worlds closer to the bottom three (two points) than they are to the top four (12 points).

They should be fine. There shouldn’t be any serious relegation battle for Claudio Ranieri in the months ahead. But midnight has struck on his Leicester, to one degree or another.

West Brom, for their part, managed by Tony Pulis, are 11th now, on 13 points, with three wins, four draws, four losses and a minus-3 goal difference. In related developments, the sun continues to rise in the East.

*Jonathan Raymond

Liverpool 6-1 Watford

Liverpool: Mane 27’, 60’; Coutinho 30’; Can 43’; Firmino 57; Wijnaldum 90+1’

Watford: Janmaat 75’

• Liverpool are top of the Premier League, after running riot in an a comprehensive display against Watford on Sunday.

Sadio Mane scored twice, including the opener from a skilful glancing header off a Philippe Coutinho cross. Coutinho himself then scored the second, and Jurgen Klopp’s men were off and running from there.

Emre Can added a third before the end of the half, and the Anfield hosts equalled their work in the second half, Georginio Wijnaldum putting the finishing touches on the display with an added-time strike.

If any team have looked like strong claimants to the title front-runners tag, it is probably this side. Watford entered the match ahead of Manchester United in the table, and while that may have been a little overly flattering, it speaks to a Watford team who are, at the least, solidly mid-table.

And Liverpool dismantled them with abandon.

*Jonathan Raymond

Hull City 2-1 Southampton

Hull: Snodgrass 61’; Dawson 63’

Southampton: Austin (pen) 6’

• What a weekend for the Premier League’s woebegone.

Hull, firmly among the trio including Swansea and Sunderland who have so far composed relegation territory for weeks, allowed a sixth-minute penalty on Sunday. Charlie Austin duly converted.

There should not have been, one would expect, much more to write after that. And yet what was probably most destined for a 1-0 defeat to a fine Saints side turned, improbably, on 61 minutes into a 1-1 draw as Robert Snodgrass struck true on a left-footed thump from straight on some 12 yards out.

Perhaps even less probably, Michael Dawson made it 2-1, two minutes later, popping Snodgrass’ well-placed free kick into the top left corner of the net past a leaping Fraser Forster who never had a chance.

And with that, Hull are just a little less firmly among that bottom three now, on 10 points, even with West Brom (playing Leicester) and a mere point from the safety that Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and West Ham all enjoy on 11.

A Sunderland and Hull win in the same weekend. Wild.

*Jonathan Raymond

Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham

Arsenal: Kevin Wimmer (42’ OG)

Tottenham: Harry Kane (51’ PEN)

• Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane returned from injury to earn his side a 1-1 draw in the north London derby and deny Arsenal leadership of the Premier League on Sunday.

Kane equalised from the penalty spot shortly after half-time after defender Kevin Wimmer’s own goal had given Arsenal the lead shortly before the interval.

Tottenham remain unbeaten in the Premier League, although winless is seven games, while Arsenal are unbeaten in all competitions since the opening day of the season.

Both sides struck the woodwork, Theo Walcott for Arsenal before half-time and Christian Eriksen late on for Spurs.

Arsenal remain third with 24 points, one behind leaders Chelsea. Tottenham are fifth on 21.

SATURDAY SCORES

Chelsea 5-0 Everton | In pictures

Chelsea: Eden Hazard (19’, 56’), Marcos Alonso (20’), Diego Costa (42’), Pedro (65’)

• Two goals from Hazard inspired Chelsea to a ruthless 5-0 rout of Everton on Saturday that sent Antonio Conte’s resurgent Blues to the top of the Premier League table.

The Belgian scored on 19 and 56 minutes, the second after a delightful back-heel from Pedro, as Chelsea blew away the visitors with one of the season’s standout performances that confirmed Chelsea as genuine title contenders.

Pedro was equally impressive, setting up Marcos Alonso for Chelsea’s second with a ball across the area on 20 minutes, and rounding off the romp with their fifth after Hazard’s shot was blocked.

Diego Costa also got on the scoresheet just before half-time with a fierce shot past Everton keeper Maarten Stekelenburg. The goal was the Spanish international’s 12th of the season.

* Reuters

Manchester City 1-1 Middlesbrough | In pictures

City: Sergio Aguero (43’)

Boro: Marten de Roon (90’+1’)

• De Roon headed a late equaliser as Middlesbrough snatched a 1-1 draw against Manchester City in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Aguero’s 150th City goal just before half-time looked like earning the hosts another three points but Pep Guardiola’s team paid the price for failing to kill off the game.

City had 18 shots to Middlesbrough’s none in the first half but the team’s intensity dropped after the break and it was caught out when De Roon headed in Stewart Downing’s cross in stoppage time.

Before that, Boro created few clear-cut opportunities but it was never out of the game as the effort required to beat Barcelona on Tuesday caught up with City.

• Richard Jolly: Familiar frustration for City

*Kevin Jeffers

Bournemouth 1-2 Sunderland

Bournemouth: Dan Gosling (11’)

Sunderland: Victor Anichebe (33’), Jermain Defoe (74’ PEN)

• Anichebe inspired bottom-place Sunderland to its first success in the English Premier League, scoring the opener and winning a penalty.

Anichebe, whose only notable contribution this term had been a Twitter gaffe after the recent defeat at West Ham, was handed a first league start by under-pressure manager David Moyes.

And the striker responded with his first goal in 18 months, to cancel out Dan Gosling’s opener, before winning the penalty which Jermain Defoe dispatched to seal a 2-1 victory.

The win was all the more remarkable given Sunderland’s Steven Pienaar was sent off with half an hour to go for a challenge on Junior Stanislas.

*Kevin Jeffers

Burnley 3-2 Crystal Palace

Burnley: Sam Vokes (2’), Johann Gudmundsson (14’), Ashley Barnes (90’+4’)

Palace: Connor Wickham (60’), Christian Benteke (81’ PEN)

• Ashley Barnes pounced four minutes into stoppage time to give Burnley a 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace, lifting the promoted club to ninth in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Burnley threw away a two-goal lead before the substitute Barnes netted the winner after meeting a cross from Johann Gudmundsson.

Sam Vokes put Burnley ahead inside two minutes and Berg Gudmundsson doubled the lead in the 14th.

Connor Wickham reduced the deficit with his first touch after replacing Jason Puncheon on the hour, and Christian Benteke looked to have sealed the comeback.

But Barnes completed the second straight Turf Moor late show for Sean Dyche’s side after Scott Arfield struck a last-minute winner against Everton two weeks ago.

Palace was condemned to a fourth straight loss.

*Kevin Jeffers

West Ham United 1-1 Stoke City

West Ham: Glenn Whelan (65’ OG)

Stoke: Bojan Krkic (75’)

• West Ham continued its unstable start to life at the London Stadium as Stoke came from behind to earn the draw.

Crowd trouble has marred the club’s move to the 2012 Olympic venue, but it was on-field problems that left home fans frustrated this time.

Extra security measures contained any drama off the field, but the visitors’ resilience ensured it wasn’t a perfect afternoon for West Ham.

Michail Antonio looked to have set Slaven Bilic’s side on its way to victory as he headed Dimitri Payet’s cross in the 65th, with the ball hitting Stoke’s Glenn Whelan before going into the net.

But a goalkeeping error from Adrian allowed Stoke back into the game just 10 minutes later.

The West Ham stopper came needlessly charging off his line, allowing Jonathan Walters to centre for Bojan Krkic to volley into an empty net.

* Associated Press

SUNDAY FIXTURES

• Swansea City v Manchester United, 7pm

• Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, 8.30pm

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Published: November 5, 2016 04:00 AM

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