Manchester United moved up to fifth place temporarily in the Premier League table with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Watford. Juan Mata and Anthony Martial scored in each half to put the Red Devils in full control, and despite some bright passages of play from the Hornets, it was unlikely they would come away with anything.
The first passages of play were very open, both teams managing good chances; Zarate and Holebas forced De Gea into saves, and Gomes pushed Pogba’s long-range drive wide. Mata put the ball into the back of the net, but saw the strike ruled out as the free-kick which led to the goal was adjudged to have been taken too quickly.
Mkhitaryan fired over, and Ibrahimovic saw a point-blank header saved, but Mata finally broke the deadlock, firing Martial’s cut-back home on the half-hour mark. The hosts pressed for a second for the remainder of the half, but it wasn’t until the 60th minute that Martial finished off a fantastic move to double the lead. The Hornets continued to press for at least one goal, and came close on a few occasions, but United’s win was never under threat as they finally managed to move up the table – temporarily at least.
Stoke City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Joe Allen’s goal was enough for Stoke to beat Crystal Palace and ensure the Eagles remain stuck in the relegation places. A listless opening half was broken up by two clear goalscoring chances for the hosts.
Firstly, Allen headed over from six yards from Ramadan’s cross when the Potters should have taken the lead, before Townsend cleared Martins Indi’s header off the line just before half-time. Palace’s first clear opportunity came just after the break, Martins Indi getting to the ball first with Benteke waiting to tap home.
But it was Stoke who took the lead, Allen making up for his earlier miss by perfectly slotting a first-time finish into the back of the net after great work from Arnautovic and Ramadan. Palace failed to seriously threaten for the remainder of the game – Tomkins missing their best chance from inside the area – and it was clear it was not the Eagles’ day when Townsend sent a free-kick from a good location ballooning into the crowd.
Sunderland 0-4 Southampton
Sunderland failed to build on their impressive win over Crystal Palace last week, losing 2-0 at home to Southampton. The Black Cats were dominating the opening stages, but failing to convert a number of chances; Defoe missing the biggest opening from close range. And their profligacy came back to haunt them on the half-hour mark, Gabbiadini deflecting Bertrand’s cross into the back of the net to give the Saints the lead.
The Italian added his second on the cusp of half-time, turning beautifully in the area and firing past Mannone to put the visitors in full control. Gabbiadini almost completed his hat-trick just after the restart, but saw his shot saved by Mannone, whilst Long missed a header. N’Dong registered Sunderland’s first shot on target midway through the second half, and that characterised a poor showing from David Moyes’ men, with Long adding Southampton’s third and fourth in the dying stages.
West Ham United 2-2 West Bromwich Albion
Gareth McAuley scored a late equaliser for West Brom as they held West Ham to a 2-2 draw at the London Stadium. The defender headed Chris Brunt’s header home after Manuel Lanzini had seemingly won the game for the Hammers; Sofiane Feghouli had earlier cancelled out Nacer Chadli’s opening goal.
The Baggies took the lead all too easily, Chadli beating Kouyate on the edge of the box and firing through Randolph’s legs. The Hammers should have equalised, but had a goal disallowed for a foul on Foster when he was taken down by his own player, and they then saw a penalty appeal turned down. But Slaven Bilic’s men finally managed to breach the Baggies’ defence when Feghouli tapped home the rebound after Snodgrass smashed a strike against the crossbar.
And with less than five minutes remaining, Lanzini thundered home from 25-yards as the Hammers thought they had won the game. But there was time enough for McAuley to power a header into the back of the net and share the spoils.
Middlesbrough 0-0 Everton
The Riverside played host to a bore draw on Saturday afternoon with Middlesbrough and Everton sharing the spoils after a goalless 90 minutes.
The Toffees had the best chances, but Victor Valdes put in a top class display to deny their goalscoring opportunities. Adama Traore was a constant threat, testing Joel Robles on occasion, with Gibson and Gestede also missing good chances, but the scoreline was a fair one when the final whistle was blown.