Premier League: Weekly Round-up: Matchday 18 of 38
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Taking over from sacked United boss Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got off to a dream start when a recharged Red Devils trounced Cardiff City 1-5 in an away Premier league clash.
Putting aside any doubts regarding the selection of Paul Pogba the newly-appointed Danish coach chose to include the French international in his starting line-up for Saturday evening's game. Pogba was joined by fellow country-mate Anthony Martial, who made his 100th Premier League appearance and marked the occasion with a 41st minute goal.
United's attacking intent seemed apparent as the forward trio of Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard looked in full flow, the latter two getting goals in the 3rd, 57th and 90th minute of play. But United's defensive frailties seemed to re-appear before half-time with Rashford, crumbling to some aggressive Cardiff pressure inside the box and hand-balled carelessly, gifting the rivals the penalty in the 38th minute. But it was certainly one of United's most convincing performances in a long time, giving hopes to fans going ahead.
This was the first time United scored five goals in a Premier League game since Sir Alex Ferguson's last game in charge – a 5-5 draw with West Brom way back in May 2013.
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The Red Devils find themselves in the 6th spot on the EPL table with 29 points after the win at Cardiff, but still are a distant 8 behind 5th placed Arsenal's 37.
Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the season at home in Stamford Bridge when they were stunned by Leicester City 0-1 courtesy a brilliant goal from Jamie Vardy in the 51st minute.
The hosts had their best chance to equalize when Marcos Alonso struck the post with only the keeper to beat just 2 minutes before the final whistle.
The Blues are fortunate to be in the Top four even after Saturday's home defeat, having tied on equal points with Arsenal at 37 points but a notch above on the table thanks to better goal difference than the Gunners.
Leicester stay put in the top half, positioned at 9th with 25 points.
Meanwhile Tottenham edged closer to within 2 points of 2nd placed Manchester City when they made short work of Everton away at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Marco Silva's Everton seemed to assert their home advantage in the early stages of the game with Theo Walcott opening the account for the hosts in the 21st minute, sweeping home a low cross from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
But a mix-up between Kurt Zouma and Jordan Pickford allowed Son Heung-min to produce the equalizer only six minutes later.
Goals came in quick succession with Del Alli and Harry Kane finding the back of the net in the 35th and 41st minutes of play.
Christian Eriksen increased the lead further to 1-4 with a first-time shot immediately after the interval.
By the time the game ended, all of Tottenham's Fab 4 had scored with Son Heung-min and Kane helping themselves to a couple each.
Everton after the 2-6 pummeling have crashed out of the Top 8 to disappointing 11th with 24 points and have above them teams like Wolverhampton on the 10th (25 points), Leicester City (9th), Bournemouth (8th) and Watford (7th).
The week had even more surprises in store when bottom-half side Crystal Place stunned reigning champions Manchester City.
The hosts started in their customary dominant fashion with IlkayGundogan opening the scoring with a header in the 27th minute.
The visitors equalized when Jeffrey Schlupp angled in a low drive to the bottom corner of the net from a James McArthur pass in the edge of the area. That was 1-1 in the 33rd minute. Andros Townsend smashed one to the top corner with a sublime 30-yard volley only 2 minutes later to give Roy Hodgson's men the lead.
The post-interval spell begun with Kyle Walker fouling Max Meyer as he tried to clear a ball and a penalty was awarded.
Luka Milivojevic sent Ederson the wrong way with his conversion in the 51st minute.
The introduction of Kevin De Bruyne by Pep Guardiola with an hour of play gone, had a limited effect as the best the Belgian could do was reduce the lead to 2-3 with a late strike in the 85th minute.
Coach Hodgson's Palace caused the biggest shock of the 2018-19 Premier League season by claiming their first win at City in exactly 28 years and end the defending champions' 100 per cent record at the Etihad.
Liverpool extended their lead over Manchester City to 4 points when they humbled Wolverhampton 0-2 away at the Molineux Stadium.
Jurgen Klopp's Reds have become the only Premier League team to have maintained an undefeated run in the current season garnering 48 points in the process from their 18 outings.
Mohamed Salah took his tally of goals to 11 (next only to Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 12) when he struck the opener in the Wolves game.
The Wolves who have lost each of their past four Premier League matches against Liverpool managed to cling on to a place in the Top half after Saturday's loss.
Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's double strike helped Arsenal beat Burnley 3-1 but the Gunners have not been able to break into the Top Four despite being on equal points with fourth-placed Chelsea on 37.
Even after Saturday's home loss to Leicester, Maurizio Sarri's Blues are ahead of their 5th placed North London rivals by virtue of a better goal difference.
West Ham United's 4-match resurgence ran into rough weather when they were bested 0-2 by Watford at the Vicarage Road on Saturday.
A penalty by Troy Deeney in the 30th and a late 87th minute strike by Gerard Deulofeu ensured the Hornets' place in the Top 8 of the table with 27 points.
West Ham moved a notch below to the 12th but on equal points with a struggling 11th placed Everton and an identical goal difference to boot.
Southampton managed to worm their way out of relegation territory with an emphatic 1-3 win over Huddersfield Town away at Kirklees Stadium.
The Saints now have moved a couple of places up to the 16th with 15 points, just one ahead of 17th placed Cardiff City' 14. David Wagner's Terriers languish at the 19th after Saturday's home defeat to Southampton.
Fulham remain at the bottom of the heap on the 20th after playing out a goal-less away draw against Newcastle who seem to be hovering around the 15th spot for almost a month now.