MANCHESTER, October 20: Manchester United dealt a blow to Tottenham’s Premier League title aspirations with a dominant 2-0 win at Old Trafford, while Liverpool’s upturn continued with a 1-0 victory over West Ham on Wednesday.
Chelsea’s winning run came to an end in a 0-0 draw at Brentford, which allowed Newcastle to close within two points of the top four with a 1-0 win over Everton.
United are now just one point off the Champions League places and could leapfrog Chelsea when the sides meet at Stamford Bridge on Saturday after their most impressive display under Erik ten Hag.
“We had some more really good performances like Liverpool and Arsenal but this was the game from start to the end we were really good,” said Ten Hag. “I told the team it was very enjoyable to watch.”
The Red Devils had 28 shots on goal against a Tottenham side that been beaten only once in their opening 10 league games of the season.
Signs of progress for United since losing their opening two games of the campaign have been hampered by a lack of killer instinct up front.
But they finally got their rewards in front of a delighted full house when Fred’s deflected effort found the bottom corner two minutes into the second half.
Bruno Fernandes then doubled United’s lead with his first club goal since August.
Tottenham could have moved to within a point of leaders Arsenal with victory, but their performance had Antonio Conte questioning whether they can compete for the title.
“I think we need time,” said the Italian. “In only 10 or 11 months you cannot pass from ninth place to become, the year after, a title contender. Especially when you finished 20 points less last season than the monsters in England.”
Darwin Nunez has endured a difficult start to life at Liverpool, but the Uruguayan was the match winner as Jurgen Klopp’s men moved up to seventh.
Nunez powered Kostas Tsimikas’ cross into the far corner for the game’s only goal on 22 minutes.
“He was outstanding,” said Klopp. “He is a really big talent and we’re really excited about him.”
However, the Reds had Alisson Becker to thank for the three points as the Brazilian saved Jarrod Bowen’s penalty in first-half stoppage time.
Alisson was needed once more to deny Tomas Soucek from point-blank range late on as Liverpool held out.
Chelsea missed the chance to close within five points of the top as the in-form Blues were blunted by Brentford.
Graham Potter is still to experience defeat as Chelsea boss, but he has goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to thank for maintaining that record.
The Spaniard is finally delivering on his tag as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper following a £72 million move from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 as he twice denied Ivan Toney a winner for Brentford.
“Every player needs confidence, this push,” said Kepa. “For the goalkeepers it is even more important.”
Newcastle continued their impressive form as Miguel Almiron’s stunning strike was enough to see off Everton at St. James’ Park.
A third consecutive defeat leaves the Toffees just a point above the relegation zone.
Bournemouth’s six-game unbeaten run under caretaker boss Gary O’Neil came to an end as Che Adams’ seventh-minute strike earned a much-needed 1-0 win for under pressure Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
The Saints’ first win in six lifts them up to 14th, but still only two points clear of the bottom three.
Brentford hold Chelsea to 0-0 draw
Lively Brentford earned a point at home against powerful neighbours Chelsea on Wednesday, ending the visitors’ four-game Premier League winning run in a goalless London derby with plenty of enterprise but few chances.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney, bidding for inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad, kept the Chelsea defence busy and had his best opportunity in the ninth minute, forcing Kepa Arrizabalaga into a leaping save to tip the ball over.
Winger Bryan Mbeumo should have put Brentford ahead early in the second half but his point-blank shot went straight to the in-form Chelsea keeper.
At the other end the visitors’ attacking efforts were limited and lukewarm. David Raya saved a skidding shot from Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta in the first half and batted away an on-target effort from Kai Havertz in the 69th minute.
Graham Potter’s side finished strongly, substitute Christian Pulisic forcing Raya into a stinging save in the last five minutes, but Brentford held on for the draw. (AFP/Agencies)