In-form Marcus Rashford stepped off the bench to earn Manchester United a 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, a win that moved Erik ten Hag’s side into the Premier League top four.
Later, Manchester City were held 1-1 at home by Everton. Erling Haaland put the defending champions ahead in the 24th minute, but Demarai Gray equalised in the 64th. It was Everton’s only shot on target but an important one for the struggling club.
Newcastle United missed the chance to close the gap to leaders Arsenal at the top after they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Leeds United.
United manager Ten Hag left the club’s top goalscorer on the bench from the start due to an “internal disciplinary issue”, and saw his team struggle to break down Wolves in the opening period, youngster Alejandro Garnacho wasting the visitors’ best chance.
Rashford came on for the second half to give United more cutting edge in attack, showing great strength and composure to hold off his marker and fire the winner 14 minutes from time.
The England forward had another ruled out for handball late on, but it mattered little as United saw out their third league win in a row to move above Tottenham Hotspur, who play Aston Villa on New Year’s Day, and into fourth.
Fresh from their biggest league win of the season last time out — a 3-0 success over Nottingham Forest — United did not make the most of their first-half opportunities at Molineux.
Casemiro’s header was deflected over early on, before Garnacho was denied by a superb save from home goalkeeper Jose Sa after Nelson Semedo’s defensive error.
Two own goals
Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp said he had nothing but sympathy for Leicester City defender Wout Faes who had a nightmare in defence when the Belgian’s two own goals gave the Anfield club a 2-1 victory on Friday.
Faes miscued a clearance which looped over the keeper and into his own goal to give Liverpool an equaliser before scoring another comical own goal at the stroke of half-time when he failed to react in time as the ball came off the post. The two own goals consigned Leicester to a second defeat in as many games despite taking the lead in the fourth minute.
“I had that once in my career where a player scored two own goals and I really feel for him,” Klopp said.
“The first one was absolutely unlucky. How can it be more unlucky? Then the second one, if you play football, you go full speed, you expect the ball to go in. That’s what your brain tells you and when it hits the post, you cannot react. I feel sympathy.”
Leicester remained in 13th place as a result but manager Rodgers refused to pin the blame on Faes, saying the 24-year-old was rusty having not played a single minute at the World Cup in Qatar.
⚫ Man City 1 Everton 1
⚫ Newcastle 0 Leeds 0
⚫ Fulham 2 Southampton 1
⚫ Bournemouth 0 Palace 2
⚫ Liverpool 2 Leicester 1