Young rescues Man United, Chelsea preserve lead
Ashley Young bolstered Manchester United’s bid for a Premier League top-four place with an 89th-minute winner at Newcastle United on Wednesday, while leaders Chelsea preserved their five-point lead.
Young’s strike, after a mistake by Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul, gave Louis van Gaal’s side a 1-0 win that enabled them to maintain a two-point advantage over in-form Liverpool, who won 2-0 at home to Burnley.
Chelsea kept their advantage at the summit intact by winning 1-0 at West Ham United, while second-place Manchester City, who have played a game more than the leaders, beat Leicester City 2-0.
Meanwhile, Swansea City striker Bafetimbi Gomis was said to be “fine” despite being stretchered off after collapsing on the pitch in the early stages of his side’s 3-2 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
The major talking point of the first half at St James’ Park was a clash between Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse and United defender Jonny Evans that may prompt disciplinary action from the Football Association.
Evans seemed to spit towards the floor after a tussle with Cisse, who appeared to react by spitting at the Northern Irishman’s neck, but the referee did not take action.
United, who started with Marouane Fellaini in place of Radamel Falcao, were indebted to goalkeeper David de Gea for thwarting Emmanuel Riviere from close range early in the second period.
Krul then produced a double save to deny Fellaini and Young, but the United winger had the last laugh when he tucked home the winner after Krul kicked the ball straight to him under pressure from Wayne Rooney.
Fresh from victory over Tottenham in Sunday’s League Cup final, Chelsea took a step closer to the league title with victory at West Ham, who have now gone six games without a league win.
The impressive Eden Hazard claimed the game’s only goal in the 22nd minute with a header from a right-wing cross by Ramires, who later hit the post.
Champions City preserved the status quo at the top with a home victory over Leicester that followed painful consecutive defeats by Barcelona and Liverpool.
City, who dropped out-of-form captain Vincent Kompany, took the lead in first-half stoppage time when David Silva followed in to score after he and Wilfried Bony had seen shots blocked.
James Milner sealed victory two minutes from time by smashing home a cross from Jesus Navas.
Liverpool extended their unbeaten run to 11 matches by overcoming second-bottom Burnley 2-0, which took Brendan Rodgers’s side back above Southampton and into fifth place.
Jordan Henderson followed up his stunning goal from Sunday’s 2-1 defeat of City with a 29th-minute opener from the edge of the box and then teed up Daniel Sturridge for a 51st-minute header.
Gomis’s dramatic exit caused a moment of grave concern as Spurs reacted to their League Cup final defeat by edging Swansea 3-2 at White Hart Lane.
The Frenchman collapsed shortly after Nacer Chadli had volleyed Spurs ahead in the seventh minute and had to be given oxygen before being taken off on a stretcher.
The 29-year-old had fainted on three occasions during his time with previous club Lyon due to a vasovagal condition and a Swansea spokesperson later said that he was “fine”.
Ki Sung-yueng equalised for Swansea in the 19th minute, but second-half goals from Ryan Mason and Andros Townsend were enough to give Spurs the win despite a late effort from Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Meanwhile, Victor Moses and Mame Biram Diouf scored as Stoke City beat Everton 2-0.