The Premier League is turning into a two-horse race with Manchester City and Liverpool well clear of the chasing pack after Chelsea were beaten 2-1 away at Wolves last night.
The result - and Tottenham’s 3-1 defeat of Southampton - means the Blues slip to fourth, two points behind their London rivals, eight behind Liverpool and ten shy of league leaders City.
Only a superior goal difference keeps Chelsea above Arsenal, who earned a point at Old Trafford in a rumbustious 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
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Five into four
The Gunners are fifth on 31 points and the eight-point difference between them and Everton suggest that the second half of the season will be a scrap between two teams for the title and three for the two remaining Champions League places.
That’s a depressing analysis for United fans, whose team lie eighth, but such are the diminished expectations these days at Old Trafford that a point against an Arsenal side still in transition was greeted with relief. Praising his side’s “great spirit”, United boss Jose Mourinho said “it was a credit to the team”.
Back four blunder
Twice United came from behind in a physical encounter, first after David de Gea had fumbled Shkodran Mustafi’s header over his line on 26 minutes and then in the second-half when Alexandre Lacazette bundled the ball into the net.
On both occasions United’s response was rapid (aided by poor Arsenal defending) with Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard the scorers.
“We need to improve defensively,” conceded Arsenal manager Unai Emery, whose plans weren’t helped by an early injury to Rob Holding.
“We perhaps lost a bit of control there but we created lots of chances after 2-2 and I am very proud of our performance. We wanted to win but we can feel this point is good.”
Wolves feast on Chelsea
Arsenal’s point at Old Trafford was more than Chelsea managed at Molineux as Wolves celebrated their first league win in seven matches.
Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota were the heroes for the hosts, their second-half goals cancelling out an own goal from Conor Coady on 18 minutes.
“It was fantastic work from the boys,” said Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, whose side are now 12th, four points behind Manchester United.
“The only way to play these teams is you have to run more than them and when you have your chances take them. We have to maintain these standards.”
Reds’ blushes spared
Liverpool were given a shock at Burnley when they went behind to Jack Cork’s goal on 54 minutes. But Jurgen Klopp’s men showed their mettle in fighting back to win 3-1 and keep the pressure on leaders Manchester City.
James Milner, Firmino and Xherdan Shaqiri scored the goals to maintain Liverpool’s best start to a league season in 126 years.
“The second half was a perfect reaction,” said Klopp, whose side showed seven changes to the team that beat Everton 1-0 on Sunday. “I was really happy we could just adjust a few tactical things [at half-time]. I shouted a lot in the first half but I wasn’t angry. I knew it could be a bit rusty, that’s how it is with a lot of changes.”
Tottenham bounce back
Stalking Liverpool are Spurs, who recovered from the disappointment of losing the derby to Arsenal by beating Southampton 3-1 thanks to goals from Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min.
The result was a sobering evening for Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has replaced Mark Hughes as Southampton manager. The Austrian must now find a way to lift the Saints out of the relegation zone.
However, the Wembley clash was far more encouraging for Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who said: “Job done and I’m happy with the three points.”
In other results Everton were held 1-1 at home to Newcastle and Fulham and Leicester played out the same result at Craven Cottage. The 1-1 draw leaves Fulham bottom on nine points, the same number as Burnley and Southampton.
Premier League results and fixtures
Results Wednesday 5 December
- Burnley 1 Liverpool 3
- Everton 1 Newcastle United 1
- Fulham 1 Leicester City 1
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Chelsea 1
- Manchester United 2 Arsenal 2
- Tottenham Hotspur 3 Southampton 1
Fixtures Saturday 8 December (3pm unless stated)
- AFC Bournemouth vs. Liverpool (12.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Arsenal vs. Huddersfield Town
- Burnley vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
- Cardiff City vs. Southampton
- Manchester United vs. Fulham
- West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace
- Chelsea vs. Manchester City (5.30pm, live on BT Sport)
- Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (7.45pm, live on BT Sport)
Sunday 9 December
- Newcastle United vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (4pm, live on Sky Sports)
Monday 10 December
- Everton vs. Watford (8pm, live on Sky Sports)
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