…as Man City beat Villa
Paul Pogba scored a superb winner as Manchester United reclaimed top spot in the Premier League by coming from behind for a club-record equalling away win at Fulham.
In what is becoming a familiar pattern for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on the road this season, they fell behind, with Ademola Lookman beating the offside trap before firing in an angled drive.
But for the seventh time away from Old Trafford in 2020-21, United found a winning response, courtesy of a gift from their opponents and a bit of magic from their French midfielder.
Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola has been a good addition for the Cottagers but in dropping Bruno Fernandes’ cross at the feet of Edinson Cavani, he gifted his former Paris St-Germain team-mate the simplest of equalisers.
And on the hour mark, Pogba stepped up to decide the contest, firing a superb angled drive across the diving Areola and into the far corner from 20 yards.
The win extends United’s unbeaten run away from home in the league to 17 games and more importantly takes them to 40 points, two more than both Leicester and Manchester City, who had briefly taken top spot from the Foxes with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Wednesday.
Fulham remain in the bottom three, four points behind 17th-placed Burnley.
And late goals from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan ended Aston Villa’s resistance as Manchester City moved top of the Premier League for the first time this season, for a few hours at least, with a hard-earned victory.
Pep Guardiola’s side will be knocked off the summit later on Wednesday if Manchester United beat Fulham, but the determination they showed to claim their sixth successive league win underlined that they are here to stay in this title race.
Villa’s first team, playing their first game since New Year’s Day because of a coronavirus outbreak at the club, showed no after-effects of their 19-day hiatus and produced a dogged defensive display, reports the BBC.
They held out until the 79th minute, when Rodri controversially stole the ball off Tyrone Mings and fed Bernardo, who brilliantly fired into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Rodri was offside before he returned to an onside position to challenge Mings and Villa manager Dean Smith was sent off for his protests.
It meant he was not there to see Gundogan make sure of the points from the spot soon afterwards after Matty Cash handled a Gabriel Jesus header, in what was a far more straightforward decision for referee Jon Moss.
Man City 2 – 0 Aston Villa
Fulham 1 – 2 Man United