LONDON: Manchester City moved six points clear at the top of the Premier League but only after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over stubborn Everton at Goodison Park.
Frank Lampard’s side defended resolutely for more than 80 minutes but a deflection to a Bernardo Silva cross left Michael Keane flat-footed and Phil Foden pounced on the Everton defender’s lack of control to finish from close range.
Moments later there was controversy when the ball appeared to spin up and hit Rodri on the arm as he went to clear in the box, but after a lengthy VAR check no penalty was given.
City held on to go six points clear of Liverpool, who have a game in hand but are not playing in the league this weekend as they face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday. Defeat leaves Everton just one point above the relegation zone.
Ukraine internationals Vitaliy Mykolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko were unused substitutes for Everton and City respectively, with both sets of players showing their solidarity prior to kick-off.
Manchester United’s bid for a top-four Premier League finish suffered a setback as they were held to a 0-0 draw by relegation-threatened Watford at Old Trafford.
United bossed possession but were left ruing missed chances after a frustrating outing that included Cristiano Ronaldo hitting a post and Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba passing up opportunities, plus some good work from Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster and his team-mates.
Ralf Rangnick’s fourth-placed side are now two points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal having played three games more.
Second-bottom Watford, who memorably beat United 4-1 in the reverse fixture in November that proved to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last match in charge of the Red Devils, are three points from safety.
They have picked up five points from six games following Roy Hodgson’s appointment as successor to Claudio Ranieri earlier this month, including their first win since that 4-1 game.
Christian Eriksen completed his emotional return to football as he made his Brentford debut as a second-half substitute against Newcastle – but the visitors took the Premier League points with a 2-0 win.
The former Tottenham and Inter Milan midfielder received a huge ovation as he came off the bench in the 52nd minute, 259 days after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch during Denmark’s Euro 2020 match against Finland.
The 30-year-old was unable to prevent Brentford being dragged further into the relegation battle following a 2-0 defeat.
But the very fact Eriksen, who revealed he had “died for five minutes” at the Parken Stadion, stepped on the pitch at all was reason enough to celebrate.
Eriksen, who joined Brentford as a free agent in January, is the first Premier League footballer to play fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator.
There was a remarkable symmetry in the fact he came on as a substitute for Mathias Jensen, the Denmark team-mate who replaced Eriksen when he left the field stricken on that harrowing day in June last year.
Nonetheless, the Bees are now in a serious relegation fight after being leapfrogged by their victors.
Draw specialists Crystal Palace and Burnley could not be separated after Luka Milivojevic’s own goal cancelled out an early opener from Jeffrey Schlupp for the hosts at Selhurst Park.
The 1-1 draw made it 12 apiece for the two sides in the Premier League this season and despite a third game unbeaten, Sean Dyche’s visitors stay in the relegation zone.
Palace, who saw captain Milivojevic slide into his own net after 40 seconds of the second half, remain 11th but with a nine-point advantage over their 18th-placed opponents following a predictable draw.
Kick-off at Brighton was delayed by 30 minutes due to heavy traffic around the AMEX Stadium, and things got little better for the locals once it did get under way as Aston Villa eased to a 2-0 win.
Matty Cash put the visitors ahead in the 17th minute with a low shot that went in off the post, with the Poland defender then booked for removing his shirt to reveal a message in support of international team-mate and Dynamo Kiev defender Tomasz Kedziora.
Villa then doubled their advantage in the 68th minute when Ollie Watkins fired beyond Robert Sanchez.