LONDON: Six months after his Tottenham exit, Harry Redknapp returned to the Premier League to see his new club, bottom-of-the-table Queens Park Rangers, lose 3-1 at Manchester United.
Redknapp, who forced QPR’s hand with talk of an interest in the Ukraine national team job, agreed a two-and-a-half year contract before the visit to Old Trafford though he took no part in team preparations.
QPR had been without a win this season under Mark Hughes who was sacked on Friday. They took a surprise 52nd-minute lead through Jamie Mackie but United hit back with goals from Jonny Evans (64 minutes), Duncan Fletcher (68) and ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez (72).
Before the game Redknapp, whose White Hart Lane departure remains a matter of regret for many Spurs fans, said: “I’m delighted to be back in the managerial hot-seat at QPR. When I spoke to the shareholders and they told me about their plans I knew this was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“There’s no doubt there’s a lot of ability in the squad, but for one reason or another things haven’t gone as well as everyone expected since the start of the season. I can’t wait to get to work and get the results necessary to kick-start our season.”
Victory took United back to the top of the standings ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday.
West Bromwich Albion moved up – temporarily at least – into third place after a blunder by Simon Mignolet helped them win 4-2 away to Sunderland. Home keeper Mignolet lost hold of a through ball from Chris Brunt and Shane Long scuffed it on into the net two minutes before half-time for a crucial second Albion goal.
Steve Clarke’s men were already leading through Zoltan Gera’s superb strike on the half-hour and although the home side launched a fightback when Craig Gardner’s 73rd-minute free-kick was deflected home, substitute Romelu Lukaku’s late penalty sealed a fourth successive win for Albion for the first time in the Premier League.
Stephane Sessegnon reduced the deficit from close range with three minutes remaining. But, after Lukaku had hit the post deep in stoppage time, fellow substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune scored a fourth.
Aston Villa climbed out of the bottom three with a deserved point from 0-0 home draw against Arsenal. But a single point did little to bolster Arsenal’s hopes of re-igniting their hopes of a top-four finish in a game of few clear-cut chances and manager Arsene Wenger blamed fatigue from their midweek Champions League exertions against Montpellier.
Arsenal even needed a fine save from Gunners keeper Wojciech Szczesny to deny Villa substitute Brett Holman a late winner.
A hat-trick from Wigan’s Jordi Gomez spared keeper Ali Al Habsi’s blushes as they overcame Reading 3-2.
Sean Morrison’s first goal for the Royals – a fine header into the top corner from Nicky Shorey’s cross – had earned the visitors an interval lead at the DW Stadium.
But Gomez equalised 13 minutes into the second period, lashing high into the net after his initial low effort from substitute Franco Di Santo’s cross had been parried by Adam Federici. He grabbed a second 10 minutes later with a superb diving header from Jean Beausejour’s cross.
Ten minutes from time, Hal Robson-Kanu’s blocked shot looped high into the air and Al Habsi fumbled the ball under his bar and could not stop it rolling over the line.
Gomez came to the rescue by shooting home Arouna Kone’s assist in stoppage time to complete his hat-trick.
There was also late drama at Everton, where Sebastien Bassong’s 90th-minute diving header from Javier Garrido’s free-kick earned Norwich a 1-1 draw and a point. Steven Naismith had given the Toffees a 12th-minute lead.
Charlie Adam’s 26th-minute goal secured Stoke a 1-0 home win over Fulham after Peter Crouch beat Philippe Senderos in the air.
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