LONDON: Manchester United fell further off the pace at the top of the Premier League as they were held to a goalless draw away to Arsenal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made five changes from the shock defeat to bottom club Sheffield United in midweek but had to settle for a 0-0 draw against an Arsenal outfit missing arguably their three best players.

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney all missed out but Mikel Arteta’s side have been in much better form of late and came closest to taking the three points through an Alexandre Lacazette free-kick which hit the crossbar.

United created more chances but could not find a way through and they are now three points behind leaders Manchester City, having played a game more than their neighbours.

Meanwhile, Arsenal stretch their unbeaten league run to seven games and Arteta will be hoping to welcome back his absent trio sooner rather than later having been able to hand new signing Martin Odegaard his debut off the bench.

City win

Gabriel Jesus struck early as Premier League leaders Manchester City maintained their winning run with a hard-fought 1-0 success over bottom side Sheffield United. It was the 500th competitive win of manager Pep Guardiola’s career.

The Brazil striker netted after just nine minutes at the Etihad Stadium but victory proved far from straightforward as the battling visitors, buoyed by their midweek win at Manchester United, made the going tough.

Despite dominating possession, City struggled to create meaningful chances and they were almost caught out late on when John Fleck shot narrowly wide.

Yet other than that late scare, and despite not peppering the visitors’ goal with chances, it was still a strong performance by City.

It was their eighth successive win in the Premier League and maintained their position at the top.

With 11 clean sheets in their last 13 games, they are starting to look formidable, even without star players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.

Saints fall
Ross Barkley headed the winner as Aston Villa reignited their European hopes with victory over Southampton in the Premier League in an entertaining tussle at St Mary’s.

The midfielder guided Jack Grealish’s cross beyond goalkeeper Alex McCarthy before the break as Villa bounced back from defeat at Burnley.

Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez produced a great save to deny Che Adams with 20 minutes remaining, while Matty Cash cleared off the line late on as Southampton failed to make their pressure count.

Danny Ings then had the ball in the net in added time but the striker was flagged offside.

Saints were earlier denied a penalty when Stuart Armstrong’s effort struck Cash on the arm but was deemed to have deflected off the defender’s thigh.

Victory sees Dean Smith’s side climb to eighth, but with a game in hand on many of those above them.

Southampton, who have now lost three league games in a row, remain 11th.

Strugglers draw

Ivan Cavaleiro snatched a point for Fulham in a thrilling draw at relegation rivals West Brom.

The substitute struck within five minutes of coming off the bench to rescue a 2-2 draw.

Kyle Bartley and Matheus Pereira had turned the game in the second half after the Baggies looked doomed following a wretched start.

Bobby Decordova-Reid’s opener helped the Cottagers dominate before the break with the striker also hitting the post.

But Scott Parker’s side are now winless in 10 Premier League games and sit four points from safety, with Albion a further two points behind.

A draw did little for either side’s survival hopes and Baggies boss Sam Allardyce had underlined the need for four points from the next two games – with Albion going to rock-bottom Sheffield United on Tuesday.

Palace win

Ebere Eze’s powerful second-half strike helped Crystal Palace end a four-game winless run with a vital 1-0 victory over Wolves.

The summer signing struck for the third time since his move from QPR to lift spirits at the club after a run of one win in 10 matches in all competitions.

It was also Palace’s first triumph over Wolves in five attempts and increased the woes of Nuno Espirito Santo, who has not seen his players taste success in the Premier League for six weeks with this another toothless showing.

After the Eagles were outclassed by West Ham in midweek, Roy Hodgson made six changes and switched formation from his favoured 4-4-2 for this season to a 4-2-3-1.

Newcastle win at last
Callum Wilson’s two goals eased the pressure on beleaguered manager Steve Bruce as Newcastle registered their first points of 2021 with a vital 2-0 win at Everton.

The £20m summer signing’s 50th Premier League goal made the important breakthrough in the 73rd minute and he doubled his tally in stoppage time against the off-key hosts.

Those goals took him to double figures for the season and ended a run of nine league matches without a win, stretching back to December 12, while also securing a first success at Goodison Park since 2010.

It was the Magpies’s first league double over the Toffees since the late Sir Bobby Robson was in charge in the 2001-02 season and lifted them further clear of the bottom three.

Bruce set up his side to be resilient and combative in the first instance but, as they grew into the game and discovered their hosts to be well below their best, they sensed their chance.

With Wilson a constant threat – he had Newcastle’s only three shots on target with his first brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar – it was no less than the visitors deserved.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti had said the midweek game against Leicester and this one would determine how their season would pan out and, on that basis, one point from both games would suggest disappointment.