Manchester United had two Paul Pogba penalties to remain in contention for a top-four Premier League end by beating West Ham 2-1, while Tottenham moved up to third due to Lucas Moura’s hat-trick at a 4-0 win over Huddersfield on Saturday.
United had lost four of the last five matches in all competitions and was extremely lucky to return to winning ways because West Ham had a goal ruled out for offside it the crossbar and watched David de Gea create a miracle save to deny Michail Antonio giving them a late lead.
But a much-needed win transferred Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s guys around fifth, at the expense of Arsenal, and to within 2 points of Chelsea at fourth.
United was talented a first-half lead when Robert Snodgrass’s clumsy challenge brought down Juan Mata and Pogba delivered his very first spot-kick down the middle of this goal.
West Ham was deservedly level four minutes into the second half when Felipe Anderson turned home in the trunk, and the traffic went to appreciate the better of the possibilities.
Antonio crashed a shot range off the pub before De Gea made a magnificent save to claw the West Ham forward’s header to security.
Within minutes of being rescued by their own captain, United needed another penalty 10 minutes from time when Ryan Fredericks sliced down Anthony Martial, also this time Pogba murdered his penalty into the bottom corner.
Tottenham had no strife despite overlooking Harry Kane, who’s expected to miss the remainder of the season because of ankle ligament injury.
Dele Alli was also sidelined by a broken hand, while Mauricio Pochettino chose the opportunity to break some other important personnel, including Son Heung-min, before the next leg of his side’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City, with Tottenham holding a 1-0 lead in the tie.
Lucas took his opportunity to shine from the already relegated Terriers to reveal Pochettino he could be a significant weapon at Kane’s lack as Spurs look to tie a top-four finish.
“Players will need to play to reveal their quality. The hat-trick will build his assurance,” explained Pochettino.
Victor Wanyama started the scoring 24 minutes to allay any anxieties that Tottenham could endure a Champions League hangover.
Lucas made it 2-0 three minutes later after which struck two in the final 3 minutes as Pochettino’s guys made it three wins out of three in their new 62,000-capacity home.
While the title and also struggle to top-four places look set to move down to the wire, the relegation battle could be all but over should Brighton conquer Cardiff on Tuesday.
The Welsh side is just five points adrift of safety following a controversial 2-0 defeat to Burnley.
Chris Wood gave the hosts a merited half-time lead, but Cardiff was left angry after referee Mike Dean overruled his helper’s decision to award a penalty to the people after the rest.
Another large Cardiff penalty appeal has been turned down until Wood sealed the win in stoppage time.
Brighton stays catchable for Neil Warnock’s men as they succumbed to a humiliating 5-0 home defeat to Bournemouth.
The Cherries had lost 11 of their last 12 games on the road but proceeded to 12th thanks to goals from Dan Gosling, Ryan Fraser, David Brooks, Callum Wilson, and Junior Stanislas.
A dreadful day for your Seagulls was piled with a red card for Anthony Knockaert.
“We have got to return to function as a solid team we all know we could be,” explained Brighton manager Chris Hughton. “When we thought now was a major game then Tuesday is a much larger one.”
Southampton further eased their relegation fears with a 3-1 win over Wolves to move eight points clear of the drop zone.
Fulham’s relegation to the Championship is already guaranteed, however, they procured only a fifth win of the year by defeating Everton 2-0.