Tottenham moved to the top of the Premier League with a 0-0 draw against title rivals Chelsea, while Edinson Cavani inspired Manchester United’s thrilling 3-2 win at Southampton yesterday.
Jose Mourinho’s side climbed above previous leaders Liverpool on goal difference after a sterile London derby at Stamford Bridge. Tottenham are unbeaten in nine league games and Mourinho seemed happy to frustrate his former club as they adopted a cautious approach with little attacking ambition. Chelsea have not lost in their last 11 games in all competitions and sit in third place, two points behind Tottenham and Liverpool, who drew 1-1 at Brighton on Saturday. Fourth-placed Leicester would go second if they beat Fulham today.
Timo Werner thought he had put Chelsea ahead early in the first half with a superb finish, only for an offside flag to thwart the Germany striker. Chelsea’s Mason Mount forced a good save from Hugo Lloris in the second half, while substitute Olivier Giroud should have done better than shoot straight at the Tottenham keeper in stoppage time.
The drab clash in west London was a stark contrast to United’s dramatic fightback from two goals down at St Mary’s. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were facing a dismal defeat after first-half goals from Jan Bednarek and James Ward-Prowse put Southampton in control.
But Uruguay striker Cavani sparked United’s escape act after coming on at the interval. Cavani set up Bruno Fernandes to reduce the deficit and the former Paris Saint-Germain star grabbed the equaliser from his team-mate’s deflected shot.
The 33-year-old netted again in the final moments as his third goal since signing as a free agent in October extended United’s winning to four games in all competitions. “Great impact of course. He is a number nine who wants to be in between the posts, he is always on the move. I’m very pleased with him,” Solskjaer said.
“On the training pitch, in the dressing room and during meal times, how meticulous he is. He knows what he wants to eat, how much he wants to recover — everything! It was top movement and his timing is fantastic. His hunger to get on the end of things is the key for a centre-forward. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t but to score you have to be in there.”
It was exactly the kind of influential display Solskjaer was hoping for from Cavani when he moved for him after United’s failed pursuit of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. Written off as a panic buy in some quarters, Cavani proved his age should be no barrier to making an impact in the Premier League. He is only the second player to be directly involved in three goals in a Premier League game after coming on as a substitute for United since Solskjaer scored four against Nottingham Forest in 1999. United climbed to seventh place, two points adrift of the Champions League places, after setting a club record of eight successive away Premier League wins. “I was quite calm at half-time. We must have had five or six clear-cut chances, so it was about taking them when we got the chance,” Solskjaer said. United goalkeeper David de Gea came off at half-time with a knee injury and Solskjaer said: “Hopefully he can be okay for Wednesday but I’m not sure.”
Premier League results
Chelsea 0 Tottenham 0; Southampton 2 (Bednarek 23, Ward-Prowse 33) Manchester United 3 (Fernandes 59, Cavani 74, 90+2)
Playing today: Leicester City v Fulham (1730), West Ham United v Aston Villa (2000)
Played Saturday: Brighton 1 (Gross 90-pen) Liverpool 1 (Jota 60); Manchester City 5 (Mahrez 6, 22, 69, Mendy 41, Torres 66) Burnley 0; Everton 0 Leeds 1 (Raphinha 79); West Brom 1 (Gallagher 13) Sheffield Utd 0
Played Friday: Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle 2 (Wilson 88, Joelinton 89)
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