Spectators settled down to watch Manchester Utd play Spurs with a full Thermos, a tartan rug and a good book: it was, after all, a Jose Mourinho team taking on a fellow top six side. They were stirred when Dele Alli spurned a Spurs chance, and again in the 81st minute when Anthony Martial’s ropey shot off the back of a two-bounce speculative route one hoof from De Gea hit the back of the net.
“The bad shots can be the most beautiful,” said an unruffled Mourinho. One goal, three big points. At the other end of the table, it would take a heart of stone not to feel some twinge of sympathy for poor Slaven Bilic. His Hammers were 2-0, then 2-1, up against Crystal Palace and seven minutes into Fergie time when Wilfried Zaha equalised. Ouch.
Fellow sufferers Swansea went down 2-1 to Arsenal, who made a return to the top four… until Chelsea despatched Bournemouth in the evening kick off (match report). Jurgen Klopp said yesterday he thought Manchester City could have the title in the bag by January, but City took the foot off the pedal yesterday.
They ‘only’ scored three against West Brom, and then let in a 90th minute consolation to make the final score a not-so-runaway 3-2. Maybe February. What Klopp didn’t say was that given his team’s defensive record, there was no chance of Liverpool having the title in the bag even if everybody plays until August.
But Reds were smiling again yesterday after a convincing 3-0 – note the 0 – win over Huddersfield. Watford’s Richarlison added another comedy miss to his back catalogue before Darren Fletcher’s goal eased the pressure on Stoke manager Mark Hughes with a 1-0 victory.