Ashley Young bolstered Manchester United’s bid for a Premier League top-four place with an 89th-minute winner at Newcastle United on Wednesday, while leader Chelsea preserved its five-point lead.
Young’s strike, after a mistake by Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul, gave Louis van Gaal’s side a 1-0 win that enabled it to maintain a two-point advantage over in-form Liverpool, which won 2-0 at home to Burnley.
Chelsea kept its advantage at the summit intact by winning 1-0 at West Ham United, while second-place Manchester City, which has played a game more than the leader, beat Leicester City 2-0.
Meanwhile, Swansea City striker Bafetimbi Gomis was said to be “fine” despite being stretchered off after collapsing on the pitch in the early stages of his side’s 3-2 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
The major talking point of the first half at St. James’ Park was a clash between Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse and United defender Jonny Evans that may prompt disciplinary action from the Football Association.
Evans seemed to spit towards the floor after a tussle with Cisse, who appeared to react by spitting at the Northern Irishman’s neck, but the referee did not take action.
United, which started with Marouane Fellaini in place of Radamel Falcao, was indebted to goalkeeper David de Gea for thwarting Emmanuel Riviere from close range early in the second period.
Krul then produced a double save to deny Fellaini and Young, but the United winger had the last laugh when he tucked home the winner after Krul kicked the ball straight to him under pressure from Wayne Rooney.
Fresh from victory over Tottenham in Sunday’s League Cup final, Chelsea took a step closer to the league title with victory at West Ham. Eden Hazard claimed the game’s only goal in the 22nd minute with a header from a right-wing cross by Ramires, who later hit the post.
Champion City preserved the status quo at the top with a home victory over Leicester that followed painful consecutive defeats by Barcelona and Liverpool.
City, which dropped out-of-form captain Vincent Kompany, took the lead in first-half stoppage time when David Silva followed in to score after he and Wilfried Bony had seen shots blocked. James Milner sealed victory two minutes from time by smashing home a cross from Jesus Navas.
Third-place Arsenal also won, prevailing 2-1 at third-bottom Queens Park Rangers to remain four points below City.
The results: Manchester City 2 (Silva 45, Milner 88) bt Leicester 0; Newcastle 0 lost to Manchester United 1 (Young 89); QPR 1 (Austin 82) lost to Arsenal 2 (Giroud 64, Sanchez 69); Stoke 2 (Moses 32, Diouf 84) bt Everton 0; Tottenham 3 (Chadli 7, Mason 51, Townsend 60) bt Swansea 2 (Ki 19, Sigurdsson 89); West Ham 0 lost to Chelsea 1 (Hazard 22); Liverpool 2 (Henderson 29, Sturridge 51) bt Burnley 0.
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