Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
Sale ends in
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
save over $140
// //

The Canadian Press

By scoring 12 goals in two matches over four days, Manchester United’s players are showing they have the firepower to challenge Manchester City for the English Premier League title.

The problem is, they don’t have the defence to go with it.

United conceded a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to draw Everton 3-3 at home on Saturday for a result that highlighted the vibrancy of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team going forward but the vulnerability of it at the back.

Story continues below advertisement

Helped by the record-tying 9-0 win over Southampton on Tuesday, United has the most goals in the league with 49 — six more than the next best, Liverpool.

But with 30 goals conceded, United has the worst defence in the top 10. City, on the other hand, has conceded only 13 and goes into Sunday’s showdown with Liverpool with a two-point lead over United and two games in hand.

“The last kick of the ball makes us go home really disappointed,” Solskjaer said. “We have lost two points on a long thump upfield, which we should have defended.

“We need to stop conceding easy goals.”

The results of United’s last three games at Old Trafford underline the team’s inconsistency that is likely to undermine a title challenge: Before the 9-0 win over Southampton came a 2-1 loss to last-placed Sheffield United.

United led Everton 2-0 at halftime thanks to Edinson Cavani’s header and a nonchalant strike by Bruno Fernandes, who floated a long-range shot over goalkeeper Robin Olsen and into the corner after producing a dummy to create some space outside the area.

Everton responded with two goals in a four-minute span early in the second half, through Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez.

Story continues below advertisement

United regained the lead in the 70th when Olsen allowed a header from Scott McTominay to squirm past him.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin grabbed the late equalizer following a free kick.

SUCCESSIVE DEFEATS

With a second defeat in four days, Arsenal slipped further away from the European qualification places.

Mikel Arteta’s team lost at Aston Villa 1-0 after conceding a deflected goal after 74 seconds to Ollie Watkins. On Tuesday, Arsenal lost at Wolverhampton 2-1 after having two players sent off.

After a recent resurgence, Arsenal has dropped back to 10th place, nine points behind Liverpool in fourth.

Story continues below advertisement

Arteta had no qualms about the performance of his players, though, saying: “Really strong performance. We completely dominated the game, we dominated every department, and we should have won.”

Still, Villa took the points and moved to eighth place, four points above Arsenal.

CONTENTIOUS CALL

Referee Mike Dean was adjudged to have got a red-card decision incorrect when his sending-off of Southampton defender Jan Bednarek in a 9-0 loss to Man United on Tuesday was rescinded by the Football Association later.

Another contentious call by the eccentric official in West Ham’s match at Fulham on Saturday could be scrutinized in the coming days, too.

At a free kick in second-half stoppage time, Tomas Soucek appeared to be attempting to get his hands free when he lifted his left arm and brushed his elbow against the face of the Fulham player marking him, Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Story continues below advertisement

Mitrovic fell to the ground theatrically and Dean was advised by VAR to look at the incident on the pitchside monitor. After an extensive review, he showed Soucek a red card, much to the disbelief of the Czech Republic midfielder.

“I’m a bit embarrassed for Mike Dean — the level of referee he is — to make that decision,” West Ham manager David Moyes said. “It was obvious to everyone it was accidental.”

Fulham manager Scott Parker agreed.

“The game is becoming very sterile,” Parker said, referring to the use of technology.

Fulham remained without a win since Nov. 30 and the draw didn’t help the third-from-last team move closer to leaving the relegation zone.

That’s because Burnley, the team above Fulham, drew with Brighton 1-1 to maintain the eight-point gap.

Story continues below advertisement

STRUGGLING SAINTS

Southampton made it 12 goals conceded in two games by producing another woeful defensive display in a 3-2 loss at Newcastle, which ended the game with nine men.

After his reprieve from the FA, Bednarek started at St. James’ Park but deflected the ball into his own net for one of the goals — like he did against United on Tuesday.

Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was at fault for the third Newcastle goal — scored by Miguel Almiron for his second of the game — because of a sloppy pass out from the back.

Newcastle’s Jeff Hendrick was sent off in the 50th and Fabian Schar was carried off in the 78th without being replaced as the team had already made three substitutions.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies