Mon, Dec 01, 2014 - Page 18 News List

United, Arsenal both net precious league victories


Hull City goalkeeper Allan McGregor, right, saves a header from Manchester United striker Robin van Persie in their Premier League match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on Saturday. United went on to win the game 3-0.

Photo: Reuters

Danny Welbeck returned from injury to maintain Arsenal’s recent revival, as the England striker sealed a 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger’s men had been under pressure after successive Premier League defeats condemned them to their worst start for 30 years, but a mid-week victory over Borussia Dortmund that booked their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League lifted spirits at the north London club.

Welbeck missed that win due to hamstring and knee problems, but he was back at the Hawthorns to net his sixth goal for Arsenal from Santi Cazorla’s 60th-minute cross, giving the Gunners only their fifth Premier League victory of the season.

Despite the win, some Arsenal fans held up a banner at full time calling for Wenger to quit.

Asked if he was affected by the protest, the Frenchman said: “I don’t want to comment on that. I try to do my best for this club that I love. It’s easier to deal with the upwards than the downwards, but you cannot be a manager and have only one side.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool ended a three-match skid as Glen Johnson’s late goal clinched a hard-fought 1-0 win against Stoke City at Anfield.

Reds captain Steven Gerrard was dropped to the bench on the 16th anniversary of his Liverpool debut and Brendan Rodgers’ side were lackluster without him.

Stoke’s Bojan Krkic hit the woodwork in the second half, but Liverpool improved after Gerrard came on for the final 16 minutes and England rightback Johnson popped up with the winner in the 85th minute after Rickie Lambert’s header hit the bar.

“The players were absolutely incredible. We fully deserved it and to keep a clean sheet against a very good side was pleasing,” Rodgers said.

At Old Trafford, Robin van Persie scored only his fourth goal for Manchester United this season as the hosts cruised to a 3-0 win over Hull City.

United’s injury problems continued early in the first half when Argentina midfielder Angel di Maria was forced to come off, but Louis van Gaal’s side took the lead in the 16th minute as video technology showed that Chris Smalling’s scrambled effort had crossed the line to give the much-maligned defender his first goal since December last year.

United captain Wayne Rooney got the second goal, sweeping home from long range in the 42nd minute, before Van Persie netted in the 66th minute to seal his fourth-placed team’s third successive win.

“It was the best match of our season. What pleased me most was the way we dominated the game from the first minute to the last minute,” Van Gaal said.

“Di Maria is out of Tuesday’s game against Stoke, but we will have to wait and see how bad it is,” the Dutchman added.

Elsewhere on Saturday, West Ham United leapfrogged Newcastle United into fifth place with a 1-0 win at Upton Park.

Newcastle had climbed into the top five on the back of five successive league victories, but fell behind in the 56th minute when Hammers leftback Aaron Cresswell turned in Cheikhou Kouyate’s miscued shot.

The Magpies’ hopes of an equalizer were wrecked when midfielder Moussa Sissoko was sent off for earning two bookings in the space of 46 seconds in the second half.

In the day’s other ties, Queens Park Rangers moved off the bottom of the table at the expense of fellow strugglers Leicester City, who slipped to 20th place after their 3-2 defeat at Loftus Road, while Burnley rescued a 1-1 draw against relegation rivals Aston Villa at Turf Moor and Swansea drew Crystal Palace 1-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

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