London, 30 January 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Manchester City went three points clear at the top of the Premier League table on Saturday thanks to a 1-0 home win against Sheffield United, while rivals Manchester United drew 0-0 with Arsenal.
At the other end of the rankings, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham shared a lively 2-2 draw in their relegation battle.
Callum Wilson’s double gave Newcastle United their first win in 11 Premier League games as his efforts earned them a 2-0 win at Everton.
Ross Barkley’s header moved Aston Villa up to eighth with a 1-0 win at 11th-placed Southampton, who were aggrieved by two video assistant referee (VAR) decisions.
The Saints were denied an early penalty when the ball hit Villa defender Matty Cash’s hand in the box when VAR ruled out any decision and Danny Ings had a late equalizer taken away for a marginal offside.
At Selhurst Park, Eberechi Eze’s strike on the hour mark gave Crystal Palace a 1-0 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Pep Guardiola’s City lead with 44 points after Gabriel Jesus ended a run of nine games without a goal with a ninth-minute strike to keep the six-time league champions ahead in the title race.
“At the end of the season we’ll see if we fight for the title,” said City striker Jesus.
The victory over bottom club Sheffield was City’s 12th in a row, which has been a remarkable turnaround from when they were struggling in mid-table at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.
“This is the real world, not a fairytale. In December and January to show this consistency is amazing,” said Guardiola.
“We will drop points, it’s about how we overcome it. In this league every game is so difficult. Hopefully we react good in the bad moments which for sure are coming.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United failed to follow suit after the shock 2-1 defeat to Sheffield in midweek as Arsenal had the better chances in the stalemate at the Emirates.
“We need to take our chances – we know we have the players to do that, but we haven’t done it lately,” said the United coach. “We need to get our forwards firing again.”
Alexandre Lacazette hit the crossbar in the second half but Edinson Cavani agonisingly missed a chance to seal a late winner from close range.
“I thought it was a fair result. Both managers probably think: we should have won it,” said Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta.
Sam Allardyce’s West Brom fell behind in the 10th minute when Bobby Decordova-Reid scored for the visitors but their fortunes changed in the second half.
Kyle Bartley’s close range finish after the restart tied things up before Matheus Pereira scored his sixth goal of the season to edge West Brom ahead.
“With our defensive frailties we needed three goals but we didn’t get them,” Allardyce said. “We made a magnificent effort to get the third [goal] but two should have been enough.”
However, Ivan Cavaleiro’s diving header in the 77th-minute for a share of the spoils that kept Fulham four points from safety with a tally of 14, while West Brom remain second-bottom two points behind.
“We’re disappointed it’s not three points but we’ll keep moving,” said Fulham coach Scott Parker. “It’s a useful point but there were big chances to kill the game off and we’re not on the right side of the big moments.”
At Goodison Park, Newcastle’s breakthrough came in the 73rd minute when Wilson finished off Jonjo Shelvey’s corner kick before he scored the second goal in injury time to ensure crucial three points.
It was Newcastle’s first success since December 12, which pleased under pressure boss Steve Bruce.
“I’m delighted for Callum. He’ll rightly get the headlines, but the effort from the whole squad behind him was good to see,” Bruce said.
“It’s been tough, but when everyone’s fit and available we’re a decent outfit. When we aren’t, it becomes a bit of a struggle.”
Victory for 16th-placed Newcastle puts them eight points clear of the relegation zone with 22, while Everton remain seventh on 33 points.