Manchester United fall to Burnley; Spurs edge past Norwich

Manchester United fall to Burnley; Spurs edge past Norwich

LONDON: Manchester United’s Champions League qualification hopes suffered a blow with a 2-0 upset at home to Burnley in the Premier League on Wednesday, as the Old Trafford fans vented their anger at the club’s US owners.

Goals from Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez ensured victory for Sean Dyche’s Burnley on a night when United looked nothing like a ‘big six’ team.

United fans chanted protest songs aimed at the Glazer family, who have owned the club since 2005, while their team fell to a second straight loss.

After Sunday’s defeat by leaders Liverpool amid criticism of the club for failing to secure any new additions so far in the January transfer window, there is an air of crisis around United.

The club’s decline since the departure of manager Alex Ferguson after their last Premier League title in 2013 shows no signs of being reversed and the fans clearly put the blame on the Glazers and their chief executive Ed Woodward more than manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Thousands of fans flooded out of Old Trafford well before the end of the game while the hardcore supporters in the Stretford End chose to stay and continue to make their feelings known.

The defeat leaves United fifth in the standings, six points adrift of Chelsea who currently occupies the fourth Champions League qualification spot.

Wood-fired Burnley ahead in the 39th minute with a half-volley on the turn after a simple free-kick routine in which Ben Mee headed the ball down into the path of the New Zealand international.

The Clarets, who move up to 13th place, doubled their lead, seven minutes after the break, through striker Rodriguez who blasted into the top corner after a smart exchange with Wood.

United had a last-minute header from Luke Shaw ruled out for pushing but created few clear cut chances as Burnley held on for their first victory at Old Trafford since 1962.

Leicester cement third spot with 4-1 win over West Ham

Leicester City shrugged off a recent slump in form to strengthen their grip on third place in the Premier League with Ayoze Perez’s late double capping a 4-1 home win over lowly West Ham United on Wednesday.

The victory came at a cost though as Premier League-leading scorer Jamie Vardy hobbled off shortly before halftime.

Back-to-back defeats by Southampton and Burnley had cast some doubt over Leicester’s top-four credentials but goals by Harvey Barnes and Ricardo Pereira had Brendan Rodgers’ side in control by halftime.

Skipper Mark Noble gave West Ham a lifeline in the 50th minute when he converted a penalty but Perez’s late double, his first from the penalty spot, underlined Leicester’s superiority.

Leicester have 48 points from 24 games, eight ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea, while West Ham, who have 23 points, are only outside the relegation zone by virtue of goal difference.

Leicester have also scored 52 goals, their highest top-flight tally after 24 games since 1930-31.

Defeat by Leicester on Dec. 28 did for former West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, paving the way for the return of David Moyes for a second stint as Hammers manager.

But he faces a tough task keeping them out of the relegation zone after winning only one of his first four games in charge.

Leicester toyed with West Ham in the opening stages and the only surprise was it took them 24 minutes to score, Barnes, applying the finishing touch to Ricardo’s pass across goal.

When Vardy clutched the back of his leg and soon afterward hobbled off, it dampened the mood but the home fans were buoyant when Barnes teed up Ricardo to double the lead.

West Ham had been non-existent as an attacking threat in the first half but was handed an unlikely lifeline when Wilfred Ndidi was adjudged to have fouled Sebastien Haller and Noble converted from the penalty spot.

From a position of comfort, Leicester suddenly looked edgy and Manuel Lanzini almost equalized. But Leicester settled back into their rhythm and could breathe easy when Perez tucked away a penalty in the 81st minute after Angelo Ogbonna’s clumsy tackle on Vardy’s replacement Kelechi Iheanacho.

Perez made absolutely sure of the points in the 88th minute when he found the corner after an intricate passing move.

While there is no chance of another title charge, as in 2015-16, barring an unlikely collapse in form Leicester look poised to return to the Champions League as they are 14 points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United.

Son heads winner as

Tottenham edge past Norwich

Tottenham Hotspur returned to winning ways in the Premier League but hardly issued a statement of intent as they labored to a 2-1 victory over bottom club Norwich City on Wednesday.

Jose Mourinho’s side had not won in four league games and had failed to find the net in their last three and it needed a late Son Heung-min header to earn three points.

Norwich made it an uncomfortable night for Tottenham and when Teemu Pukki leveled from the penalty spot in the 70th minute to cancel out Dele Alli’s opener and looked capable of earning a vital win in their survival quest.

But Son, once again Tottenham’s Plan B in the absence of injured striker Harry Kane, rescued his side as he touched in Alli’s cross from close range in the 79th minute. It was a positive night for Tottenham who moved up to sixth in the table with 34 points from 24 games, six behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

They also welcomed back number one goalkeeper Hugo Lloris after the Frenchman’s long absence since sustaining a serious elbow injury during a defeat by Brighton & Hove Albion in October. Agencies

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