EPL Matchday 24 of 38: Manchester United held by struggling West Bromwich; Aubameyang hat-trick sinks Leeds
EPL Matchday 24 of 38 report as Manchester United are held by a struggling West Bromwich and a Aubameyang hat-trick sinks Leeds.
West Bromwich 1 Manchester United 1
Bruno Fernandes's equalizing goal before half time salvaged a point for Manchester United against an unfancied West Bromwich even as the Red Devils fell behind in the Premier League title race.
United have now moved ahead of Leicester into the second place by virtue of a better goal difference but are seven points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
West Brom were stunningly ahead only after 83 seconds of play when Mbaye Diagne outmuscled Victor Lindelof to head in from a Conor Gallagher cross. Ole Solsjaer's men were lackluster in the first half and failed to make significant inroads into the hosts' defense until Fernandes's equalizer.
The Portuguese playmaker's curved shot from a Luke Shaw cross found the top corner of the net in the 44th minute as both sides went into the interval on level terms.
United were much aggressive post the break with Mason Greenwood testing Sam Johnstone with a low strike and an effort from Scott McTominay cleared spectacularly off the line. With no signs of the deadlock being broken, Harry Maguire leapt to send in a header towards the top corner in injury time, but Johnstone tipped the effort against the post to deny United a late winner.
Sam Allardyce's Baggies could have pulled off a sensational win in the dying stages but Diagne inexplicably struck his effort over the crossbar from only six yards out with only David de Gea to beat.
Despite the drawn result, West Brom remain in relegation territory, second from bottom and a distant 12 points from survival.
Arsenal 4 Leeds United 2
A hat-trick from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped Arsenal overcome a resurgent Leeds 4-2 at the Emirates stadium on Sunday evening. The 31-year-old Gabonese striker who missed a couple of matches owing to his mother's sickness was at his best as he wove past the Leeds defense with his deft footwork and finished coolly into the bottom left corner for his first goal in the 13th minute.
The Gunners almost added one more in the 34th minute when Buyako Saka was brought down from a Liam Cooper challenge. Referee Stuart Attwell's decision for a penalty was overturned by the VAR who felt that Saka went down too easily much to the chagrin of the Arsenal camp.
Barely five minutes later in the 41st, Leeds custodian Illan Meslier brought Saka down in the box and Attwell had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Aubameyang sent Meslier the wrong way with his spot-kick for his second of the evening. Hector Bellerin grabbed a third on the stroke of half-time, crashing one in from a tight angle.
The Gunners started where they left off in the first half with Aubameyang heading home Emile Smith Rowe's cross in the 47th minute to register his second ever Arsenal hat-trick.
Undeterred by the 0-4 scoreline, Leeds tried clawing back through Pascal Struijk's powerful header from a Raphinha corner in the 58th and Helder Costa finishing from close-range 11 minutes later.
At 4-2, the Gunners survived a penalty scare when Patrick Bamford went down in the area under pressure from a couple of Arsenal defenders only for the play to be waved on. Aubameyang nearly got his fourth, curling his shot against the crossbar and Saka, too, hitting the post in the closing stages.
The result meant that Mikel Arteta's Gunners leapfrogged Leeds to go 10th on the table but still 6 points off the top four. As for Leeds, all of Marcelo Biesla's attacking flair have not counted for much as the Whites have conceded more goals than any other club in the league this season excepting for West Brom.
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