LONDON, Nov 19: Arsenal chipped away at Tottenham’s recent north London supremacy with a derby victory.
Catching the Manchester City juggernaut, though, is looking harder by the week in the English Premier League.
Manchester United is trying, coming from behind against Newcastle on Saturday to produce a 4-1 victory featuring Paul Pogba scoring on his return after two months on the sidelines.
The last unbeaten team, City remains eight points clear of United after swatting aside Leicester 2-0 with goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne.
Tottenham slipped 11 points behind the leaders in fourth after a six-match unbeaten run against Arsenal ended with a 2-0 loss. Arsenal is now only a point behind Tottenham, behind Liverpool on goal difference after Mohamed Salah netted twice in a 3-0 win over Southampton.
Eden Hazard was also at the double for Chelsea in a 4-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion that kept the champions a point behind United. The result could further imperil the job security of West Brom manager Tony Pulis.
Paul Clement’s future at Swansea also looks less certain after a 2-0 loss at Burnley left the south Wales club three points off the bottom. Everton, which is still trying to hire a successor for Ronald Koeman, came back twice to draw at bottom-place Crystal Palace 2-2.
Callum Wilson became the first English hat-trick scorer this season as Bournemouth beat Huddersfield 4-0, and coped with 10 men for half the game after Simon Francis saw red.
It’s not all going Pep Guardiola’s way. The Manchester City manager expects to be without John Stones for four to six weeks after the defender pulled up with a hamstring injury around 30 minutes into the game Leicester.
“We don’t have a lot of central defenders so we are going to suffer,” Guardiola said, “but we will find a solution.”
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil showed their value to Arsenal in the derby win. Ozil’s free kick set up Shkodran Mustafi’s header for the opener and Sanchez netted at the near post just before halftime.
Whether Ozil and Sanchez are still at the club to face Tottenham next season is far from certain as the attacking duo has yet to commit to new deals.
“I believe that they love the club, they want to stay,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said, “but there are other top clubs out there who offer good contracts as well.”
LUKAKU DROUGHT OVER
United has scored four times in seven of its 12 league matches.
Dwight Gayle’s opener for Newcastle was swiftly overturned by headers from Anthony Martial and Chris Smalling. In the second half, Pogba tapped in a third and Romelu Lukaku ended a seven-match goal drought.
United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic went on in the second half to make an earlier-than-expected comeback after seven months out with knee ligament damage.
West Brom is 11 games without a win after being crushed by Chelsea 4-0, and Chinese owner Guochuan Lai will have to decide whether to retain Pulis or search for a new manager.
“I’ve been in the game long enough to know if you get bad runs then that’s what happens,” Pulis said. “(The ownership) have to make a decision. ”
The crowd chanted “Pulis out” at the end of a game that was beyond West Brom after collapsing in the first half when Alvaro Morata, Eden Hazard, and Marcos Alonso all scored inside minutes. Hazard netted again in the second half.
Swansea might now be regretting selling Jack Cork in the offseason. After the midfielder made his England debut last week, he scored against his former club. Ashley Barnes also netted as Burnley completed a hat trick of top-flight wins for the first time since 1975.
But Swansea is on the slide, and this latest loss was watched by majority shareholder Steve Kaplan who has a decision to make about Clement’s future in the dugout.
“I’m concerned about the level of performance, concerned about our position in the table,” Clement said. “If they (the owners) ever felt there was someone that can get better out of this team and these players than I can, that’s their right to do that.” AP