x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Blues for Manchester clubs and Newcastle while QPR and Swansea find cheer

Louis van Gaal has now gone four competitive games without recording a win, Diouf shocks Pellegrini's men and Swansea dominate West Brom.

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney failed again to find the mark in the net for his team. Andrew Yates / Reuters
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney failed again to find the mark in the net for his team. Andrew Yates / Reuters

British-record signing Angel di Maria was unable to inspire Manchester United to victory on his debut as they drew 0-0 at Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.

A £59.7 million (Dh364m) acquisition from Real Madrid, Di Maria started the game, but despite some probing passes and darting runs, he could not illuminate United’s path to goal against Sean Dyche’s promoted side.

Having seen his team beaten by Swansea City and held by Sunderland before being humiliated 4-0 by third-tier Milton Keynes Dons in the League Cup, new United manager Louis van Gaal has now gone four competitive games without recording a win.

United’s frustrations were compounded in the last five minutes when Spanish playmaker Juan Mata had to go off after appearing to injure his hamstring.

Di Maria came into the United team in central midfield alongside Darren Fletcher and saw Burnley twice go close to taking the lead inside the first five minutes at a sunny Turf Moor.

Burnley’s former United trainee Dave Jones curled a free-kick against the bar and visiting goalkeeper David de Gea then had to save alertly after Lukas Jutkiewicz seized on a miscued back-pass by Jonny Evans.

Di Maria produced his first moment of quality in a United shirt in the 15th minute with a raking 50-yard pass for Robin van Persie, who chested the ball down, only for Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton to parry his shot.

Dave Jones worked De Gea from 25 yards at the other end, while United felt they should have been awarded a penalty after Burnley right-back Kieran Tripper appeared to push Ashley Young over in the area shortly before half-time.

Van Persie threatened twice for United around the hour, seeing a volleyed cleared off the line by Dean Marney and heading over, before Di Maria was replaced by Anderson with 20 minutes to play.

Van Gaal also sent Danny Welbeck into the fray, but with newly appointed England captain Wayne Rooney heading wide and Burnley substitute Ashley Barnes surviving a penalty-box handball claim, the Dutchman had to content himself with a point.


Manchester City’s perfect start to the new season was halted by a stunning individual goal from Mame Biram Diouf as Stoke claimed a shock 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Diouf ran from inside his own half and, as the City defence backed off, burst into the area before embarrassing goalkeeper Joe Hart by shooting through his legs.

The goal came in the 58th minute, and for all their subsequent pressure, Manuel Pellegrini’s home side could not find an equaliser, allowing Stoke manager Mark Hughes to celebrate a memorable win over his former employers.


Neil Warnock’s return to the manager’s post at Crystal Palace got off to the ideal start against Newcastle and finished with a bang too as his side claimed a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Dwight Gayle opened the scoring inside the first minute for Palace at St James’ Park, but Darryl Janmaat fired the Magpies level before the break.

Although Jason Puncheon, fined in March for launching a Twitter tirade against Warnock, restored the Eagles’ lead three minutes after the restart, Rolando Aarons made it 2-2 and Mike Williamson bundled home a third for the hosts with two minutes to go.

But Wilfried Zaha, on loan from Manchester United, equalised five minutes into stoppage time to earn Palace a first point of the season.


Swansea kept up their perfect start to the season with a 3-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion with Nathan Dyer scoring twice.

Dyer struck early for the hosts with a right-foot shot to the bottom left corner after being set up by Gylfi Sigurdsson in the second minute at the Liberty Stadium.

Wayne Routledge made it 2-0 in the 24th from outside the area and Dyer grabbed his second in the 71st with another assist from Sigurdsson.

The Welsh club now has three wins in three matches while winless West Brom has just two points.


Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song has joined West Ham United on a season-long loan from Barcelona. The Cameroon international, 26, left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2012, but failed to nail down a first-team place and made only 39 appearances over two seasons.

He was paraded on the pitch prior to West Ham’s home game against Southampton yesterday which ended in disappointment with a 3-1 defeat at St James Park.

“I’m very happy to be here and very happy to see the guys and the fans today and to start to do my job for West Ham United,” Song told the West Ham website.

“I think this is very important for me to be coming back to London to West Ham United, which is a club with ambition to build a new stadium and become a big club. For me, when I was in Spain, I always said that if I was to leave one day, I would return to the Premier League.”

On the pitch, the wantaway midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin scored twice as Southampton came from behind to win 3-1 at West Ham and hand manager Ronald Koeman his first league win.

Mark Noble put the hosts in front, but Schneiderlin, who is keen on a move to Tottenham, levelled on the stroke of half-time and completed the comeback in the 68th minute.

Graziano Pelle made the points safe seven minutes from time.


QPR picked up their first points of the campaign when Charlie Austin’s goal on the stroke of half-time sealing a 1-0 win at home to Sunderland.

Detailed report of the game here.

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