x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Arsenal scrape past Crystal Palace

Suarez nets a stunning hat-trick for in Liverpool's 4-1 win over West Brom, while Arsenal stay top

Manchester United's Javier Hernandez celebrates after scoring the winner against Stoke during their English Premier League  match at Old Trafford. Jon Super / AP
Manchester United's Javier Hernandez celebrates after scoring the winner against Stoke during their English Premier League match at Old Trafford. Jon Super / AP

Manchester United 3 Stoke City 2

The substitute Javier Hernandez came to David Moyes’ rescue with a late header to seal a dramatic comeback win for Manchester United against Stoke at Old Trafford.

Moyes had looked set for a nightmare afternoon to eclipse earlier setbacks against West Brom and Southampton when first Peter Crouch and then Marko Arnautovic fired the visitors in front.

But the pressure on the manager’s shoulders eased slightly when Wayne Rooney sparked United’s late revival with a clipped header from a Robin van Persie corner in the 78th minute - and two minutes later Mexican Hernandez headed the winner from a Patrice Evra cross from the left.

It was hard on Stoke who had stunned the home fans by taking the lead with less than four minutes on the clock and made a mockery of their own paltry goalscoring record this season by attacking with freedom and flair.

But for the brilliance of United goalkeeper David De Gea the visitors could have gone further ahead in a first period in which the home side were plainly nervous and guilty of a series of uncharacteristic defensive mistakes.

When United clawed their way back into the match through Van Persie’s equaliser later in the first period, Stoke responded in spectacular fashion by going straight up the other end and restoring their lead through Arnautovic’s exquisite free-kick.

Liverpool 4 West Bromwich Albion 1

Luis Suarez scored the fourth hat-trick of his Liverpool career as West Brom were blown away by the brilliant South American at Anfield.

Having had to play catch-up with strike partner Daniel Sturridge in the goalscoring stakes as a result of his 10-match suspension carried over from last season, the Uruguayan is definitely back to full speed.

Shortly after the 26 year old scored a superb first as early as the 12th minute, the club’s owner John Henry, watching from his home in America, tweeted “Luis. Magician.”

It was difficult to argue with that assessment after seeing Suarez ghost past two West Brom players to slot home.

By the end of the game there were plenty of more superlatives to use - and that was not even taking into account a superb overhead kick with 10 minutes to go which crashed against the bar.

All this against a side with the third-best defensive away record in the league having conceded just two.

Suarez’s second and third goals both came from headers, one almost from the edge of the penalty area, to make it 36 goals in his last 46 matches and 57 in 101 Liverpool appearances overall.

That is exactly why Henry was so unequivocal in his hard-line stance over the summer when he refused to countenance a sale even after a £40,000,001 bid from Arsenal and complaints from the player about the club reneging on a deal to allow him to join a Champions League club.

Even when substitute James Morrison converted from the spot to reduce the deficit Sturridge ensured the afternoon ended on a high note with a delightful 20-yard chip.

Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 2

Mikel Arteta scored a penalty and was then sent off as 10-man Arsenal battled to a 2-0 win over managerless Crystal Palace to stay clear at the top of the Premier League.

The Arsenal captain slotted home from the spot at the start of the second half after Serge Gnarby had been upended by Adlene Guedioura.

However, the Spanish midfielder was then shown a straight red card when referee Chris Foy deemed he had prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity when he tangled with former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh some 35 yards out.

Palace, who parted company with Ian Holloway following the 4-1 home defeat by Fulham, had Keith Millen in caretaker charge.

They rallied when Joel Ward saw his shot tipped against the bar by Wojciech Szczesny, who then produced a wonder-save to deny Mile Jedinak from the corner.

Arsenal, though, secured all three points when Olivier Giroud headed in with three minutes left after a break by Aaron Ramsey down the left.

Other results

Aston Villa 0 Everton 2

Norwich City 0 Cardiff City 0