Manchester United and Everton stumble in City’s wake

Soccer Football – Premier League – West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United – The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, Britain – February 14, 2021 West Bromwich Albion’s Mbaye Diagne scores their first goal Pool via REUTERS/Naomi Baker

(Reuters) – Manchester City are romping away in the title race but the Premier League continued to throw up surprises on Sunday as first Manchester United and then Everton dropped points to sides written off as relegation fodder.

United had the opportunity to cut City’s lead to five points but were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at second-bottom West Bromwich Albion.

Everton then wasted an opportunity to move level on points with fourth-placed city rivals Liverpool having played two fewer games but suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to lowly Fulham.

However, Arsenal returned to the top half of the table in 10th place as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang marked his first start after an absnece for personal family issues to score a hat-trick in a 4-2 home victory over Leeds United.

Southampton’s slump worsened as they lost a sixth league game in succession, going down 2-1 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers for whom Pedro Neto bagged a superb winner.

Manchester City’s 11th straight league win, at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, put them on 53 points from 23 games with United and Leicester City, who beat Liverpool 3-1 on Saturday, both on 46 from 24.

Liverpool trail on 40 points and could drop to sixth if Chelsea at least draw and West Ham United win on Monday.

West Brom took the lead early on at the Hawthorns through on-loan Senegalese striker Mbaye Diagne’s header. United’s response was lacklustre until inspirational Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes volleyed home in the 44th minute.

United then dominated the second half with defender Harry Maguire having a 95th-minute header tipped onto the post.

Despite the setback, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his side could still chase down City.

“We won’t let them (City) run away with it — we’re playing them soon (in March). We’re not giving it away early — no we’re not,” he said.