Emmanuel Emenike

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Fenerbahce beats Manchester United despite historic Rooney bullet

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  • Sow scores early shocker
  • United drops to 3rd
  • Rooney hits late laser

Fenerbahce scored a 2-1 win over visiting Manchester United at the Sukru Saracoglu in Europa League play on Thursday.

The loss puts more heat under Jose Mourinho, who got a good-looking late goal from Wayne Rooney. The tally was Rooney’s 38th for United in Europe, putting him level with Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Senegalese striker Moussa Sow scored after a minute’s play, and ex-Sunderland man Jeremain Lens netted a free kick for Dick Advocaat’s men.

A draw between Zorya Luhansk and 10-man Feyenoord means United sits third in Group A, as Fener and Feyenoord each have 7 points to the Red Devils’ six.

[ MORE: Europa League standings ]

Moussa Sow hit a 17-yard bicycle kick in between Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo, besting David De Gea barely 60 seconds into the match.

The old cliche of “bad to worse” came around half-hour into the match, as Paul Pogba left the match with an apparent leg injury.

 [ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

Fenerbahce doubled the lead on a free kick at the hour mark. Zlatan Ibrahimovic conceded the kick about 25 yards out, and David De Gea didn’t even more as Jeremain Lens swept a quick shot around the wall. 2-0

Emmanuel Emenike just missed a sliding goal that would’ve made it 3-0 in the 79th minute. Could Mourinho’s men find magic?

Rooney helped, burying a long shot in the 89th minute to make it 2-1. He then had a stoppage time header cleared off the line.

United several corners in stoppage time, but Volkan Demirel collected the last offering to save the day.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Rooney’s goal made history for United.

UEFA Champions League roundup: Celtic, Monaco snare first leg road goals

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This is a draw that Brendan Rodgers will gladly accept.

Celtic went all the way to Kazakhstan and came back with a 1-1 draw against Astana in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie on Wednesday.

[ REPORT: Timbers add NUFC man ]

Yuri Logvinenko scored for Astana, but Leigh Griffiths did what he normally does for Celtic and the Scottish champs are bringing a road goal back to Glasgow for the second leg.

Elsewhere, remember Emmanuel Emenike? He scored twice for Fenerbahce, who boosted itself into a 2-1 advantage after one leg in a win over Monaco. Radamel Falcao scored for the visitors.

Wednesday’s first legs
Astana 1-1 Celtic
Astra Giurgiu 1-1 Copenhagen
Fenerbahce 2-1 Monaco
Rosenborg 2-1 Apoel Nicosia
Trencin 0-1 Legia Warsaw
Olympiacos 0-0 Hapoel Be’er Sheva

Premier League Playback: Welcome to the Madhouse

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WHAT IS GOING ON?

The only thing we learned from the midweek slate of games is that this madness is set to continue.

[ MORE: Recapping Wednesday in PL ]

With Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City all dropping points — leaders Leicester were the only side to grab a solitary point — the seemingly closed shop for a top four spot has now reopened with Manchester United and West Ham United joining the party.

Welcome to the Madhouse.

Look at the standings below and tell me who finishes where and why. Your guess is as good as anyone’s with 10 games to go.

[ MORE: 3 things learned from West Ham-Spurs ]

Leicester were unlucky to not grab all three points from their clash against West Brom on Tuesday but drew and that small slip up let in the door for the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal and Man City to close the gap on Wednesday.

All three lost.

It’s status quo at the top with nerves seeming to get to Spurs, the Gunners in a rut with three defeats on the spin and Man City suffering from their UEFA Champions League and League Cup final hangover.

PL Standings - March. 3

You’re aware of this by now (of course you are!?) but this season has been infuriatingly and brilliantly unpredictable.

With 10 games left, there’s no sign of that letting up. The picture at the top of the table will only begin to become more muddled this weekend as title contenders clash at White Hart Lane in the North London Derby with both Tottenham and Arsenal eager to make up the ground they lost on Leicester in midweek.

[ WATCH: Stream every PL game via Live Extra ]

Speaking after Tottenham’s defeat to West HamMauricio Pochettino half shrugged and laughed… but looked like he wanted to cry as he was asked why everyone is beating each other.

“The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world. You can see this every week,” Pochettino said.

This crazy show will continue until mid May when a champion will be crowned. I ask you: does this season have to end?

HAMMERS PRESSURE SINKS SPURS

Under the lights at Upton Park on Wednesday, the Hammers pressured Spurs from the off and beat their bitter rivals in an intense atmosphere in east London.

The historic venue was rocking after just seven minutes as Michail Antonio continued his hot-streak and now has six goals in his last seven games at the famous Boleyn Ground. This place will be sorely missed but after climbing to just one point of the top four, West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium next season could be met with UEFA Champions League action.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Sure, Man City has a game in hand on the Hammers and Manchester United is one point ahead but West Ham got their tactics spot on against Spurs, crowding out the midfield and playing wing backs to nullify the threat of Spurs’ wide men. Their fight and determination was relentless.

Speaking to the media after the game, Bilic revealed his team shouldn’t be thinking about a top four finish. “Every manager is trying to calm their teams down. We are not thinking about that [top four] and we shouldn’t be thinking about that.”

Ask the fans, Slaven. They certainly are. After yet another gritty and determined display with Dimitri Payet pulling the strings and a growing number of options in attack as players continue to return from injury, the Hammers could come from nowhere and mount a serious challenge for the top four.

[ MORE: Bilic says beating Spurs “game of the season” ]

As for Spurs, it was a night to forget for Mauricio Pochettino on his 44th birthday.

The Argentine boss bemoaned the slow start from which they never truly recovered. Harry Kane missed their best chance in the second half, while too many giveaways in bad errors on a bobbly pitch exemplified their struggles. Kevin Wimmer could’ve been sent off for hauling down Emmanuel Emenike and Tottenham’s decision to rotate their full backs hurt them. Given the madness elsewhere, Spurs’ failure to move top of the table is only a minor setback. After six-straight wins in the PL and going unbeaten away from home since the opening day of the season, they had an off day at Upton Park against their rivals.

Pochettino didn’t seem too worried but he’ll be expecting a big reaction from his team when they host north London rivals Arsenal on Saturday at White Hart Lane (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

ARSENAL, CITY FADING

Speaking of the Gunners, they have now lost three on the spin in all competitions for the first time since 2010. Arsene Wenger‘s men are struggling.

On Wednesday they went down 2-1 to Swansea City at home as the Welsh outfit once again proved to be their bogey team and put a big dent in their title hopes. The loss was bad, of course it was. If they had won — which could’ve easily happened had Alexis Sanchez’s free kick not cannoned off the bar with the scores locked at 1-1 — then they’d be level on points with Spurs going into Saturday’s derby. That said, they’re only three points behind Tottenham and six points behind Leicester. It’s not over, but they must win on Saturday to keep their title hopes alive. It’s as simple as that.

[ MORE: Cech out injured, to miss NLD ]

The biggest loss for Arsenal on Wednesday came with the news that Petr Cech will be out of the NLD after injuring his groin when trying to run up for a late corner kick. David Ospina will come in but Wenger has lost the leader of his defense in yet another damaging blow.

Given their recent PL form, Manchester City’s 3-0 defeat at Liverpool on Wednesday shouldn’t have been a surprise. Pellegrini’s men looked jaded after the League Cup final victory over Liverpool on Sunday at Wembley (perhaps they partied a little too hard?) and the manager admitted a long few weeks is catching up with them. City now sit 10 points off Leicester and even if they win their game in hand it will only reduce the gap to seven with 10 games left.

[ MORE: Pellegrini blames tiredness for City defeat ]

Winning the title should not be at the forefront of their mind anymore. Finishing in the top four should be the main objective as the likes of West Ham and bitter rivals Manchester United line up behind them and are within a point of taking away City’s spot in the Champions League.

LVG’S BOYS GRIND OUT ANOTHER WIN

United left it late against Watford to win 1-0 on Wednesday, but Juan Mata‘s free kick did the business and Louis Van Gaal has now recorded his fourth-straight win in all competitions with an injury-hit side.

Van Gaal, 64, may well leave Old Trafford at the end of this season but he’s doing his best to leave the Red Devils in at least a top four spot and a piece of silverware in either the FA Cup or Europa League.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

After United’s win over Watford, he posed with fans for photos for many minutes as he walked out of the stadium. Along with his touchline tumble against Arsenal last weekend, LVG is doing his bit to get the fans back on side. If City slip up against Aston Villa this Saturday and Manchester United beat West Brom on Sunday, they’ll be back in the top four. All those calling for Van Gaal to be sacked could well be eating their words in May as his side dig deep and continue to grind out wins at the business end of the season. The performances aren’t too impressive but it’s hard to say these players aren’t playing for their under-fire boss. That said, Jose Mourinho’s impending arrival this summer continues to cast a cloud of uncertainty over what lies in store for the future at Old Trafford.

THE OTHERS…

There’s still hope for plenty of other teams to maybe not sneak into the top four but definitely challenge for the top six. Chelsea won again on Tuesday, as Guus Hiddink’s side are 12 games unbeaten since Mourinho was fired. They’re now only eight points off the top four. Stoke City won for the third-straight game and they’re just five points off the top four, while Liverpool are just six points off the top four with 10 games to go.

[ MORE: Surging Chelsea change target

It is utter madness.

But, that’s why we love it and this season is setting us up for one of the finest finales we’ve ever seen from top to bottom across the league.

Premier League Playback comes out every week as PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here

Three things we learned from West Ham’s win vs. Tottenham

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LONDON — West Ham United edged out Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at Upton Park on Wednesday in a huge London derby under the lights.

Michail Antonio‘s early goal was the difference as Mauricio Pochettino‘s side put in a woeful display as they missed a chance to go top of the Premier League on goal difference.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Here’s what we learned from Upton Park as Spurs head into Saturday’s North London Derby against Arsenal on the back of a defeat.

PRESSURE IS GETTING TO SPURS

We haven’t really seen this from Spurs so far this season. Even in their home defeats to Leicester and Newcastle United they dominated most of the play and created chances. There was none of that on Wednesday as Pochettino’s side lost away from home for the first time since the opening day of the season.

After winning six-straight PL games to move within three points of first-placed Leicester, Spurs’ run had to come to an end sometime. But on his 44th birthday Pochettino would not have expected his side to go down in this disappointing manner. Spurs were outworked, especially in midfield, as Ryan Mason and Eric Dier gave the ball away cheaply time and time again, plus the decision to switch full backs backfired as both Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies struggled in possession. Even the ever-reliable Harry Kane fluffed his lines with a glaring miss in the second half from six yards out with the goal gaping.

That missed chance summed up Spurs’ night. Nothing went right and whether you can put that down to the law of averages or struggling to cope with the rising pressure on their shoulders, it’s hard to judge. A win would have sent Spurs to the top of the table but their away fans had absolutely nothing to shout about after perhaps their worst display of the season. West Ham bullied and pressed them high, but Spurs were out-of-sorts and have now put more pressure on themselves ahead of the North London Derby this weekend. Pochettino needs a response from his young side in a pressure-cooker environment and he’ll hope their shocking display at Upton Park was no more than a blip. Spurs hadn’t been top of the league in March since 1964. Perhaps the weight of expectancy is finally impacting Pochettino’s young side.

ANTONIO’S HOT-STREAK CONTINUES

Forget his Homer Simpson celebration after his goal against Sunderland on Saturday. Forget his Carlton Banks celebration after scoring against Tottenham on Wednesday. The most impressive thing about Michail Antonio is his incredible work rate.

Antonio, 25, only made his Premier League debut earlier this season but after scraping away in the non-league scene and the lower leagues, he’s taking his chance in the top-flight by the scruff of the neck. I’ve been watching Antonio closely since he was in League One with Southampton in 2009. He has always had raw pace and power but you’d question his final ball or cross into the box. That’s improved. So has his finishing. He even scored another but it was ruled out with Emmanuel Emenike offside and flashed a volley over from another Payet free kick in the second half.

Antonio has now scored six goals in his last seven appearances at the Boleyn Ground and his deft flicked header at the neat post beat Hugo Lloris when perhaps he should have done better. Take nothing away from Antonio, it was a powerful header and the winger from south London is in the form of his life. And oh yeah, he was deployed out of position at right wing-back on Wednesday as his defensive duties were warmly applauded on multiple occasions by the home fans. West Ham have all of a sudden launched themselves into a top four challenge. They sit one point behind fourth-placed Manchester City with 10 games to go and are 14 games unbeaten at home, a run which stretches back to August. Antonio, more than anyone in Claret and Blue, epitomizes the relentless work rate of Slaven Bilic‘s side who were set up in a 3-5-2 formation. With just five games left at their famous Boleyn Ground home, the Hammers look well-placed to secure their best ever finish in the Premier League. Through sheer hard work and desire they continue to impress and delivered a special performance for their fans against one of their fiercest rivals.

STATUS QUO, DESPITE DEFEAT, FOR SPURS

Despite this dismal display, Spurs are in the same spot they were before the game. Three points behind leaders Leicester City and three points ahead of Arsenal who they face on Saturday in the hugely pivotal North London Derby.

This was a big opportunity missed for Tottenham but it certainly isn’t the end of their title hopes. With Leicester drawing on Tuesday, Arsenal losing 2-1 at home to Swansea City on Wednesday and Manchester City losing 3-0 at Liverpool, they haven’t lost any ground. Speaking after the game, Pochettino pointed to the incredibly competitive nature of the PL this season to try and explain why the big teams are slipping up. Pochettino also mentioned that Spurs have played three games in a week, but failed to make excuses for their first half display.

“The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world. You can see this every week,” Pochetino said. “For different reasons, it is not easy to play every week. We are at the top and come from a very busy period where we play Europa League, FA Cup and Premier League in one week. This is tough. But there are no excuses, only that we were poor in the first half.”

With 10 games to go, perhaps this defeat will give Spurs a wake up call and spring them into life. They can’t afford to waste this golden opportunity to challenge for the title, especially with everybody else slipping up around them. They remain in the hunt but will have to pick themselves up.

Watch Live: West Ham United vs. Tottenham (Lineups & Live Stream)

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Tottenham has rattled off six straight wins and can go top of the table with a win on the road at Upton Park as they take on West Ham United at 2:45 p.m. ET live online at NBC Sports Live Extra. Tottenham has not been top of the table in March or later since 1964.

The Hammers could also use the points, very much still in the hunt for a European place, sitting with 44 points in sixth place, just one back of Manchester United and three behind Manchester City in the final Champions League place.

[ WATCH LIVE: West Ham vs. Tottenham live online at NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Spurs are missing influential midfielder Dele Alli from the starting lineup, but he does appear in the squad on the bench. Mousa Dembele is not recovered from his groin stran and misses out, as does Tom Carroll who picked up an Achillies problem.

Meanwhile, Diafra Sakho makes the squad for the first time since November, having recovered from his thigh injury enough to appear on the bench. Winston Reid, Joey O'Brien, James Tomkins and Enner Valencia are all injured and unable to make the squad. That leaves Emmanuel Emenike to make just his second start for West Ham up front.

LINEUPS

West Ham: Adrian, Antonio, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Obiang, Noble, Kouyate, Lanzini, Payet, Emenike.
Subs: 
Randolph, Song, Carroll, Sakho, Oxford, Henry, Dobson.

Tottenham: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Davies; Dier, Mason; Lamela, Chadli, Eriksen; Kane.
Subs: 
Vorm, Rose, Walker, Alli, Carroll, Onomah, Son.