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Analyzing the Premier League relegation battle

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The battle at the bottom of the Premier League table has intensified over the past few weeks, as eight teams are now embroiled in the relegation scrap.

This is getting intense.

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Big wins for Cardiff City, Burnley and Newcastle have muddled the situation, while only Fulham and Huddersfield seem doomed for the drop. That means six teams are scrapping to stay out of 18th place.

Below we take a look at the situation for the bottom eight clubs with 12 games to go, while the likes of Leicester, Bournemouth, West Ham and Everton will also be looking over their shoulders nervously.


Huddersfield

The Terriers are already prepping for next season in the second-tier under Jan Siewert and haven’t won a PL game since November. Scoring goals has been their big problem, and they have plenty of big boys to play in the final weeks of the season. Adding another 11 points from their final 12 games seems a tad generous too…

Current position: 20th
Current points: 11
Games remaining: Newcastle (A), Wolves (H), Brighton (A), Bournemouth (H), West Ham (A), Crystal Palace (A), Leicester (H), Tottenham (A), Watford (H), Liverpool (A), Man United (H), Southampton (A)
Projected final points tally: 22 points


Fulham

The Cottagers are really up against it now and they play three of the top five in their remaining games. They can still get out of trouble, but it seems very unlikely. Claudio Ranieri is being lambasted by his own fans and even though they look capable of scoring, Fulham’s defensive displays have been ghastly all season long.

Current position: 19th
Current points: 17
Games remaining: West Ham (A), Southampton (A), Chelsea (H), Leicester (A), Liverpool (H), Man City (H), Watford (A), Everton (H), Bournemouth (A), Cardiff (H), Wolves (A), Newcastle (H)
Projected final points tally: 29 points


Southampton

Not beating any of Cardiff, Palace and Burnley in their last three was a huge blow fore Saints after a good run of wins. Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men will likely go into the final week of the season with a chance of staying up. For the second season running Southampton are in big trouble and their hopes rely on Danny Ings staying fit. Saints’ survival hopes will go down to the wire once again.

Current position: 18th
Current points: 24
Games remaining: Arsenal (A), Fulham (H), Man United (A), Tottenham (H), Watford (A), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H), Wolves (H), Newcastle (A), Bournemouth (H), West Ham (A), Huddersfield (H)
Projected final points tally: 39 points


Cardiff City

The Bluebirds have been in great form recently with big wins against Bournemouth and Saints boosting their survival hopes. They have games against each of the top four remaining, but they have momentum. Neil Warnock‘s side will have the neutrals support in the run-in, but do they have the goals to seal the deal?

Current position: 17th
Current points: 25
Games remaining: Watford (H), Everton (H), Wolves (A), West Ham (H), Brighton (A), Chelsea (H), Man City (A), Burnley (A), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A), Crystal Palace (H), Man United (A)
Projected final points tally: 39 points


Newcastle United

Newcastle have played really well in recent weeks and look sharp going forward. Miguel Almiron will be key, but their schedule is extremely favorable as their toughest games remaining are against Arsenal and Liverpool, with the latter at home.

Current position: 16th
Current points: 25
Games remaining: Huddersfield (H), Burnley (H), West Ham (A), Everton (H), Bournemouth (A), Arsenal (A), Crystal Palace (H), Leicester (A), Southampton (H), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A)
Projected final points tally: 42 points


Burnley

Sean Dyche‘s men have been in fine form recently and despite a tough final few months of the season (schedule wise) they’ve turned the corner. The Clarets should be fine, just about, but their final four games are very tough. Have to get points on the board ASAP.

Current position: 15th
Current points: 27
Games remaining: Tottenham (H), Newcastle (A), Crystal Palace (H), Liverpool (A), Leicester (H), Wolves (H), Bournemouth (A), Cardiff (H), Chelsea (A), Man City (H), Everton (A), Arsenal (H)
Projected final points tally: 40 points


Brighton & Hove Albion

If there’s one team everyone is expecting to get dragged into the bottom three it is Brighton. They have won one of their last 11 PL games and Chris Hughton‘s side are making big defensive mistakes. They still have to play four of the top five. If Glenn Murray doesn’t regain his form, Brighton are in big trouble.

Current position: 14th
Current points: 27
Games remaining: Leicester (A), Huddersfield (H), Crystal Palace (A), Cardiff (H), Southampton (H), Tottenham (A), Bournemouth (H), Wolves (A), Newcastle (H), Arsenal (A), Man City (H), Chelsea (A)
Projected final points tally: 37 points


Crystal Palace

The addition of Michy Basthuayi and the return to form of Wilfried Zaha means Palace will be fine. They aren’t great to watch, but Roy Hodgson will get the job done. Not the easiest schedule remaining, but they are more than capable of picking up a few shock wins.

Current position: 13th
Current points: 27
Games remaining: Leicester (A), Man United (H), Burnley (A), Brighton (H), Tottenham (A), Huddersfield (H), Newcastle (A), Man City (H), Arsenal (A), Everton (H), Cardiff (A), Bournemouth (H)
Projected final points tally: 41 points


Premier League preview: Brighton v. Burnley

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  • Burnley has never lost a top-flight match to Brighton
  • Brighton has not at home to a PL side outside the top 4 this season
  • Burnley ended a 67-match PL penalty-less streak last time out

A critical relegation battle takes place at Falmer Stadium on Saturday as Burnley travels to Brighton & Hove Albion at 12:30 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Burnley sits in 17th position, just two points and one place above the relegation zone. Brighton is in a safer position, sitting 13th but just three above Burnley in a tight bottom third of the table. The Seagulls started the season brightly, but have not won in league play in 2019, leaving them vulnerable as the teams at the bottom battle for points.

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The hosts will be without striker Florin Andone, who was suspended three matches for violent conduct after throwing a wayward elbow in the 0-0 draw with Watford last time out. Dale Stephens also left the Watford match with a hip problem and is questionable for this weekend, but Jose Izquierdo is reportedly out despite having returned to training from a knee injury.

For Burnley, Steven Defour nears a return from a calf injury that has cost him over two months of this season, but this weekend appears too soon for his return. Matt Lowton has a slightly fractured toe, but will still give this match a try, while defenders Matt Lowton and Kevin Long are looking more likely to play after returning to training. The Clarets are on a good run of form, unbeaten in their last six, coinciding with the return of Tom Heaton in goal who has helped hold opponents to just five goals in that span.

What they’re saying

Burnley manager Sean Dyche on Brighton: “They’re on a tough run and they’ll be wanting to correct that, for sure. We’re on a good run, we’ll be wanting to continue that. It makes for another good game.”

Brighton striker Glenn Murray on poor run of form: “We are absolutely fine behind closed doors, no matter what people are saying. We feel confident. We are happy with the way we are playing. We felt as though we dominated the game on Saturday at home to Watford in the Premier League. Again [Wednesday in the FA Cup] we felt as though we put a good display on and won the game.”

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Prediction

Brighton comes into this match in poor form, and Burnley needs the game more. With the Clarets’ good results of late, they have something to build on, and pulling themselves further away from the relegation scrap is a motivation that can have the team truly rearing to go. Burnley grabs a valuable road win in a hard-fought 1-0 victory.

Dyche hammers officials after penalty kick drama

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Burnley received their first penalty kick in 68 games on Saturday, but their manager Sean Dyche was far from happy. 

He wanted two spot kicks.

Ashley Barnes dispatched a 94th-minute spot kick to snatch a 1-1 draw with Burnley’s relegation rivals Southampton, however Barnes looked to have been fouled in the first half by Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy but nothing was given.

Barnes was booked by referee Anthony Taylor for his anger at not getting a penalty kick, and the officials were booed and branded cheats by Burnley’s fans throughout the game.

Dyche didn’t go as far as calling them cheats, but he admitted it was “impossible” that his team weren’t awarded two spot kicks and didn’t win the game.

“Had we come away with nothing today you’d struggle to believe what was going on. The first decision baffles me,” Dyche told the BBC’s Match of the Day. “I am outspoken when people go down too easy. Ashley Barnes had no other choice as the keeper takes the legs away and yet Ashley comes away with a booking.

“But we just kept knocking at the door. We were relentless in our attitude again and that is coming back into our play at speed. The least we deserved was a point. I can’t be any more clear in my idea. That first one was just a plain, simple penalty. I will be amazed if strikers in the studio say it wasn’t a penalty.”

Barnes backed up Dyche’s comments by adding that they “should have won” the game, but there was a hint of luck about their last-gasp penalty kick. Jack Stephens handled the ball as the cross came in, but Peter Crouch was all over him and Crouch did head the ball on to Stephens’ arm from close range.

A draw was probably a fair result in this game, but Saints will no doubt feel that Taylor and his officiating crew were keen to even things up after missing a clear penalty kick in the first half.

Premier League January transfer window grades (video)

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The deals have now been done. Every Premier League club now knows the squad of players they have until the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Like it or not, this is what they have to work with.

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After a flurry of deals on Transfer Deadline Day, and some big movements in January, plenty of clubs have freshened things up ahead of the final push between now and May.

Below we give each team a grade based on how they fared, overall, in the January transfer window.


Arsenal: C

A pretty average window for Arsenal. Denis Suarez arrived on loan and will add some extra quality in midfield, but did they really need another silky midfielder? Probs not. A failure to strengthen in defense, especially after a spate of injuries, is a real concern. With no money to spend, we probably expected too much as late deals for Ivan Perisic and Christopher Nkunku didn’t materialize.

In: Denis Suarez (Barcelona) Loan
Out: Emiliano Martinez (Reading) Loan, Emile Smith Rowe (RB Leipzig) Loan


Bournemouth: B

The Cherries did their business early and their squad is looking stronger with Clyne and Mepham adding quality to their defensive unit. Solanke, when he returns to full fitness, will be a handful and keeping hold of Callum Wilson was perhaps the best piece of business Eddie Howe did this month.

In: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) Loan, Chris Mepham (Brentford) $15 million, Keelan O'Connell (Morton) Loan, Dominic Solanke (Liverpool) $24.1 million
Out: Jermain Defoe (Rangers) Loan, Alex Dobre (Yeovil Town) Loan, Tyrell Hamilton (Salisbury) Loan, Jordan Holmes (St Mirren) Loan, Corey Jordan (Eastbourne Borough) Loan, Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) Loan, Marc Pugh (Hull City) Loan, Aaron Ramsdale (AFC Wimbledon) Loan, Charlie Seaman (Dundee United) Loan, Matt Worthington (Yeovil Town) Free


Brighton & Hove Albion: D

Very quiet January for Brighton and you have to think they needed a bit of extra quality, especially in attack, to stop their recent slide down the table. Chris Hughton brought in plenty of players in the summer, so this stance is understandable.

In: Tudor-Cristian Baluta (Viitorul Constanta) Undisclosed, Alexis Mac Allister (Argentinos Juniors) Undisclosed, Jan Mlakar (NK Maribor) Undisclosed

Out: Billy Arce (CS Emelec) Loan, Ben Barclay (Notts County) Loan, George Cox (Northampton Town) Loan, Anders Dreyer (St Mirren) Loan, Josh Kerr (Derry City) Loan, Jordan Maguire-Drew (Leyton Orient) Undisclosed, Mathias Normann (FC Rostov) Undisclosed, Oliver Norwood (Sheff Utd) Undisclosed, Ezequiel Schelotto (Chievo) Loan, Markus Suttner (Fortuna Dusseldorf) Loan, Ben White (Peterborough) Loan, Alexis Mac Allister (Argentinos Juniors) Loan, Stefan Ljubicic (Eastbourne Borough) Loan


Burnley: C

A bizarre deal on Deadline Day highlighted January for Sean Dyche‘s improving side. Sam Vokes left for Stoke and Peter Crouch arrived as the veteran will fit their system well off the bench. You can already picture Crouch getting on the end of those crosses from Burnley’s wingers and full backs…

In: Peter Crouch (Stoke City) Undisclosed

Out: Jimmy Dunne (Sunderland) Loan, Ali Koiki (Swindon Town) Loan, Ntumba Massanka (RWD Molenbeek) Loan,, George McMahon (Ashton United) Loan, Conor Mitchell (Linfield) Loan, Sam Vokes (Stoke City) Undisclosed


Cardiff City: C+

Neil Warnock focused all of his attention on Emiliano Sala, who became their club-record signing, and his tragic disappearance has hit Cardiff City hard on and off the pitch. Niasse and Bacuna will play right away and are shrewd additions, but Cardiff would have wanted to do a bit more business.

In: Leandro Bacuna (Reading) Undisclosed, Oumar Niasse (Everton) Loan, Emiliano Sala (Nantes) Undisclosed

Out: Omar Bogle (Portsmouth) Loan, Ciaron Brown (Livingston) Loan, Mark Harris (Port Vale) Loan, Gary Madine (Sheffield United) Loan, Paul McKay (Morecambe) Loan, Anthony Pilkington Released, Lee Tomlin (Peterborough)


Chelsea: B

Christian Pulisic’s arrival for $73 million happened right at the start of the window and long-term he will prove to be a good buy. Gonzalo Higuain arriving on loan was necessary, as Cesc Fabregas, Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi all departed. Maurizio Sarri needs to make Higuain’s move work, but he will be a little miffed he didn’t sign a new central midfielder.

In: Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) Undisclosed, Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus) Loan

Out: Lewis Baker (Reading) Loan, Cesc Fabregas (Monaco) Undisclosed, Josh Grant (Yeovil Town) Loan, Matt Miazga (Reading) Loan, Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid) Loan, Victor Moses (Fenerbahce) Loan, Lucas Piazon (Chievo) Loan, Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) Loan, Kasey Palmer (Bristol City) Loan, Karlo Ziger (Sutton United) Loan, Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace) Loan


Crystal Palace: B+

The addition of Michy Batshuayi on Deadline Day changed Palace’s fortunes, as he will provide a real focal point to their attack. Bakary Sako‘s return was unexpected but makes sense, and Palace really needed extra options in attack as they’re sorted in mdifield and defense. A very good window for Roy Hogdson, overall.

In: Lucas Perri (Sao Paulo) Loan, Bakary Sako (West Brom) Undisclosed, Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea) Loan
Out: Joseph Hungbo (Margate) Loan, Sullay Kaikai (Breda) Undisclosed, Nya Kirby (Blackpool) Loan,  Jordon Mutch (released), Jason Puncheon (Huddersfield Town) Loan, Alexander Sorloth (KAA Gent) Loan, Oliver Webber (Greenwich Borough) Loan, Jonny Williams (Charlton) Undisclosed


Everton: D

Marco Silva will have wanted to sign a new striker in the window, but he did spent plenty of cash in the summer. Everton have loaned out a few fringe players, but if they had signed someone like Batshuayi then they would have improved their chances of finishing seventh drastically. Keeping hold of midfield destoryer Idrissa Gueye, who was chased by PSG up until the window closed, was their best piece of business this window.

In: None
Out: Kieran Dowell (Sheffield Utd) Loan, Mason Holgate (West Brom) Loan, Shayne Lavery (Falkirk) Loan, Cuco Martina (Feyenoord) Loan, Oumar Niasse (Cardiff City) Loan, Yannick Bolasie (Anderlecht) Loan


Fulham: D

Claudio Ranieri‘s side needed to sign plenty of new defenders this month. They signed one in Norwegian utility man Havard Nordtveit on Deadline Day, but Gary Cahill turned them down. Lazar Markovic also arrived right at the end of the window, but he’s yet another attacking player. Ryan Babel adds an extra dimension to their attack, but you have to feel that this Fulham squad is still unbalanced.

In: Ryan Babel (Besiktas) Undisclosed, Havard Nordtveit (Hoffenheim) Loan, Lazar Markovic (Liverpool) Undisclosed
Out: Stephen Humphrys (Southend) Undisclosed, Aboubakar Kamara (Pictured, Yeni Malatyaspor) Loan


Huddersfield Town: D

The Terriers look resigned to relegation and their business in January proved it. David Wagner‘s departure meant big deals were unlikely for new manager Jan Siewert, but Jason Puncheon is a solid addition. That said, Huddersfield needed to spend big in the window if they were going to give themselves any chance of staying up. They didn’t.

In: Jaden Brown (Spurs) Undisclosed,  Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) Loan, Karlan Grant (Charlton Athletic) Undisclosed
Out: Jaden Brown (Exeter City) Loan, Rarmani Edmonds-Green (Brighouse Town) Loan, Rekeil Pyke (Rochdale) Loan,  Collin Quaner (Ipswich Town) Loan, Ryan Schofield (Notts County) Loan, Ramadan Sobhi (Al Ahly) Loan, Rajiv Van la Parra (Middlesbrough)


Leicester City: C

One addition in January came on Deadline Day, and Leicester added promising Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans from Monaco. Adrien Silva went in the opposite direction, and Tielemans is a quality pick up. The 21-year-old shone at Anderlecht in the past and played for Belgium at the World Cup in the summer.

In: Youri Tielemans (AS Monaco) Loan
Out: Yohan Benalouane (Nottingham Forest) Undisclosed, Fousseni Diabate (Sivasspor) Loan, Callum Elder (Ipswich) Loan, Vicente Iborra (Villarreal) Undisclosed, Adrien Silva (Monaco) Loan


Liverpool: C

No additions for Liverpool, and their squad is so strong that is not surprising. Solanke and Clyne moved to Bournemouth and Jurgen Klopp may have been tempted to bring in a new defender to help with some injuries. In the end, Liverpool did what they needed to: nothing.

In: None
Out: Nathaniel Clyne (AFC Bournemouth) Loan, Ovie Ejaria (Reading) Loan, Liam Miller (Kilmarnock) Loan, Dominic Solanke (AFC Bournemouth) Undisclosed


Manchester City: C-

Pep Guardiola‘s men were linked with adding cover in central midfield to help Fernandinho, and they did sign promising Croatian midfielder Ante Palaversa from Hajduk Split. He was loaned back to the Croatian side right away and the 18-year-old is highly rated in his homeland.

In: Ante Palaversa (Hajduk Split) Undisclosed
Out: Brahim Diaz (Real Madrid) Undisclosed,  Ed Francis (Wolves) Undisclosed Luke Bolton (Wycombe Wanderers) Loan, Rabbi Matondo (Schalke) Undisclosed, Ante Palaversa (Hajduk Split) Loan


Manchester United: C

A quiet window, as expected, at United as caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has improved their star players straight away. Easy window.

In: None
Out: Ethan Hamilton (Rochdale) Loan, Joel Pereira (KV Kortrijk) Loan, Regan Poole (Newport) Loan, Ro-Shaun Williams (Shrewsbury Town) Undisclosed


Newcastle United: B+

One of the winners of the window, as Rafael Benitez was given money to spend as they broke their club-record transfer fee and paid $27.5 million for Miguel Almiron. The Paraguayan attacker has been a revelation in MLS and although this is a huge step up, his arrival is something we didn’t think we would see under Mike Ashley.

In: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United) $27.5 million, Antonio Barreca (Monaco) Loan
Out: Liam Gibson (Accrington) Loan, Elias Sorensen (Blackpool) Loan, Jamie Sterry (Crewe) Loan,  Josef Yarney (Chesterfield)


Southampton: C-

No arrivals at Saints in January as Ralph Hasenhuttl focused on trimming his squad and promoting youth players. Out went Davis, Gabbiadini, Hoedt and Cedric, with Charlie Austin nearly leaving too. Could the failure to add a striker this month cost Southampton their place in the Premier League? We will wait and see, but this was a window which sees them have a leaner and better-balanced squad. From the outside looking in it seems like Saints got rid of plenty of talented players for no reason. A risky tactic from Hasenhuttl, but he is all about the team-first approach.

In: None
Out: Steven Davis (Rangers) Loan, Manolo Gabbiadini (Sampdoria) Undisclosed, Wesley Hoedt (Celta Vigo) Loan, Ryan Seager Released, Cedric Soares (Inter Milan) Loan


Tottenham Hotspur: C

Tottenham have now gone a full 12 months without signing a single player. Wow. Losing Mousa Dembele was a blow, but expected, as Harry Winks and Oliver Skipp will be expected to pick up the slack. Tottenham have suffered with injuries, but can they afford players who will make their squad better? Not right now given the move to their new stadium. Sensible business for Mauricio Pochettino even if they tried to chase an extra striker late in the window.

In: None
Out: Jaden Brown (Huddersfield Town) Undisclosed, Mousa Dembele (Guangzhou R&F) Undisclosed, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Monaco) Loan, Kazaiah Sterling (Sunderland) Loan


Watford: C

The biggest win in January for Watford was keeping hold of Abdoulaye Doucoure as PSG were linked with a move for him. Quiet window for Javi Gracia, as he continues to get this Watford squad performing above their potential.

In: Adam Parkes (Southampton) Undisclosed
Out: Stefano Okaka (Udinese) Loan, Jerome Sinclair (Oxford United) Loan, Ben Wilmot (Udinese) Loan, Randell Williams (Exeter City) Undisclosed, Marvin Zeegelaar (Udinese) Loan


West Ham United: C+

A strange window for the Hammers as Marko Arnautovic was linked with a move to the Chinese Super League but ended up signing a new contract with the club. They were linked with a big money move for Uruguayan striker Maxi Lopez and that may now happen in the summer, while Samir Nasri‘s arrival on a free transfer was a smart pick up.

In: Samir Nasri (Unattached) Free, Mesaque Dju (Benfica) Undisclosed
Out: Sead Haksabanovic (Norrkoping) Loan, Moses Makasi (Stevenage) Loan, Toni Martinez (Lugo) Loan, Vashon Neufville (Newport) Loan, Reece Oxford (FC Augsburg) Loan,
Joe Powell (Northampton) Loan


Wolverhampton Wanderers: C

Wolves were looking at adding some extra cover in attack, with Tammy Abraham close to joining on loan right at the start of the window. In the end, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men didn’t really need extra help going forward and signing right back Jonny from Atletico Madrid on a permanent basis on Deadline Day was superb business.

In: David Wang (Jumilla B) Undisclosed, Ed Francis (Manchester City) Undisclosed, Jonny (Atletico Madrid) Undisclosed
Out: Benik Afobe (Stoke) Undisclosed, Danny Batth (Stoke) Undisclosed, Harry Burgoyne (Falkirk) Loan, Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Rochdale) Loan, Bright Enobakhare (Coventry) Loan, Kortney Hause (Aston Villa) Loan, Ben Stevenson (Colchester United) Undisclosed,  David Wang (Sporting Lisbon) Loan

Man Utd scores twice late v. Burnley (video)

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  • Barnes takes advantage of Andreas mistake
  • Wood doubles lead
  • Pogba, Lindelof score late

Manchester United left it late, but scored twice in the final six minutes to take a point from game Burnley at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood scored for Burnley, who nearly handed United its first loss of the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era.

United moves to 45 points, two fewer than fourth place Chelsea and fifth place Arsenal, while Burnley is 15th with 23.

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Manchester United had the early upper hand, but it was Phil Jones who had to act quickly to deny Barnes and Burnleyan early lead.

Luke Shaw tried a bounding half-volley in the 20th minute, but the ball headed wide of the far post.

Paul Pogba had an opener rightly called back when Juan Mata found the Frenchman in an offside position.

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Jack Cork forced Andreas Pereira into a turnover 10 yards outside the 18, and the ex-Swans man slipped Barnes on goal to lash a shot past David De Gea.

Romelu Lukaku‘s chances of scoring with his last chance of the game were foiled by a wonderful Heaton save in the 67th minute.

Ashley Westwood then continued his fine assist with a cross that Wood headed behind De Gea.

Pogba clawed a goal back for United from the spot when Jesse Lingard embellished a foul on his shoulder to get a penalty kick with three minutes left in the 90.