Bournemouth 0-2 Man Utd: Red Devils tighten grip on 2nd

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  • United moves to 74 points
  • Smalling scores from Lingard
  • Pogba assists Lukaku
  • Bournemouth remains 11th

Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku scored as Manchester United rebounded from a weekend loss to top Bournemouth 2-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday.

United moves four points clear of Liverpool and six ahead of Spurs in the race for second, with all three teams having played 34 matches.

Bournemouth sits 11th with 38 points, three back of Newcastle which has played two fewer matches.

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Bournemouth was busy in the first 10 minutes, capped by a Phil Jones intervention to thwart a burst by Callum Wilson, and Jordon Ibe’s shot going wide of goal.

United had a top chance through Rashford, who muscled the ball off Nathan Ake and had a rip diverted for a corner by Asmir Begovic.

The goal came moments later, with Smalling darting into the six to meet a feed from Jesse Lingard.

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[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Luke Shaw dodged giving a way a penalty when he wrapped up Wilson on a 56th minute cross.

United made it 2-0 with a classy connection between Pogba and Lukaku, who finished with a deft chop over the sliding Begovic.

Mourinho’s HT message: “We didn’t want to be the clowns”

AP Photo/Matt Dunham
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Jose Mourinho claims Manchester United didn’t set out to spoil Manchester City’s party, that Saturday’s 3-2 comeback victory in the Manchester derby was about just that — the allure of the derby, and three points — but does anyone really believe him?

[ PL ROUNDUP: United deny City their title; Spurs inch closer to Liverpool ]

Just consider the fact that Man City were one win away from lifting the Premier League title and jumping up and down at midfield, after their bitter rivals formed the ceremonial guard of honor and were forced to watch from the sidelines; that it would have been Mourinho’s greatest rival, Pep Guardiola, passing him by and spraying champagne; that City’s successes are directly and immediately identified as United failures.

“My objective here was to get points and not spoil any celebrations,” Mourinho said after the game, and the reporter holding the microphone must have been forced to stifle exasperations — quotes from the BBC:

“I was really sad with the first goal and I think it is the third corner they scored against us this season.

“Then with the second it was important for the players to keep confident. We moved the ball, more than any team has against Manchester City. We pressed a bit higher and we keep the shape to get a good result.

“I think mathematically we need six points to stay in the top four and this win is part of that tonight.”

“Our challenge is to finish second but I want to congratulate City for the title because they are going to win and deservedly. They gave no chance to the others because they had this season of don’t stop winning.

“My objective here was to get points and not spoil any celebrations. The point is, can we improve enough to catch them next season?”

Chris Smalling, who scored the winning goal to cap a 16-minute period which saw United score all three of their goals, revealed that Mourinho’s halftime message had resonated inside the locker room, that “we didn’t want to be the clowns standing there watching them” lift the PL trophy — quotes from the BBC:

“The manager didn’t have to say much at half time as we knew ourselves as players it was a poor performance. He said that we didn’t want to be the clowns standing there watching them get their title.

“City have been fantastic here all season, but we stepped up and won the game.”

Not yet: Pogba leads Manchester Derby comeback

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  • Kompany heads City in front
  • Gundogan coolly makes it 2-0
  • WATCH: City’s goals
  • Pogba’s quickfire brace levels it
  • Alexis Sanchez involved in 3 goals
  • City fails to clinch title

It took 16 minutes for Manchester City’s day to go from celebrating the Premier League title to losing to a rival for the second time in a week.

Paul Pogba scored twice in 100 second-half seconds to put Manchester City’s title celebrations on pause, and Chris Smalling made amends for an early error to lead United to a 3-2 win over City on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.

Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan scored to stake City to a halftime lead. City can next win the league with a win at Tottenham next week accompanied by a Man Utd loss versus West Brom.

United is now 13 points behind City and four points ahead of Liverpool and Tottenham.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The home support at the Etihad was screaming for a penalty when a sliding Antonio Valencia saw a cross bound off his hand.

United earned a corner kick when Ederson played short to Vincent Kompany out of the box. The Belgian’s pass was picked off by a surging Red Devils press.

Paul Pogba had a few timely interventions in the center of the park, though one was unaided by his teammates and led to David Silva lashing over the goal.

David De Gea made a right leg stop when Bernardo Silva got a tame in-tight effort on goal.

The poetics of Kompany getting on the board in the 25th minute aren’t lost on the blue side of Manchester, and he thundered by Chris Smalling to smoke a header beyond De Gea despite a strong tug on the back of shirt.

An ethereal turn from Gundogan put the title on their lips, as he finished a 1-2 by slipping a goal inside the far post.

Raheem Sterling skied two good chances to make it 3-0 over the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It wouldn’t have been a Manchester Derby with a drama-free second half, but Pogba made sure it was chock full of fun.

First, the United midfielder ran into the box to collect an Ander Herrera chest pass of Alexis Sanchez’s cross, and it was less than four minutes later that he deftly headed Sanchez’s cross directly to make it 2-2.

Jesse Lingard dragged a shot wide in the 60th minute as United looked to complete the comeback, but the Red Devils found their 3-2 lead through Smalling when the defender raced onto Sanchez’s free kick in the 70th minute.

Now down to a rival for the second time in a week, Guardiola introduced Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus. Then Sergio Aguero, who nearly won a penalty when Young skittered into his ankle inside the box after knocking the ball away from the Argentine.

The game descended into a foul and banter festival for about five minutes, as Martin Atkinson handed out yellow cards to Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero, and Paul Pogba.

De Gea didn’t have his A-plus game, but made an A-plus save on Aguero in the 89th minute. And he made an outstanding save when Sterling plunked a ball off the post and back toward the goal line on the ensuing corner kick.

Crystal Palace 2-3 Manchester United: Red Devils roar back

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  • Townsend’s deflected shot opens scoring
  • Quick restart fools United for 2-0
  • Smalling heads in Valencia cross
  • Lukaku levels late
  • Matic wins it in stoppage

Nemanja Matic, Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling scored as Manchester United made amends for a woeful start with a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday.

The win puts United back ahead of Liverpool and into second place in the Premier League. The Red Devils are a full nine points clear of fifth place Chelsea.

Andros Townsend and Patrick Van Aanholt opened up a 2- 0 lead for Palace, who remains in the drop zone with 27 points.

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Nemanja Matic was particularly active in the first five minutes, and showed he’d be a key factor in helping to shut down Palace’s twin towers of Alexander Sorloth and Christian Benteke.

James Tomkins tried an overhead kick off a scrum for Palace’s first real chance, while Wayne Hennessey leapt high to defy an Alexis Sanchez header at the other end.

Palace went ahead in the 11th minute, as Benteke was given time and space by Chris Smalling to find Townsend. The English winger’s shot deflected wildly off Victor Lindelof‘s head and beat De Gea. 1-0.

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[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Van Aanholt’s seen his share of relegation scraps, and zipped onto a quick restart to dribble beyond a protesting Smalling and belt a shot past De Gea. 2-0, 48′.

Smalling got one back when Tomkins and the rest of Palace left him alone at the back post to nod Antonio Valencia‘s cross past Hennessey.

United was all over Palace for the remainder of the match, and Matic thought he deserved a penalty for an incident around the time of his hitting the post.

Palace conceded the equalizer in a painful way, as Alexis Sanchez’s deflected shot fell off the cross bar to Lukaku, who waited for Van Aanholt’s block attempt before pounding it home with his left peg.

Benteke and Sorloth each came for the lead in the 77th minute, with De Gea making an outstanding save on the former.

Matic’s winner, early in stoppage, was reminiscent of his goal for Chelsea against Spurs last season, as he belted a rebound from well outside the 18.

Man United 4-1 Newcastle: Pogba’s star (re)turn

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  • Red Devils fall behind early
  • Pogba’s return: goal, assist
  • Gayle’s goal, Yedlin’s assist
  • Martial, Smalling flip the score before HT

It was like Paul Pogba hadn’t been away for even one day of the last 10 weeks, as the French superstar returned from a hamstring injury and inspire Manchester United’s 4-1 victory over Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Zlatan Ibrahimovic also returned from the torn ACL he suffered in April, making his first appearance in seven months — two months ahead of schedule — as a 77th-minute substitute.

Saturday’s rout wasn’t always straightforward and easy for Man United, as the final score might deceive.

Newcastle struck first in an action-packed, goal-filled first half. U.S. national team right back DeAndre Yedlin tallied his first assist of the PL season, as he sped to the end line and cut a low cross toward the penalty spot, finding the late-arriving Dwight Gayle for a gentle finish

The lead lasted 23 minutes, until Pogba marked his return to action with a delightful assist for Anthony Martial‘s equalizer. Pogba danced past Isaac Hayden, raced toward the end line and floated a delicate ball to the back post, where his compatriot headed home.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Right on the stroke of halftime, United went 2-1 up after Chris Smalling headed home Ashley Young‘s lofted cross to the back post. Smalling remained forward after a short corner Young acres of space to pick his head up and hit the right ball.

United required only nine minutes to double their lead, and it was Pogba, once again proving his worth to the side, who got the goal. Romelu Lukaku floated a cross to Marcus Rashford at the back post, and Rashford’s cushioned header dropped the ball into no-man’s land. Pogba reacted quickest. 3-1. Pogba’s back, and so is United’s swagger.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Seconds after Pogba was subbed — without incident — Lukaku pounced on Florian Lejeune‘s botched clearance inside his own penalty area and slammed a left-footed shot past Robert Elliot.

As exciting as the performance and result were, it was only enough to keep United on pace — eight points back — with Premier League leaders Manchester City, who also won on Saturday.