World Sports News in Brief

Man United close in on Liverpool with 2-1 Villa win

Saturday, 2021-01-02 09:13:43
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Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Aston Villa - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - January 1, 2021 Aston Villa's Keinan Davis in action with Manchester United's Nemanja Matic and Harry Maguire. (Photo: Pool via Reuters)
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Manchester United closed in on the Premier League’s pole position after a 2-1 home win over Aston Villa on Friday (Jan 1) put them level on points and games played with champions and leaders Liverpool.

United trail their traditional rivals on goal difference with both teams on 33 points from 16 matches. Liverpool travel to Southampton on Monday.

* A late strike from Tomas Soucek gave West Ham United a 1-0 win at Everton in the first Premier League game of 2021 that had been short on fireworks until the Czech midfielder’s well-deserved winner in the 86th minute. Soucek’s goal gave West Ham boss David Moyes his first victory at Goodison Park since leaving Everton in 2013.

* Two Championship matches scheduled for Saturday (Jan 2) have been postponed after Bristol City and Luton Town reported COVID-19 outbreaks in their squads on Friday. City were scheduled to play second-placed Brentford while Luton were set to host Queens Park Rangers. The positive tests come three days after Luton hosted City and beat them 2-1.

* Sheffield United's drastic dip in form this season is one of the sport's anomalies but they are still a team that can be tough to beat even as they search for their first win, Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson said on Friday. Palace lost both home and away to United last season and Hodgson said his side, who are winless in five games, will be the underdogs on Saturday.

* Five Manchester City first team players have tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be involved when they play Chelsea in the Premier League this weekend, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.

* Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says their preparations for Sunday's (Jan 3) Premier League clash against Manchester City will go ahead as planned despite fresh COVID-19 cases at both clubs this week.

* Chelsea recorded a profit of 32.5 million pounds (US$44.44 million) in the last financial year despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Premier League club has said. Chelsea said turnover for the year ended June 30, 2020 was 407.4 million pounds, down from 446.7 million pounds in the previous year.

* Leicester City defender Jonny Evans has signed a new contract that will keep him at the King Power Stadium until the end of the 2022-23 season, the Premier League club said. Evans' contract was due to expire at the end of the current campaign and British media had linked him with a return to Manchester United, where he won three Premier League titles.

* Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuettl has been cleared to return to the dugout for Monday's game at home against Liverpool after completing a period of self-isolation, the Premier League club said. He isolated following a positive COVID-19 test in his household and the 53-year-old took charge of Tuesday's 0-0 draw with West Ham United via video link.

Reuters