In Depth

Premier League reactions: Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal usher in the New Year in style

Harry Kane suffers injury as Spurs boss Jose Mourinho brands Saints coach an idiot

Premier League Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0

Mikel Arteta’s 2020 started in superb style with his first victory as Arsenal manager. 

The fact it came against Manchester United made it all the sweeter, and for the long-suffering fans there are reasons to be cheerful after a miserable few months.

Arsenal’s 2-0 victory was built on an impressive first-half performance in which they could have had four or five goals as they laid siege to their visitors’s penalty area. 

As it was, Nicolas Pepe gave the Gunners the lead on eight minutes when he fired home and Sokratis Papastathopoulos made it 2-0 from a corner three minutes before the interval.

Man Utd, who before last night had lost just one of their last nine games, were better after the break but they put Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno under little pressure.

Having started well against Chelsea on Boxing Day, only to implode in the final ten minutes, Arsenal showed more organisation and resolution this time around with David Luiz the pick of a team that look inspired under their new manager. 

None more so than Mesut Ozil, who as BBC Sport reports, “covered 11.54km, more distance than any other Arsenal player”.

The victory brings to an end a run of seven home games without a win in all competitions for the Gunners, and yet despite their shocking run of form in recent months, they are now tenth, four points behind United, who are fifth.

“The confidence, the things they tried and the energy they had towards the game was much better,” said Arteta of his players. “The challenge is to maintain it.”

Idiot alert

It wasn’t such a good day on the other side of north London with Tottenham losing 1-0 at Southampton, a result that leaves Spurs in sixth, a point behind United and six shy of fourth place Chelsea. 

Spurs striker Harry Kane hobbled off with a hamstring injury shortly after having a goal disallowed for offside in the second half, and that incident sparked an angry reaction from Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho. 

The Portuguese became embroiled in an argument with Saints goalkeeping coach Andrew Sparkes over what he perceived to be time-wasting tactics, and was shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean. Admitting he “deserved” his punishment, Mourinho said he had been “rude with an idiot”.

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Today’s newspaper back pages 

Mourinho is ‘rude to an idiot’ and Solskjaer takes swipe at Pogba’s people

Kane’s setback

Sky Sports reports that England captain Kane could be set for a “lengthy spell on the sidelines” after hobbling off at St Mary’s. The Spurs striker had started four games in 11 days. 

The Sun adds that the hamstring injury could rule Kane out of the rest of the games in January.

Blues in Brighton

Chelsea found the going harder in Brighton yesterday than they did on Boxing Day at Arsenal as they were held to a 1-1 draw on the south coast. 

Cesar Azpilicueta had put the Blues ahead on ten minutes but Brighton secured a share of the spoils on 84 minutes with a spectacular overhead kick from Iranian ace Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

The result leaves Chelsea in fourth, eight points behind Manchester City, who beat Everton 2-1, and nine adrift of Leicester City, who romped to a 3-0 victory at Newcastle. 

Leaders in action

Premier League leaders Liverpool host eighth-placed Sheffield United this evening at Anfield and a win would take the Reds 13 points clear of the chasing pack. The match kicks off at 8pm and is live on BT Sport 1.

Premier League results and fixtures

Yesterday’s results
  • Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Chelsea 1  
  • Burnley 1 Aston Villa 2  
  • Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 3  
  • Southampton 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0  
  • Watford 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1  
  • Manchester City 2 Everton 1  
  • Norwich City 1 Crystal Palace 1  
  • West Ham United 4 AFC Bournemouth 0  
  • Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0
Tonight’s fixture 
  • Liverpool vs. Sheffield United (8pm, live on BT Sport 1)

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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