All the conversation all week has been whether Manchester United will finish in the top four at the end of the season. The common wisdom was that Chelsea and Manchester City would finish 1,2, and that Arsenal, United, Liverpool and Spurs would battle it put for the final two Champions League places.
But on Saturday, Manchester City lost unexpectedly 1-0 at Burnley, and with Arsenal’s win on Saturday and United’s win on Sunday, Manuel Pellegrini’s side is suddenly one defeat from falling to fourth place in the table, and the prospect of finishing out of the top four, has suddenly became a real possibility for the champions.
At Old Trafford, United took apart a poor Spurs side in what was their best opening 45 minutes of the season. They needed only nine minutes to break the deadlock as Marouane Fellaini found the bottom corner after being played in by Michael Carrick.
Carrick turned from provider to goalscorer, doubling his side’s lead with a well-taken header after Tottenham had failed to deal with a corner.
And Wayne Rooney made it three inside 34 minutes, capitalising on poor Spurs defending to race clear of two opponents and then slot past Hugo Lloris.
His celebration, pretending to box before falling to the ground, made reference to footage this week that showed him appearing to be knocked unconscious by friend and Stoke City full-back Phil Bardsley.
Tottenham failed to recover from their first-half display and were unable to pull a goal back after the break as United held on comfortably for the win.
Elsewhere, Chelsea missed the opportunity to go eight points clear at the top of the English Premier League by drawing 1-1 against Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho’s men were looking to respond from their Champions League exit and punish Manchester City for their loss at Burnley and looked good when Diego Costa grabbed an 11th-minute opener. Dusan Tadic equalised after a penalty, awarded for a foul by Nemanja Matic on the impressive Sadio Mane.
Finally, Everton gave their stuttering season a shot in the arm with a 3-0 win over Newcastle United at Goodison Park. James McCarthy got the ball rolling in the 20th minute before Romelu Lukaku’s penalty and a red card for Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini settled the issue. Ross Barkley popped up with a late third, just his second goal of the campaign.