EPL PIX: Arsenal top table; Manchester Utd held

League leaders Arsenal cruise to 3-0 win over Fulham

Arsenal restored their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Fulham on Sunday and carved out a small slice of top-flight history in the process.

Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli and captain Martin Odegaard all scored in the first half as the Gunners became the first team to win five consecutive away London derbies without conceding a single goal.

Leandro Trossard provided a trio of assists as Mikel Arteta’s side took advantage of Fulham’s porous defence at Craven Cottage.

Marco Silva’s Fulham Cottagers, who had lost only once in their previous seven home games in all competitions, are eighth in the league.

Gabriel, who also netted his debut goal against Fulham in 2020, put Arsenal on the scoreboard in the 21st minute with a header from inside a crowded six-yard box off Trossard’s corner kick.

Trossard teed up Martinelli in the 26th minute when his arching cross dropped at the far post for an easy header, the Brazilian’s 12th goal of the season. Only four Premier League players have scored more.

Seconds before halftime, Odegaard took two touches to control Trossard’s cross before smashing the ball past Fulham — and former Arsenal — keeper Bernd Leno.

The Gunners began the day with second-placed Manchester City hot on their heels after a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday pulled the reigning champs within two points.

Brazilian Gabriel Jesus earned a roar from Gunners fans when he entered the game in the 77th minute, his first action since a knee injury suffered at the World Cup in November. Jesus nearly scored in the 85th, but his shot from close range went straight to the keeper.

Ten-man Manchester Utd held by Southampton after Casemiro sent off

Manchester United endured a frustrating afternoon in the Premier League on Sunday with a 0-0 draw against bottom-placed Southampton marked by the expulsion of midfielder Casemiro.

The Brazilian was sent off in the 34th minute for a high boot against Carlos Alcaraz, giving confidence to the visitors in an entertaining game with great chances at both ends.

Captain Bruno Fernandes came closest for Manchester United in the second half with a low shot off the post while prolific striker Marcus Rashford saw a shot well saved in a one-on-one with Southampton goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu in the first period.

Southampton missed a string of chances, with Theo Walcott seeing a point-blank header and curling shot both brilliantly saved by David de Gea, while Kyle Walker-Peters hit the post and James Ward-Prowse saw a couple of free kicks go close.

The result was not what Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag wanted after last week’s 7-0 drubbing by Liverpool in the league, and was a disappointing follow-up to the scintillating 4-1 Europa League win over Real Betis in mid-week.

A point each left Manchester United third in the league on 50 points, 16 behind leaders Arsenal, while Southampton stayed bottom on 22, two points off safety in a packed fight against relegation to the Championship.

The home fans at Old Trafford were incensed by a series of penalty appeals that referee Anthony Taylor dismissed.

Adding to their ire, the referee had originally given Casemiro a yellow card before changing it to red after a video check.

West Ham out of relegation zone with 1-1 draw v Villa

West Ham United drew 1-1 with Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday, with Said Benrahma scoring from the penalty spot to cancel out Ollie Watkins’s early opener, lifting the London club back out of the relegation zone.

West Ham, who slipped into the bottom three after Everton’s and Bournemouth’s wins on Saturday, dominated the game but struggled to convert their chances. The result leaves them on 24 points in 17th place, while Villa remain 11th in the table.

“I think it should have been three points. We played a good game and had many chances but just couldn’t score. Obviously we need to get wins,” West Ham defender Kurt Zouma told Sky Sports.

“That was their only chance and they scored. We kept the focus and the belief to come back. We should have won but we got a point and need to move on.”

David Moyes’s side made a bright start at the London Stadium and almost took an early lead from a set play, but Nayef Aguerd dragged his shot wide in the seventh minute, with Benrahma then firing a volley over the bar.

West Ham were made to rue their early profligacy as Villa went in front with their first real attack of the game, as in-form Watkins rose highest to head home from Alex Moreno’s inch-perfect cross in the 17th minute.

That lead lasted just nine minutes, however, as Benrahma made amends by hammering his spot kick past Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez after a clumsy foul by Leon Bailey on Lucas Paqueta.

Goalscorers Benrahma and Watkins both had efforts saved before halftime, and the teams went into the break level.

Chasing a goal that would have earned them a third league win in 2023, West Ham pumped plenty of long balls forward and crosses into the box after the break.

Attackers Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen were constant threats throughout the second half, but Villa dug in defensively, with goalkeeper Martinez standing firm when called upon.

Villa also had a few chances on the break, most of which came to nothing, but substitute Jhon Duran missed a gilt-edged opportunity in the 89th minute, before West Ham’s Maxwel Cornet was guilty of doing the same at the other end deep into stoppage time.

The draw means Villa are now winless in their last 10 Premier League games against West Ham, since a 1-0 home win in May 2015.

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