English Premier League

Back in black: reshaped Manchester United rout defending champions Leicester

Manager Jose Mourinho’s decision to start Wayne Rooney from the bench is justified with players scoring four first-half goals led by Chris Smalling

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 September, 2016, 1:42am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 September, 2016, 10:57am

Jose Mourinho’s reshaped Manchester United destroyed Premier League champions Leicester City 4-1 with a performance that thrilled Old Trafford and justified his decision to leave out Wayne Rooney.

Shaking up the line-up seemed to liberate Paul Pogba who led the way with a polished display yesterday, heading his first goal for the club on 42 minutes and starting the clever move that led to Juan Mata firing home United’s second after 37 minutes.

Rooney bore the brunt of the criticism following his laboured displays and Mourinho decided to put his 30-year-old captain on the bench in the biggest call of his United reign to date.

“Sometimes when I read you [in the media], I feel I know nothing about football,” Mourinho said. “But there is one thing I know – the rules of the game. And I can only start with 11 [players].”

Mourinho said it was a tactical decision to drop Rooney, a day after saying the striker had struggled under the weight of media criticism since a poor display for England against Slovakia on September 4.

Mata, who replaced Rooney, also played a major part in United’s third, firing across goal for Marcus Rashford to convert from close range. Chris Smalling, who succeeded Rooney as captain, had begun the rout with a header after 22 minutes.

Three of the goals came via Daley Blind corners from the left as Leicester headed for their third league defeat, as many as they suffered in the whole of last season. Claudio Ranieri responded by replacing Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez at half-time with substitute Demarai Gray looping a 20-yard shot over David de Gea for a 59th-minute consolation. Rooney came on as a late substitute.

“Of course, he is as happy as I am,” Mourinho said. “His team won. He is a big player for me, for United and for this country. I trust him completely.”

Mourinho was delighted with the showing on the back of two successive league defeats. “It was a very good performance and a good result. Obviously, in the second half no one was expecting us to score four more goals. It was more about control. We had intensity, movement, good dynamic,” the Portuguese said

Ranieri said his team paid the price for not concentrating properly. “I made the changes at half-time because the game had gone and I preferred to keep them for the next game,” he said.


Liverpool crush Hull to boost title credentials

Free-scoring Liverpool’s burgeoning title challenge was given further impetus with a merciless 5-1 thrashing of 10-man Hull City at Anfield.

Hull, who had not lost an away game all season, were overrun, forced to play for an hour with 10 men after Ahmed Elmohamady was sent off for handling a Philippe Coutinho shot on the line with James Milner tucking away the resulting penalty.

The home side, already ahead through Adam Lallana, looked poised to score every time they pressed forward with Sadio Mane making it three before the break with his 11th goal in his last 13 league games for Southampton and Liverpool.

David Meyler’s unlikely 51st-minute response for Hull was short-lived, Coutinho answering instantly with a superb fourth before Milner completed the rout with his second penalty after Daniel Sturridge had been fouled by Andrew Robertson.

Aguero double leads Man City past Swansea

Sergio Aguero struck twice to lead Premier League leaders Manchester City to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Swansea on Saturday.

Argentine Aguero fired City ahead after nine minutes with a neat finish, but Swansea hit straight back through Spanish forward Fernando Llorente who blasted the ball home from 12 metres.

Manchester City poured forward in the second half, Raheem Sterling wasting a good opportunity before Aguero coolly converted a 65th-minute penalty following a foul on Kevin de Bruyne.

Sterling scored with a fine finish 13 minutes from time to confirm City’s sixth successive league victory of the season.

Powerful Son keeps Spurs on the rise

Tottenham Hotspur made light of the absence of Harry Kane as two goals from Son Heung-min brought a deserved 2-1 win at Middlesbrough to move the unbeaten visitors back to second place in the Premier League.

Although Ben Gibson clawed a goal back for Boro in the second half, the game was effectively settled by Son’s two early strikes. That took his tally to four in three games – as many as he managed in the whole of last season.

On seven minutes the Korean fooled keeper Victor Valdes with a double feint after a one-two with Vincent Janssen. Son’s second, on 23 minutes, was even better as he wriggled free from a seemingly impossible position out wide and bent a shot past the keeper.

Christian Eriksen and Janssen both went close for the visitors before Gibson struck half-way through the second half, heading home Stewart Downing’s cross.

Bournemouth’s Stanislas proves Everton’s tormentor again

Everton lost their first Premier League game of the season 1-0 after being tormented once again by Bournemouth’s Junior Stanislas.

Stanislas, who had scored a 98th minute equaliser against Everton in a two-goal late show in last season’s equivalent fixture, struck after 23 minutes with a magnificent 25-metre shot.

Bournemouth were well worth their lead after England international Jack Wilshere, on loan from Arsenal, had earlier had a shot deflected off Seamus Coleman onto the bar.

The home side dropped deeper after the break as Everton applied the pressure, but Ronald Koeman’s men were uninspired as the Cherries kept only their second clean sheet in their last 15 league games.

Last-gasp Rondon sparks Pulis celebrations for West Brom

A late goal from Salomon Rondon secured West Bromwich Albion a 1-1 draw at Stoke City and provided Tony Pulis with plenty to celebrate in his 1,000th game as a manager.

The visitors were fortunate to escape with a point after Stoke dominated the second half and scored with a 73rd-minute strike from Joe Allen.

Just when Mark Hughes thought his team had done enough for their first league win of the season, Rondon got on the end of a cross from Jonathan Leko to head from a difficult angle into the bottom corner.

The point was enough to move Stoke off the bottom, although they remain in the relegation zone with two points, one above Sunderland. Albion are ninth.

Benteke strikes late as Palace comeback sinks Sunderland

Striker Christian Benteke scored a stoppage-time winner as Crystal Palace came back from a two-goal deficit to beat Sunderland 3-2 in the Premier League after Jermain Defoe had given the hosts a brace.

A scrappy first half littered with fouls gave way to an absorbing second as Defoe struck two typically clinical goals at the Stadium of Light.

But having fallen 2-0 behind on the hour, Palace pulled one back less than a minute later when Joe Ledley’s shot from 20 metres took a heavy deflection off Patrick van Aanholt.

James McArthur levelled with a thumping 76th-minute header after a pinpoint Zeki Fryers cross before Benteke, who missed several chances, put the icing on the cake for Palace when he headed home Lee Chung-yong’s floated free kick