Everton halts Arsenal march, Liverpool slide continues
LIVERPOOL — Arsenal suffered a reality check in their pursuit of the Premier League title on Saturday, losing 1-0 at struggling Everton in manager Sean Dyche’s first game in charge, while Liverpool imploded in their third consecutive away defeat.
James Tarkowski’s second-half header sealed Everton’s first victory since October, briefly moving them out of the relegation zone — although they ended the day back in it.
While there was joy on the blue side of Merseyside, Liverpool’s miserable league campaign continued as they were crushed 3-0 at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Liverpool trailed 2-0 after only 12 minutes with Joel Matip’s own goal and a debut effort for Craig Dawson. Ruben Neves added a third for the hosts after the break.
Manchester United consolidated their top-four position with a 2-1 victory at home to Crystal Palace, although it came at a cost with midfielder Casemiro shown a straight red card.
United edged above Newcastle United into third place with 42 points and Newcastle failed to reclaim the position later as they could only draw at home to West Ham United.
Callum Wilson gave Newcastle the lead in the third minute but West Ham levelled through Lucas Paqueta just past the half hour mark — the first goal Newcastle have conceded in the league since early November.
Newcastle have now drawn four of their last five league games and scored only twice in that spell.
Arsenal’s second league loss of the season left them on 50 points, five ahead of champions Manchester City who are at fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
With no signings in the January window and Everton in a horrendous run of form, the omens were not good for Dyche as he began his rescue mission at Goodison Park against an Arsenal side whose only previous league defeat came in September.
But Everton took full advantage of a rare Arsenal off-day with Dwight McNeil’s corner being powered home by Tarkowski — two players who had worked under Dyche at Burnley.
Everton are in 18th place with 18 points, behind Leeds United, who play Sunday, on goal difference. West Ham have 19 points with Wolves on 20.
For Arsenal it was a wake-up call and they will be hoping for a favor from Tottenham, who play second-placed Manchester City on Sunday. Arsenal host Manchester City on Feb. 15.
Southampton remain rooted to the bottom after a 3-0 defeat at Brentford, while Bournemouth are second from bottom after losing late on at Brighton and Hove Albion who moved into sixth spot thanks to Kaoru Mitoma’s late goal in a 1-0 win.
Leicester City also allayed their relegation fears as they picked up their first league win since November, twice coming from behind to win 4-2 at Aston Villa.
Everything was going smoothly for Manchester United after Bruno Fernandes converted a penalty and then Marcus Rashford scored his 11th goal since the World Cup to make it 2-0 at Old Trafford.
But Casemiro was dismissed in the 70th minute for grabbing Will Hughes around the neck during a melee caused by a foul on Anthony. Palace made it a nervy ending when Jeffrey Schlupp halved the deficit.
United saw out a 13th consecutive win at Old Trafford but they will now be without Casemiro for three games.
“I’ve seen the incident, where the Crystal Palace player takes a big risk to bring an injury to Antony and then the emotions got really high, for several players,” Erik ten Hag said. “They (VAR) pick one player out.” — Reuters