Relentless Villa beat Man City, Liverpool win

Aston Villa’s Jamaican striker #31 Leon Bailey (R) in action against Manchester City’s Croatian defender #24 Josko Gvardiol (L) during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on December 6, 2023. AFP

Aston Villa beat champions Manchester City on Wednesday to extend their remarkable winning run at home as Liverpool closed to within two points of leaders Arsenal with victory at Sheffield United.

Elsewhere on a busy programme in the English top flight, Scott McTominay scored twice as Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-1 and Fulham hammered Nottingham Forest 5-0, heaping the pressure on manager Steve Cooper.

Villa, who have now won 14 league games in a row at home, scored the only goal of the game in the 74th minute, when Leon Bailey’s shot took a huge deflection off Reuben Dias.

Pep Guardiola’s men, aiming for an unprecedented fourth consecutive top-flight title, are now winless in four games and five points behind leaders Arsenal.

Last year’s treble winners, missing the suspended Rodri, have now won just three league games in nine.

Liverpool, looking increasingly dangerous, saw off basement club Sheffield United 2-0.

Virgil van Dijk scored opened the scoring at Bramall Lane, turning home a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner in the 37th minute from near the penalty spot.

The visitors dominated possession but failed to break through again until midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai made the points safe in time added on.

The victory takes Jurgen Klopp’s team to 34 points — just two behind Arsenal, who beat Luton 4-3 on Tuesday.

“Obviously you have to work for every game, especially against a team who changed manager,” Van Dijk told the BBC.

“It was always going to a battle but we did well and deserved the three points.”

It was a miserable first game back in charge for manager Chris Wilder, who returned to the club on Tuesday following Paul Heckingbottom’s dismissal — the first sacking of the season.

Sheffield United have been defeated 12 times in 15 games and are four points from safety.

McTominay double

Marcus Rashford paid for his slump in form as the Manchester United star was dropped to the bench by Erik ten Hag for the match against Chelsea at Old Trafford.

But in his absence United secured a priceless three points, shrugging off a rare penalty miss from Bruno Fernandes in the first half.

Chelsea’s Cole Palmer finished an impressive team move on the stroke of half-time to cancel out McTominay’s opener.

But the Scotland international headed home Alejandro Garnacho’s cross for his second with about 20 minutes to lift to United to sixth in the table, just three points behind City.

Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea have now lost six games this season and are stuck in mid-table.

Nottingham Forest, in their second season back in the Premier League, slumped to a fourth straight defeat at Fulham.

Alex Iwobi and Raul Jimenez scored two goals apiece and Tom Cairney completed the humiliation in the final minutes.

Brighton recorded a 2-1 home win against Brentford courtesy of goals from Pascal Gross and Jack Hinshelwood.

Bournemouth notched their third win in four games, with Marcos Senesi and Kieffer Moore on the scoresheet at Palace.

Wolves beat Burnley 1-0 on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Everton host Newcastle while West Ham travel to Tottenham.

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