Manchester United rediscovered what winning felt like as Arsenal edged Newcastle 1-0 to move two points clear atop the English Premier League on Saturday.
Manchester City came from a goal down to beat Watford 2-1 to go a point behind a drawing Leicester, and West Ham rose to sixth in beating Liverpool 2-0, leaving the latter’s coach, Juergen Klopp, furious.
At Old Trafford, there were only smiles for United’s first win since November 21, ending a winless run of eight games, their longest in 26 years.
Anthony Martial put United ahead after halftime, and set up Wayne Rooney to flick in the winner with his heel.
The goal made Rooney second on the club’s all-time scoring list on 238 – 11 behind Bobby Charlton – and second all-time in the Premier League on 188, behind Alan Shearer’s total of 260.
“It was his left foot behind his right foot, you cannot imagine what a goal that is,” manager Louis van Gaal said of his captain’s strike.
United stayed in fifth place, provisionally two points behind Tottenham, who will be at Everton on Sunday.
At Emirates Stadium, Laurent Koscielny scored the decisive goal for Arsenal but goalkeeper Petr Cech was the one celebrated after the victory over Newcastle strengthened their position at the summit of the standings.
Koscielny scored from close range in mid-second half after Cech made two outstanding saves to deny Georginio Wijnaldum.
Second-place Leicester failed to keep pace with Arsenal after being held to 0-0 at home by 10-man Bournemouth.
Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty to frustrate Leicester, who was only a point above City after its comeback at Vicarage Road.
Watford went ahead when Aleksandar Kolarov diverted Ben Watson’s corner into his own net in the second half.
But City overturned the deficit with two late goals in as many minutes.
Yaya Toure scored with superb control from Kolarov’s corner, then Sergio Aguero’s header followed swiftly after to secure City’s first away win since September.
Meanwhile, Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll scored to take their tally to two goals each in as many games as West Ham achieved a first league double over Liverpool in 52 years.
Klopp was not impressed by the performance of his side, which dropped to eighth.
“Today is not a day to be disappointed, it is a day to be angry,” Klopp said.
Meanwhile Norwich beat Southampton 1-0, West Bromwich Albion overcame Stoke 2-1, and Sunderland beat Aston Villa 3-1.
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