Manchester United was held Old Trafford by Everton after Cristiano Ronaldo was benched as Chelsea overcame Southampton to top the Premier League table.

United’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford worsened the already handicapped run of home results including a League Cup defeat by West Ham United and last week’s shock PL loss against Aston Villa.

Ronaldo has netted the ball five times in six games in all competitions since his historic rejoining in late August but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said that he did not regret resting the 36-year-old who scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner against Villarreal this midweek.

Manchester United boss said, “You make decisions throughout the season, you’ve got to manage the players’ workload.” 

“The decision was, for me, the correct one today. We have started better than last season, but it is still not what we wanted,” added the Norwegian manager.

Everton created plenty of chances in the opening period but fell behind shortly before half-time when surprise pick Anthony Martial curled home his first Premier League goal since February from a Bruno Fernandes pass.

Solskjaer called on Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho in the 57th minute immediately after half-time as he planned to put the game beyond Rafael Benitez’s men but Everton ruthlessly exposed United’s frailty on the counter-attack.

Demarai Gray won the ball back on the left and freed Abdoulaye Doucoure into acres of space in midfield. Doucoure played in Andros Townsend to fire home his fifth goal in nine appearances.

Townsend celebrated the goal by performing a Ronaldo-style ‘Siuuu’ celebration and said that it was done in tribute to the Portuguese superstar, whom he said was his ‘idol’.

Everton thought they had won it late on but Yerry Mina’s close-range finish from a Tom Davies pass was ruled out for offside following a VAR review.

Meanwhile, Chelsea ended a miserable week on a high, with Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell striking late in a 3-1 win against Southampton, who are still looking for their first victory in the league this season. The three points lifted the Stamford Bridge club to the top of the Premier League on 16 points, two clear of Liverpool, Manchester United, and Everton.

Thomas Tuchel’s side tipped by many to win the Premier League in the early weeks of the season was well beaten by Manchester City last week and lost to Juventus in the Champions League in midweek.

But they returned to winning ways in London on Saturday, helped by a second-half red card for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse.

Trevoh Chalobah nodded Chelsea into an early lead but Ward-Prowse leveled from the penalty spot just after the hour mark before he was sent off in the 77th minute for a dangerous tackle on Jorginho after a VAR check.

Werner provided the decisive moment, sliding in from Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross before Chilwell volleyed in from close range on 89 minutes to secure the victory.

In the post-match interview, Tuchel said, “After two defeats we had to be careful that we didn’t start being too sad or too worried because there was a chance to be on 16 points.”

Tuchel added, “It was important to have a better performance than the last two games, that we sharpened our mindset so that we are not afraid to lose. It was nice to play the way we did and get a deserved win.”

Elsewhere, Leeds United beat Watford 1-0 and registered their first league win of the season while Norwich avoided defeat for the first time during the campaign and Brighton & Hove Albion in their evening kick-off held Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal from their fourth consecutive league victory in a row as the scoreless match ended. 

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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