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BPL: United Wins; Spurs And City Suffers Defeat



A late free kick by midfielder Juan Mata gave Manchester United a laboured 1-0 home win over Watford after the visitors missed a flurry of chances in their Premier League clash on Wednesday.
The 27-year old Spaniard curled a superb shot from 25 metres into the top right corner in the 83rd minute, much to the relief of his manager Louis van Gaal, whose decision to play two strikers almost backfired.
“It was a good night for us but we have to keep going,” Mata said a post-match interview.
“We are Manchester United, we don’t give up and we have to keep going until the end (in the race for Champions League qualification).”
Fit-again Anthony Martial was deployed up front alongside 18-year-old Marcus Rashford, who had made a dream start to his United career by scoring four goals in his opening two games, but the pair looked toothless for much of the contest.
Watford’s Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo missed three gilt-edged chances in the first half and Austrian defender Sebastian Proedl saw his header cleared off the line by Rashford, before Mata finally broke the deadlock.
Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City remain sitting pretty at the Premier League summit after their closest rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester City remarkably all contrived to lose on Wednesday.
Leicester had dropped points in a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, but they remain in pole position after Spurs lost 1-0 at West Ham United, Arsenal crashed 2-1 at home to Swansea City and Liverpool claimed revenge for their League Cup final defeat by crushing City 3-0.
The results kept Leicester three points clear of second-place Tottenham, with Arsenal, booed off at the Emirates Stadium, three points further back and City now 10 points off the pace, albeit with a game in hand.
Manchester United are now level on points with City in fifth place, having played a game more, after Juan Mata’s 83rd-minute free-kick secured a 1-0 home win over Watford.
West Ham’s win over Tottenham, courtesy of Michail Antonio’s seventh-minute header, left them a point off the Champions League places in sixth place.
Spurs, for whom Dele Alli started on the bench due to a foot injury, would have gone top on goal difference if they had won at Upton Park.
But Mauricio Pochettino’s side never recovered from going behind early on, Antonio meeting Dimitri Payet’s corner with a header that visiting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris could not keep out.
Spurs’ best chance of an equaliser fell to Harry Kane in the second half, but the England striker could not find the target after Toby Alderweireld’s shot was parried by Adrian.
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal completed a night to forget for the north London clubs by blowing a 1-0 lead in a home defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Swansea.
It was Arsenal’s third defeat in succession in all competitions and their seventh of the league campaign, prompting a wave of angry boos to roll around the ground at the final whistle.

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