Villa and Spurs win, Man United draw in race for Champions League spots

Villa and Spurs win, Man United draw in race for Champions League spots


The title race resumes on Sunday with leaders Arsenal at City and Liverpool hosting Brighton

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LONDON (Reuters) – Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur won to boost their Champions League qualifying hopes while Manchester United had to settle for a point and Nottingham Forest drew to edge back out of the relegation zone in the Premier League on Saturday.

There was a scoring spree of 29 goals in dramatic action on Saturday which topped any Premier League matchday this season.

Moussa Diaby and Ezri Konsa netted in Villa's 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers to keep their side in fourth place with 59 points from 30 matches, three points ahead of Spurs.

Tottenham came from behind to beat visitors Luton Town 2-1 and remain in fifth place, which could be enough for Champions League football next season, with a game in hand over Villa.

Sixth-placed United were fortunate to escape from struggling Brentford with a point after a wild finish in a 1-1 draw.

Villa's win against their Midlands rivals was no classic, but the first victory for manager Unai Emery over Wolves at the seventh attempt ended a two-game winless run in the league.

"We wanted to focus on our game and that is what we did. We got the three points and I got a goal myself, so happy days," Konsa said. "It's a massive win, with Tottenham's result earlier, we knew we had to win."

Son Heung-min's 86th minute strike earned Spurs all three points against Luton to keep the pressure on Villa.

Luton dropped back below Forest into the relegation zone as they were stung by South Korean Son's late winner.

Tahith Chong gave the visitors a surprise early lead at Spurs but Issa Kabore's own goal in the 51st levelled it up.

Tottenham captain Son then started and finished a flowing late move to bag his 160th goal for the club.

United substitute Mason Mount thought he had given the visitors an undeserved victory at Brentford when he slotted home his first goal for the Old Trafford team in the 96th minute.

But Kristoffer Ajer's 99th-minute equaliser salvaged a point for the Bees to dent United's Champions League qualifying hopes. The Old Trafford side are now 11 points adrift of Villa, albeit with a game in hand, and eight points behind Spurs.

"Even when we don't play well we have to win the game and we almost did. That is what disappoints me the most," said United boss Erik ten Hag. "We should all stand up and all take responsibility for this. We'll keep fighting."

The title race resumes on Sunday with leaders Arsenal at Manchester City and Liverpool hosting Brighton & Hove Albion.

At the bottom, battling Forest, whose four-point penalty during the international break had dropped them to 18th in the table, fell behind at home to Crystal Palace.

But Chris Wood rescued a point which lifted Forest to 17th place, level on 22 points with Luton after 30 games but with a superior goal difference.

Newcastle's win over West Ham United was more dramatic as they trailed 3-1 with 77 minutes on the clock but two goals from Harvey Barnes gave them a 4-3 victory.

Newcastle are eighth but now only a point behind seventh-placed West Ham with a game in hand.

Alexander Isak's penalty gave Newcastle the lead but West Ham hit back through Michail Antonio, Mohammed Kudus and Jarrod Bowen. Isak's second spot kick gave Newcastle hope and livewire Barnes equalised before lashing in a 90th-minute winner.

Everton defender Seamus Coleman's stoppage-time own goal condemned his side to a 2-1 loss at Bournemouth. The Toffees are 16th, three points above the drop zone. Bournemouth are 13th.

Chelsea's struggles continued as they were held to a 2-2 home draw against relegation-threatened 10-man Burnley.

The visitors, despite being a player down, did not wilt after Lorenz Assignon got a second yellow for a foul which resulted in Cole Palmer netting a 44th-minute penalty.

Clarets' captain Josh Cullen stunned Stamford Bridge by scoring two minutes into the second half and, though Palmer restored Chelsea's lead, Dara O'Shea's header squared it up.

Chelsea remain in 11th place, while Burnley are 19th, four points behind Forest.

Bottom club Sheffield United led 3-1 at home to Fulham but goals by Bobby Decordova-Reid and Rodrigo Muniz denied them a victory.

The home crowd was stunned in stoppage time when in-form Brazilian Muniz met Adama Traore's cross with a spectacular overhead volley.