Arsenal moves top, Van Gaal says he won't leave United

ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 29, 2015 07:39 AM
Arsenal moves top, Van Gaal says he won't leave United
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil celebrates scoring a goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Bournemouth at Emirates stadium in London, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

JACK BEZANTS, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal moved top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win against Bournemouth on Monday, while Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said there was "not any reason" for him to resign despite a 0-0 draw with Chelsea extending his team's winless run to eight matches.

Gabriel Paulista and Mesut Ozil led Arsenal to the top — for 24 hours at least — with goals in each half, while goalkeeper Petr Cech set a Premier League clean sheet record with his 170th shutout.

The victory was an authoritative response from Arsenal after losing 4-0 to Southampton on Saturday. Arsenal is a point clear of second-place Leicester and four points above Tottenham and Manchester City. Leicester can replace Arsenal at the top by beating City on Tuesday.

"We were focused from the start," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "It took us a while to get going but (we) were in control of the game and did very well."

At Old Trafford, United produced an attacking display against Chelsea to end its four-match losing run but missed good chances for a first league win since Nov. 21 against Watford.

Juan Mata and Anthony Martial hit the crossbar and the post, while Thibaut Courtois denied Ander Herrera from point blank range and Wayne Rooney missed from six yards late on.

Chelsea also had chances to score, with David De Gea turning John Terry's header over the bar, before making an impressive double save from Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta early in the second half.

The draw leaves United five points behind the Champions League positions but Van Gaal, who said he could resign as manager after defeat at Stoke two days ago, was encouraged by his team's display.

"When the players can give such a performance, when there is a lot of pressure, then it is not any reason to resign for me," Van Gaal told BT Sport. "I shall not do that. It is not a question of staying, it is a question of fulfilling my contract."

Elsewhere, Tottenham won its third straight league match to provisionally go third with a late 2-1 victory over 10-man Watford, while Stoke beat Everton 4-3 with a last-minute penalty from Marko Arnautovic.

Erik Lamela put Tottenham ahead with a low effort in the 17th minute before Odion Ighalo leveled for host Watford with his 14th goal of the season.

The equalizer ushered in a period of dominance by Watford, but it had Nathan Ake sent off after 63 minutes before substitute Son Heung-min hit Tottenham's winner in the 89th.

"It was a crazy atmosphere and a really important goal for the team," Son said. "We are so happy."

Tottenham will be dislodged from third if City gets at least a draw against Leicester.

At Goodison Park, Stoke narrowly edged Everton in an entertaining encounter.

Stoke held a 2-1 halftime lead thanks to a double from Xherdan Shaqiri but Romelu Lukaku equalized for Everton with his second of the match.

Gerard Deulofeu tapped in to put host Everton ahead but Joselu scored his first Premier League goal for Stoke with a volley to haul his side back on level terms.

And Mark Hughes' side then snatched the win through Arnautovic's penalty, after he was fouled by John Stones. There is real anger at the final decision," Everton manager Roberto Martinez said. "The penalty is never a penalty. It's a situation where it cost us the draw."

Also Monday, Norwich beat last-place Aston Villa 2-0, West Bromwich Albion defeated Newcastle 1-0 and Crystal Palace drew 0-0 against Swansea.

West Ham also came from a goal behind to beat Southampton 2-1 and move seventh in the standings, a point behind United.


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