MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Erik ten Hag can breathe a sigh of relief after Manchester United ended another difficult week on a winning note.
Victor Lindelof’s goal secured a 1-0 win against Luton in the Premier League on Saturday that should hold back further speculation about Ten Hag’s future for now.
It wasn’t the most convincing performance from a United team that had lost 4-3 against Copenhagen in the Champions League in midweek. But three points lifted the spirits at Old Trafford after such a disappointing start to the season.
And despite losing nine games in all competitions this season, United has now won four of its last five games in the league to move within sight of the top four.
“We are in quite a good position. If you see all the trouble we had, we are in a very good position,” Ten Hag said.
United is three points off fourth place Liverpool, having played a game more. Liverpool plays Brentford on Sunday.
It was vital Ten Hag secured a win ahead of the upcoming international break, with questions raised about his position in recent weeks.
The September and October international windows have been periods in the past when clubs have looked to change their managers. While there has been no suggestion from United that Ten Hag’s job is in jeopardy, the defeat to Copenhagen left the club at the bottom of its Champions League group and in danger of being eliminated before the knockout stages. Domestically, a title challenge also looks unlikely after five defeats in the league in its first 11 games before the win against Luton.
Life would be a lot easier for Ten Hag if striker Rasmus Hojlund could emulate his Champions League form in the Premier League.
He is still waiting for his first domestic goal after scoring five times in four appearances in Europe this season.
The $82 million summer signing missed two golden chances to open his account against Luton, prompting Ten Hag to complain about his team’s wastefulness.
“First half, I observed four 100% chances. If you get the first, you get the second and it becomes more easy,” said the United manager. “But if you don’t score, they can always drop a ball in the box and you are in trouble.”
Hojlund and Christian Eriksen both went off with injuries, which United’s medical staff will monitor over the weekend.
Having spent 248 days at the top of the standings last season — and finishing second — Arsenal has the summit in its sights again.
A 3-1 win against Burnley moved Mikel Arteta’s team level on points with first-place Manchester City. Defending champion City has the chance to move three points clear if it wins against Chelsea on Sunday.
Leandro Trossard, William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko saw Arsenal quickly recover from a first league defeat of the season against Newcastle last week, despite Fabio Vieira being sent off late on.
Josh Brownhill briefly evened the score in the second half, but a sixth straight defeat means Burnley could be bottom of the table by the end of the weekend if Sheffield United avoids a loss against Brighton on Sunday.
Newcastle has now suffered back-to-back losses in all competitions after beating Arsenal last week. Defeat against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League was followed by a 2-0 loss at Bournemouth in the league, Dominic Solanke scoring both goals for the home side.
The honeymoon is over for Ange Postecoglou after back-to-back losses for the first time as Tottenham manager.
Stoppage-time goals from Pablo Sarabia and Mario Lemina secured a 2-1 comeback win for Wolves that stopped Spurs from moving back to the top of the standings.
“It’s part of the pain of football when things happen in those circumstances. You’ve just got to take it,” Postecoglou said. “I can’t fault the players’ effort or their commitment.”
Postecoglou made league history by winning a hat trick of manager of the month awards in his first three months in England’s top flight after a 10-game unbeaten run. But the Wolves loss followed Monday’s 4-1 defeat against Chelsea, which also saw Spurs concede two stoppage-time goals when down to nine men.
Newcastle’s seven-match unbeaten league run ended with a 2-0 defeat at Bournemouth with Dominic Solanke scoring both goals.
Newcastle lost Miguel Almiron to what looked like another hamstring problem midway through the first half.
Magpies boss Eddie Howe was the Cherries manager the last time they beat Newcastle in 2017.
Newcastle dropped to seventh while Bournemouth exited the relegation zone.
Maybe it won’t be another relegation battle for Everton.
Sean Dyche’s team secured survival on the final day of last season and had to wait until Sept. 23 for its first league win of this campaign. But the Toffees appear to be finding their feet and a 3-2 win at Crystal Palace moved them up to 14th in the standings and eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Idrissa Gueye’s 86th-minute winner sealed the points.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
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