06.12.2023 23:54 h

Relentless Villa beat off-colour Man City, Liverpool win

Aston Villa beat champions Manchester City on Wednesday to extend their remarkable winning run at home as Liverpool closed to within two points of leaders Arsenal with victory at Sheffield United.

Elsewhere on a busy programme in the English top flight, Scott McTominay scored twice as Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-1 and Fulham hammered Nottingham Forest 5-0, heaping the pressure on manager Steve Cooper.

Villa, who have now won 14 league games in a row at Villa Park, scored the only goal of the game in the 74th minute, when Leon Bailey's shot took a huge deflection off Ruben Dias.

The win, which lifts Unai Emery's men into third place, means they equal a club record for consecutive home victories in league competition, previously achieved in 1903 and 1931.

"It's very special," goalscorer Bailey told Amazon Prime. "On a night like this it's even more special. To get the win, to score the goal, it's a magnificent feeling.

"I can't put it into words how I feel right now. We showed great character and worked extremely hard to get these three points."

Pep Guardiola's off-colour team, aiming for an unprecedented fourth consecutive top-flight title, are now winless in four games and six points behind Arsenal.

Last year's treble winners, missing the suspended Rodri, have now won just three league games in their past nine.

They are unbeaten in their past 43 matches in which the Spain midfielder has played but their four defeats in all competitions this season have all come when he has been serving a ban.

Liverpool, looking increasingly dangerous, saw off basement club Sheffield United 2-0.

Virgil van Dijk opened the scoring at Bramall Lane, turning home a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner in the 37th minute from near the penalty spot.

The visitors dominated possession but failed to break through again until midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai made the points safe in time added on.

The victory takes Jurgen Klopp's team to 34 points -- just two behind Arsenal, who beat Luton 4-3 on Tuesday.

The Liverpool boss said he was happy with a "very mature and resilient performance".

"I would have taken 1-0 as it was nervy, each throw-in was the most dangerous situation, it was really difficult to defend but we came through that," he told the BBC.

"We take the three points and keep going, recover and go again."

It was a miserable first game back in charge for manager Chris Wilder, who returned to the club on Tuesday following Paul Heckingbottom's dismissal -- the first sacking of the season.

Marcus Rashford paid for his slump in form as the Manchester United star was dropped to the bench by Erik ten Hag for the match against Chelsea at Old Trafford.

But in his absence United secured a priceless three points, shrugging off a rare penalty miss from Bruno Fernandes in the first half.

Chelsea's Cole Palmer finished an impressive team move on the stroke of half-time to cancel out McTominay's opener.

But the Scotland international headed home Alejandro Garnacho's cross for his second with about 20 minutes left to lift United to sixth in the table, just three points behind City.

Nottingham Forest, in their second season back in the Premier League, slumped to a fourth straight defeat at Fulham.

Alex Iwobi and Raul Jimenez scored two goals apiece and Tom Cairney completed the humiliation in the final minutes.

Cooper said the result was "painful in so many ways".

"(It came) on the back of some technical failings, some tactical failings and on top of that not enough desire or will to recover," he said.

Brighton recorded a 2-1 home win against Brentford courtesy of goals from Pascal Gross and Jack Hinshelwood, while Bournemouth notched their third win in four games, beating Crystal Palace 2-0.