United red-faced again in Southampton draw

Dec 30, 2017 - 6:23 PM Manchester United have failed to win for a fourth successive Premier League game as they were held to a goalless draw by Southampton at Old Trafford.

On a frustrating evening for Jose Mourinho's side, they lost Romelu Lukaku early after he took a blow to the head and then saw a late goal ruled out when Paul Pogba touched in Nemanja Matic's shot from an offside position.

It was far from all one-way traffic, with David de Gea producing two fine saves.

There were boos at fulltime from the United fans, who have seen their side beaten in the League Cup by Bristol City and then held to draws by Leicester, Burnley and now Southampton.

United drop below Chelsea to third in the Premier League table after Antonio Conte's men became the latest to profit from Stoke's leaky defence.

Conte, meanwhile, believes Chelsea's next year can be even better than their last after they finished 2017 by hammering Stoke 5-0.

Chelsea won the title in May and reached the FA Cup final but their hopes of defending their crown look all but over given Manchester City's blistering form.

The gap now stands at 13 points, with City still to play Crystal Palace on Sunday, after Chelsea dispatched Stoke thanks to goals from Antonio Rudiger, Danny Drinkwater, Pedro, Willian and Davide Zappacosta.

Chelsea dominated their clash from the start despite resting Belgian star Hazard ahead of next week's clash at Arsenal, with Rudiger heading home Willian's free kick in the third minute to put his team in control.

Drinkwater broke Stoke's spirits six minutes later as he rifled a half-volley home from nearly 25 metres to net a spectacular first goal for the Blues and Willian teed up Pedro for the third in the 23rd minute.

The Brazilian capped a superb display by slotting home the fourth from the penalty spot near the end after being fouled by Geoff Cameron, with Zappacosta slamming home a fifth goal late on to complete a hefty rout.

"This was a fantastic year," Conte said. "To win the title in England is not simple. To be able to do this at your first chance, I will remember this year in my mind forever."

There was less action in matches involving the Socceroos duo of Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy.

Mooy's Huddersfield would be satisfied with a 0-0 draw with high-flying Burnley while the clash between Ryan's Brighton and Newcastle also finished scoreless.

Mohamed Salah kept up his stunning form in his debut season for Liverpool, scoring twice in their come-from-behind 2-1 win over Leicester.

Elsewhere Swansea moved off the bottom of the table with a 2-1 win over faltering Watford while Everton fell to Bournemouth by the same margin.

Source: AAP

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