Man Utd’s humiliating 4-1 loss to Watford was the last straw for Solskjaer, while Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City all laid down markers in the title race, writes Ryan Baldi…

In his post-match comments, David de Gea laid bare the situation that stared Manchester United in the face.

“It was embarrassing, the way we played today,” the Spanish goalkeeper said after Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Watford. “We don’t know what to do with the ball; we are conceding a lot of goals.”

De Gea went on to claim that he and his team-mates deserved the lion’s share of the blame for yet another defeat, but the manner of the loss was too shocking even for United’s slow-acting higher-ups to ignore – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose position had been the subject of rife speculation for weeks, finally had go.

United have flattered to deceive all season, but results really began to slide in late September, starting with a 1-0 home loss to Aston Villa. Since then, no Premier League side has collected fewer points.

Solskjaer survived a disastrous 5-0 defeat to Liverpool in October and, earlier this month, a 2-0 derby loss in which United were thoroughly dominated by Manchester City at Old Trafford.

But such a comprehensive thumping at Vicarage Road – where goals from Josh King, Ismaila Sarr, Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis rendered Donny van de Beek’s first goal of the season mere consolation – brought an end to the Norwegian’s near-three-year reign; his departure was confirmed the next day.

Steven Gerrard made a winning start as Aston Villa boss with 2-0 win over Brighton at Villa Park.

Gerrard left Rangers during the international break to replace Dean Smith, who was sacked following five successive Premier League defeats, and got Villa Park bouncing again with two late goals.

Ollie Watkins broke the deadlock with a lovely curling effort after 84 minutes before Tyrone Mings lashed home a second goal two minutes from time.

It saw Gerrard become the first Villa manager to win his first Premier League game in charge since John Gregory in February 1998, and immediately put a four-point gap between Villa and the relegation places.

Smith’s first match in charge of Norwich saw the Canaries beat Southampton 2-1.

They fell behind after only four minutes to a goal from Che Adams, but Teemu Pukki hauled them level almost immediately.

Then, with 11 minutes remaining, defender Grant Hanley rose above the Saints’ defence to head the winner.

Eddie Howe was the only one of the trio of new bosses not to pick up a victory, following Newcastle’s thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Brentford.

Howe, watching from home after a positive Covid test, saw Newcastle take an early lead when Jamaal Lascelles nodded in from Matt Ritchie’s corner.But that lead lasted just 75 seconds as Ivan Toney took advantage of Karl Darlow’s mistake.
The visitors went ahead after 31 minutes when Sergi Canos’ back-post cross found fellow wing-back Rico Henry, but Joelinton levelled eight minutes later. Brentford went ahead once more when substitute Frank Onyeka’s shot was deflected past Darlow, but Allan Saint-Maximin rescued a point for Howe.

Maxwel Cornet’s superb volley was the pick of the goals as Burnley and Crystal Palace took a point each from a 3-3 draw.Cornet lit up Turf Moor with a stunning finish four minutes into the second half, levelling the scores after a breathless first half in which Palace came from behind to lead 3-2, but only after letting slip an early 1-0 advantage.Christian Benteke scored twice, either side of headers from Ben Mee and Chris Wood, before Marc Guehi gave the visitors the lead at the break.

Raul Jimenez scored the only goal as Wolves ended West Ham’s four-game winning run with a 1-0 victory at Molineux.

In Saturday’s early kick-off, Chelsea thumped Leicester 3-0, with goals from Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic cementing Thomas Tuchel’s side’s grip on top spot, where they hold a three-point advantage over second-placed City.

In Saturday’s evening game, Liverpool hosted an in-form Arsenal at Anfield. Mikel Arteta’s men came into the match unbeaten since September, boasting six Premier League wins in their last eight games.

But Liverpool made easy work of the Gunners, romping to an emphatic 4-0 victory. Top scorer Mohamed Salah was, once again, among the goals, and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s superlative form continued, with the England full-back collecting his fifth and sixth league assists of 2021-22.

And on Sunday, City saw off Everton with a comfortable 3-0 win at the Etihad, where their own creative full-back, Joao Cancelo, was in fine fettle yet again.The Portuguese produced a sublime, outside-of-the-boot pass to create the game’s opening goal for Raheem Sterling. Rodri and Bernardo Silva extended City’s lead in the second half.

Sergio Reguilon’s first goal for Tottenham Hotspur earned his side a 2-1 victory over Leeds United in manager Antonio Conte’s first home Premier League game in charge on Sunday.

The Spanish left back tucked home a rebound in the 69th minute to seal a comeback win for Tottenham who were abysmal in the first half and trailed to Daniel James’s opener.

Tottenham were booed off at halftime but whatever words of wisdom Conte offered inspired quite a transformation with the hosts vastly improved after the interval.

After Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were both denied equalisers by the woodwork, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg equalised with a left-footed finish from the edge of the area in the 58th minute as the hosts began to dominate.

Reguilon then sealed Tottenham’s first win in four league games to lift them above Manchester United into seventh place with 19 points from 12 games.

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