Man United revels in 6-2 win v Leeds, Vardy sinks Tottenham

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Manchester United’s Scott McTominay celebrates his side’s second goal during an English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Leeds United at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Sunday Dec. 20, 2020. (Michael Regan/Pool via AP)

Manchester United waited 16 years to play old rival Leeds in the English Premier League, and then made it look distinctly second-class.

United charged to a 6-2 victory on Sunday, though both teams could easily have scored more, as it roared back into the EPL title race in third.

The easy win put United ahead of Tottenham, which swept United aside 6-1 in October but is now mired in problems of its own. A 2-0 loss to Leicester dropped Tottenham out of the Champions League spots and left Jose Mourinho’s team with one draw and two defeats in an eight-day spell.

HIT FOR SIX

Scott McTominay looked like one of the Premier League’s top scorers as Man United swept into an early lead over Leeds.

Defensive midfielder McTominay — who hadn’t scored in the EPL since March — netted in the second and third minutes after he was left plenty of space to run through the Leeds defense.

Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof extended United’s lead amid more static defending from Leeds, with more goals from Daniel James and Fernandes in the second half.

Up against the all-action style of Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer credited his team with beating Leeds at its own game.

“We had a plan to get after them and go forward when we got the ball, and Scott gets two goals in the first three minutes which is a great start,” Solskjaer said.

“We had to earn the right to win it by running just as much or more than them, so that was a challenge against one of the fittest teams in the league.”

VARDY ON FORM

Jamie Vardy’s hot form in away games in 2020 continued as he scored one goal and forced an own-goal in Leicester’s win over Tottenham. That took Vardy to 19 goals in his last 19 away games in the league.

Vardy gave Leicester the lead in first-half stoppage time with a penalty after a foul by Serge Aurier, and set up the second when he headed the ball onto defender Toby Alderweireld, who deflected it into the net.

“We came here with a game plan and we absolutely nailed what we wanted to do and it set us on the way to getting the three points we deserved,” Vardy told broadcaster Sky Sports.

It was hardly the performance Mourinho would have wished for to prove Tottenham’s title credentials. The Portuguese coach claimed Wednesday that the “best team lost” when Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-1.

ALLARDYCE BEATEN

Sam Allardyce is the coach Premier League teams turn to when they need to avoid relegation. But he didn’t have an immediate effect in his first game with 19th-place West Bromwich Albion in a 3-0 loss to Aston Villa.

Four days after Allardyce replaced Slaven Bilic at West Brom, his new team was outplayed comprehensively by local rival Villa and played most of the game with 10 men after captain Jake Livermore was sent off for a mistimed tackle on Jack Grealish.

Anwar El Ghazi gave Villa the lead in the fifth minute, off a pass from Bertrand Traoré, who scored the second with an assist from Grealish in the 84th. Four minutes later, El Ghazi scored again, this time from the penalty spot after Grealish was fouled.

WAITING FOR A WIN

Sheffield United’s start to the season is the worst of any team in Premier League history, and the misery continued in a 1-1 draw with Brighton which left Sheffield with two points from 14 games.

Sheffield played more than 50 minutes with 10 men after a red card for John Lundstram’s clumsy challenge on Joel Veltman, but still took the lead with a deflected shot from Jayden Bogle. With Sheffield minutes away from victory, Danny Welbeck scored in the 87th to level the game for Brighton, which stayed 16th.

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