Clinical United sink sloppy Liverpool; Barca struggle

Clinical United sink sloppy Liverpool; Barca struggle

Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Robin van Persie scored as Manchester United rubbed salt into Liverpool’s wounds with a crushing 3-0 home victory in the Premier League on Sunday.

Rooney and Mata both found the net before half-time, the latter apparently from an offside position, before van Persie added a third to avenge United's loss to Liverpool by the same scoreline at Old Trafford in March.
With goalkeeper Simon Mignolet been dropped, Bard Jones presence on the field was just a novelty as United ran through a poor Liverpool defence to notch up three goals.

11 minutes on the clock and United were ahead. Antonio Valencia left Joe Allen chasing shadows with a cute nutmeg on the right flank before cutting the ball back for the unmarked Rooney to sweep home from 15 yards. There was more woe to come as United inflated their lead five minutes before half-time with a goal that carried more than a hint of injustice.

Van Persie's head made only fleeting contact with Ashley Young's left-wing cross, but it meant that Mata, who followed in to head home at the back post, was offside. Unfortunately for Liverpool, the officials missed it. Though the Liverpool manager tried changing things by introducing Balotelli in the second half, it was not mean to be as a 71st minute goal by Robin Van Persie sealed the deal for United.
Arsenal sparkleFrom the perspective of the overwhelming pro-Wenger majority Arsenal's dazzling 4-1 victory over Newcastle United on Saturday was emphatic proof of their mantra "In Arsene We Trust".

Giroud scored twice, as did Cazorla on his 30th birthday, and the Gunners could have had plenty more against an obliging Newcastle side unrecognisable from that which inflicted a first defeat of the season on league leaders Chelsea last weekend.

In Arsenal's last home game before Christmas, their Chile forward Sanchez provided several party pieces that would have been toasted in the local hostelries on the Holloway Road. Yet despite the feelgood factor sweeping the stadium, there were still a few telltale signs of the soft centre that explains why Arsenal are sixth, 13 points behind Chelsea, and all but out of the title race before Christmas.
Barca heldBarcelona lost ground on title rivals Real Madrid with an uninspired performance in a 0-0 draw at rain-lashed Getafe on Saturday that left them four points behind the La Liga leaders.

Real jetted off to the Club World Cup in Morocco after a 4-1 win at Almeria on Friday extended their Spanish record winning streak to 20 matches in all competitions.

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