https://www.sportinglife.com-Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Arsenal captain celebrates
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his first Premier League hat-trick on his return to the Arsenal side to lead them to a thrilling win over Leeds.
The Gunners captain had not started in five games after leaving the club’s coronavirus-secure bubble to tend to his ill mother.
But he marked his comeback in fine fashion as a spirited Leeds were beaten 4-2 at the Emirates Stadium, having started the afternoon above their hosts in the table.
Operating as the main striker, Aubameyang opened the scoring with a low finish before doubling the lead with a penalty and completing his hat-trick with an early second-half header.
Hector Bellerin’s first goal in over a year had Arsenal three goals to the good at the end of a first half they had dominated, only for Leeds to rally with goals from Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa to make it an uncomfortable end to the game for the hosts.
The game was not without its controversy, though, as Arsenal were awarded a penalty by Stuart Atwell with the score at 1-0 when Bukayo Saka burst into the box and went down under pressure from Liam Cooper.
But the referee changed his original decision after watching the replay on the VAR pitchside monitor.
Everton 0-2 Fulham
On-loan striker Josh Maja scored twice on his full Premier League debut as Fulham recorded a first league win at Everton in their history, with a deserved 2-0 victory ending a 12-match run without a win.
The 22-year-old former Sunderland man scored two typical poacher’s goals from close range.
It moved the third-bottom Cottagers to within seven points of Newcastle in 17th and offered them some hope of an escape if Maja, whose two goals incredibly moved him to joint-fourth on Fulham’s leading league scorers list this season, can reproduce this form on a more regular basis.
They will not find many opponents as passive as Everton, however, who blew the chance to strike a huge psychological blow for the forthcoming Merseyside derby.
Four points from this match and Manchester City on Wednesday would have put them above their rivals across Stanley Park ahead of Saturday’s short trip to Anfield.
But Everton were toothless without injured top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin and also lacked the necessary competitiveness to make Fulham’s first league win at Goodison Park in 28 attempts anything other than comfortable.
West Brom 1-1 Man Utd: Baggies frustrate United
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s comeback kings fell short on the road as embattled West Brom dug deep for a draw to seriously dent Manchester United’s title hopes.
Having been top of the Premier League just 19 days ago, the second-placed Red Devils are now seven points behind Manchester City, who also boast a game in hand.
Mbaye Diagne got Albion off to a dream after just 80 seconds before United drew level through Bruno Fernandes’ stunning effort, with Harry Maguire seeing a last-gasp header superbly turned on to a post by Sam Johnstone as a scrappy clash ended 1-1.
Having won all of their previous seven away league matches in which they had conceded first, Solskjaer will be frustrated by his side’s poor response in this costly draw at the Hawthorns.
The Baggies went ahead almost immediately when Diagne scored his first goal for the club, his hand in Victor Lindelof’s face overlooked, but Fernandes superbly levelled at the end of the first half.
The second period was more open and eventful.
Referee Craig Pawson overturned his decision to award a penalty for a Semi Ajayi foul on Maguire after reviewing the footage on the pitchside monitor, but offside would have come into play anyway he had stuck with his decision.
Johnstone denied Mason Greenwood before Darnell Furlong cleared a Scott McTominay effort off the line, while at the other end David De Gea prevented Diagne securing a shock win with a superb double save.
The recent arrival wasted another great chance towards the end of a match that ended with Maguire on his knees after former United goalkeeper Johnstone tipped his stoppage-time header on to a post.
Southampton 1-2 Wolves: Pedro Neto stunner wins it
Wolves capitalised on a hotly-disputed penalty to leapfrog Southampton in the table.
Ruben Neves converted the contested spot-kick that transformed the south coast clash, after Ryan Bertrand was controversially punished for handball.
Nelson Semedo’s rasping effort struck Bertrand’s hand as his back was turned attempting a block at point-blank range, but still the penalty was awarded.
Neves’ fourth league goal of the season cancelled out Danny Ings’ stunning first-half volley, floored the furious Saints and set Wolves en route to a first win in three matches.
Pedro Neto pirouetted around Jannik Vestergaard before slotting the winner, to condemn Saints to a sixth-straight Premier League loss.
Wolves avenged Southampton’s 2-0 FA Cup win at Molineux from Thursday, with the penalty transforming the visitors from a disjointed rabble into an energised unit.
For the second time in as many months, Southampton felled a Premier League rival in the cup only to lose a quick-fire return match in the top flight.
Just as Saints saw off Arsenal in the cup only to lose to the Gunners three days later, so too here did Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men end up on the receiving end of some rapid revenge.
Saints manager Hasenhuttl was particularly incensed about Wolves’ penalty, launching an extended tirade at the fourth official.
The taskmaster Austrian had hoped the cup win at Wolves would prove the catalyst for a return to league form, but instead Saints’ wait to put that 9-0 hammering at Manchester United fully to bed goes on.
Wolves have not been without their troubles either, and manager Nuno Espirito Santo will cling to this comeback win as the green shoots of a desperately craved resurgence.