Manchester United are once again top of the Premier League, leapfrogging Liverpool, to open up a three-point gap ahead of the two teams’ massive clash at Anfield on Monday morning (AEDT).
It is the first time United have been top of the table at the New Year stage of the season since 2013 when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge. They went on to win the Premier League title that season.
Elsewhere, Sheffield United picked up their first win of the season against Newcastle, and Everton defeated Wolves.
Here’s everything that happened during this morning’s Premier League fixtures…
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BURNLEY 0-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
Paul Pogba took Manchester United top of the Premier League for the first time in three years as his deflected winner saw off a dogged Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor on Tuesday.
United now lead defending champions Liverpool by three points ahead of a top-of-the-table clash between the two most successful sides in English football history at Anfield on Sunday.
Despite continued speculation over his future, Pogba has played an increasingly important role in United’s first serious title challenge since legendary former manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have now taken 29 from the last possible 33 points to recover from just two wins in their opening six games of the season.
After a slow start by the visitors, the first-half was dominated by controversy over a series of VAR reviews.
A five-minute delay to review Luke Shaw’s challenge on Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady’s foul on Edinson Cavani as the Uruguayan bore down on goal resulted in both sides escaping without having a man sent-off.
Referee Kevin Friend had initially waived play on from Shaw’s lunge, but on review the left-back was shown a yellow card and Brady’s yellow rescinded as the game should have been stopped earlier in the move.
United then had a goal harshly ruled out when Harry Maguire powered home a header at the back post, but was punished for a slight nudge on Erik Pieters.
Pogba was controlling the game from midfield and it was fitting he was the match winner as his volley from Marcus Rashford’s cross deflected off Matt Lowton and through the legs of Pope.
WOLVES 1-2 EVERTON
Everton moved back into the top four and within four points of United as they overcame an injury crisis to beat Wolves 2-1 at Molineux.
Carlo Ancelotti was forced to start without a recognised striker without Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison only fit enough for a place on the bench.
The Toffees took an early lead when Alex Iwobi converted Lucas Digne’s cross but were pegged back when Ruben Neves levelled for Wolves.
Michael Keane’s towering header won the game 13 minutes from time to bolster the Blues’ European ambitions.
SHEFFIELD UNITED 1-0 NEWCASTLE
Sheffield United ended a 20-game winless run in the Premier League on Tuesday as Billy Sharp’s penalty earned a 1-0 victory over 10-man Newcastle.
The Blades still face an uphill task to haul themselves off the bottom of the table as they sit nine points adrift of safety.
But Chris Wilder’s men ensured they will not set an unwanted record by going a full top-flight season without a win thanks to another night to forget for Newcastle.
Two quickfire bookings for Ryan Fraser just before half-time left the visitors a man down for the full second-half.
But scoring goals has been United’s Achilles’ heel all season and they struggled to make the man advantage count until Federico Fernandez was punished for the ball brushing his outstretched hand inside the area.
Cub captain Sharp showed his experience by sending Karl Darlow the wrong way from the spot.
The Magpies could yet find themselves dragged into a relegation battle as they remain eight points above the drop zone in 15th, but have played two games more than Fulham in 18th.
Steve Bruce’s men are winless in eight games in all competitions, including exits from both domestic cups.