Coral’s Heroes and Villains: Red Devils derby delight
It was another thrilling weekend of Premier League fixtures, which involved an emphatic Manchester derby triumph for the Red Devils, league leaders Chelsea narrowly edged past QPR and the bottom sides continued their fight to avoid the drop in a ruthless relegation scrap.
Following the exciting top tier action, Coral writers look at the best and worst showings from matchday 32.
Louis van Gaal’s in-form United side ended their city rivals’ recent derby dominance with a clinical 4-2 victory at Old Trafford, condemning Manuel Pellegrini’s strugglers to further domestic misery.
In a sublime performance from every individual in red, it was the previously under-fire attackers Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini that eventually earned the crucial three points.
Both stars had been tipped to depart the red half of Manchester but, following another superb showing, they have remarkably become key members of Van Gaal’s rejuvenated outfit. A title challenge is seemingly out of the question, after Chelsea’s late win over QPR, but United are 33/1 with Coral to do the impossible and claim the league crown ahead of Mourinho’s Blues.
Nigel Pearson’s determined Foxes fought back to secure a crucial victory at The Hawthorns, only their second ever win at the Baggies in 22 outings, as they climb to within three points of safety with a game in hand on their dropzone rivals.
Leicester twice fell behind and were trailing at half time, but a late equaliser from Robert Huth and a stunning 90th-minute winner from Jamie Vardy ensured a courageous comeback on the road, momentarily easing their relegation woes.
The former Spurs boss returned to White Hart Lane hoping to inflict a damaging defeat on his previous club and gain three vital points for Aston Villa in their fight to avoid relegation.
Sherwood succeeded in every aspect of his targets, guiding his revived West Midlands team to a terrific triumph on his old stomping ground, a win which sees them climb to 15th place, six points clear of danger.
Stuttering City stars
After making a bright start to the derby through Sergio Aguero, City then crumbled, as the Red Devils rampantly downed their bitter rivals on home soil.
Among the many faltering high-profile stars in Pellegrini’s line-up, club skipper Vincent Kompany was again off form and was very fortunate to escape an early exit from proceedings.
The Belgium international challenged Daley Blind forcefully, leading to prolonged moments of hesitation from referee Mark Clattenburg, before a yellow card was eventually given. As well as the captain’s poor showing, Yaya Toure was exposed in midfield, while Jesus Navas missed a great chance to give City an even earlier lead, with Argentine attacker Aguero the only real threat going forward.
Steve Bruce’s hapless Hull City looked to have turned a corner when they rallied to back-to-back wins over fellow bottom sides Villa and QPR in February but, after six top-flight games without a victory and three consecutive defeats, the Tigers lie in deep trouble.
It doesn’t get any easier either, as Bruce’s strugglers will have to contest four of the top seven teams in their last six matches this season, following the recent 2-0 dispatching by Southampton. The Tigers are now even-money to face the drop this season with such a daunting run-in ahead.
Despite Villa boss Sherwood stating his attacker had sacrificed himself for the good of them team, after brining down Spurs’ Danny Rose during a counter attack, Sanchez could have spoiled his side’s chances of three points with his red card.
The Colombian took out Tottenham’s full back and received a second yellow card, meaning he will now miss the FA Cup semi-final meeting with Liverpool at Wembley. His decision could be costly at a time in the season when the Villans need a full squad available for the long run in.
Villa are available at 9/1 to lift this year’s FA Cup, as they prepare to face Brendan Rodgers’ Reds in a mouth-watering Wembley encounter.