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Soccer-United held by Watford while Eriksen makes return and Leeds slump

Randy Mancini 5 Feb 26
Premier League - Manchester United v Watford
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Watford - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - February 26, 2022 Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka heads at goal REUTERS/Craig Brough

February 26, 2022

By Simon Evans

MANCHESTER (Reuters) – Manchester United were frustrated by relegation threatened Watford in a goalless draw in the Premier League on Saturday while Danish international Christian Eriksen made his return to the game for Brentford.

Leeds United continued their slide towards the relegation zone, suffering a 4-0 loss at home to a Harry Kane inspired Tottenham Hotspur.

United’s hopes of a top four finish and a place in next season’s Champions League were hardly helped by dropping two points to 19th-placed Watford at Old Trafford.

Arsenal are in fifth place, two points behind United but have three games in hand.

Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post in the fifth minute and had an effort disallowed for offside but United struggled to create enough clear cut chances against Roy Hodsgon’s side.

Bruno Fernandes was unable to convert two good opportunities in the first half and Anthony Elanga was off target with the best opportunity after the break.

“We did everything apart from score. It’s hard to take that result. In the end, if you miss that many chances it is difficult to win the game. We were in full control for almost the whole game, we didn’t allow them hardly any counter attacks,” said United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

“We need to be sharper in front of goal, you can hardly create more chances than we did today. In the end it is a very frustrating afternoon,” he added.

Eriksen made his return to competitive action for the first time since collapsing with a cardiac arrest at last year’s Euro 2020 tournament as he came on as a substitute for Brentford in their 2-0 defeat by Newcastle United.

The former Tottenham midfielder, fitted with a heart-starting device, joined the London club as free agent in January.

Eriksen needed life-saving treatment on the pitch last June when he collapsed in a match against Finland and he had his contract terminated by Italian club Inter Milan.

“If you take away the result. I’m one happy man. To go through what I’ve been through, being back is a wonderful feeling,” said the Dane.

Goals from Joelinton and Joe Willock earned the three points for Newcastle who climb up to 14th place.

Leeds fell apart early at Elland Road, conceding twice inside 15 minutes as goals from Matt Doherty and Dejan Kulusevski put Spurs in the driving seat.

Kane volleyed home a third in the 27th minute, making Leeds only the second side in Premier League history to concede three or more goals in five consecutive matches in the competition, after Sunderland in November 2005.

Son Heung-min completed the rout late on leaving Leeds in 16th place, just two points above the relegation zone.

18th-placed Burnley continued their upturn in form with a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. The Clarets have lost just one of their last seven league games.

Jeffrey Schlupp had given Palace the lead at the break before Palace defender Luka Milivojevic turned a low drive from Aaron Lennon into his own net.

Che Adams and Oriol Romeu were on target as Southampton beat basement club Norwich City 2-0 on Friday.

Aston Villa won 2-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion thanks to goals from Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins.

Leaders Manchester City were at Everton in the late game while on Sunday Chelsea face Liverpool in the League Cup final.

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge)