WRAPUP 1-Soccer-Gerrard off to a flyer with Villa, Solskjaer feels heat after United thumped at Watford

Steven Gerrard enjoyed a triumphant return to the Premier League as his managerial reign at Aston Villa began in style on Saturday but the problems piled up for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a 4-1 hammering at Watford. Chelsea surged clear at the top with a 3-0 victory at Leicester City while at the other end of the table Newcastle United hit the bottom as they remained winless after 12 games following a 3-3 home draw with Brentford.


Reuters | Updated: 21-11-2021 00:47 IST | Created: 21-11-2021 00:47 IST
WRAPUP 1-Soccer-Gerrard off to a flyer with Villa, Solskjaer feels heat after United thumped at Watford

Steven Gerrard enjoyed a triumphant return to the Premier League as his managerial reign at Aston Villa began in style on Saturday but the problems piled up for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a 4-1 hammering at Watford.

Chelsea surged clear at the top with a 3-0 victory at Leicester City while at the other end of the table Newcastle United hit the bottom as they remained winless after 12 games following a 3-3 home draw with Brentford. Gerrard was one of three new managers as the season resumed following the international break with Dean Smith, the man he replaced at Villa Park, also getting off to a great start as he guided Norwich City to a 2-1 victory over Southampton.

A stunning 84th minute strike by Ollie Watkins and a late goal by Tyrone Mings gave Aston Villa a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion in Gerrard's bow as a Premier League manager. "It feels really good and it was the result that we dreamt of. It was the perfect start for us but now we've got to go and prove that we can back it up," Gerrard said after Villa ended a five-match losing run in the league.

The pressure is ratcheting up on Solskjaer after another calamitous display by his misfiring side. They were lucky to only be 2-0 down at halftime, with Joshua King and Ismaila Sarr on target for Watford. Donny van de Beek pulled a goal back in the 50th minute but they capitulated after Harry Maguire was sent off in the 69th minute.

Stoppage-time goals by Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis completed United's humiliation. "It was hard to watch the team playing today. It was nightmare after nightmare. It's not acceptable," keeper David de Gea, who saved Sarr's first-half penalty, said.

Chelsea sent out a clear message in the title race with goals by Antonio Rudiger, N'Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic crushing Leicester to put Thomas Tuchel's side on 29 points, six clear of second-placed champions Manchester City who are at home to Everton on Sunday. "It was a good performance and we could've finished the game earlier," Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel said. "There are still things to improve, decision making and conversion, but it was a mature performance and we needed it."

Smith's last game for Villa was a defeat by Southampton but, against the same opposition, he gave Norwich renewed hope that they can climb away from the relegation zone. Norwich fell behind early on when Che Adams scored but Teemu Pukki equalised soon after and a glancing header by Grant Hanley earned Norwich their first home win of the season to lift them to 19th place with eight points, three behind 17th placed Leeds United.

Newcastle are now bottom as they marked the start of Eddie Howe's tenure with a thrilling draw with Brentford. Howe was unable to watch as he was confined with COVID-19 but at least his side avoided defeat as French winger Allan Saint-Maximin rescued a point late on.

Burnley and Crystal Palace also shared six goals at Turf Moor while high-flying West Ham United were brought back to earth with a 1-0 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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