Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 29th 2015 Contents A63
Tuesday, December 29, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
delivered an improved performance
for beleaguered manager Louis van
Gaal but couldn t cure its scoring
woes in a 0-0 draw against Chelsea
that left his team five points off the
Champions League positions yester-
Van Gaal raised the prospect of quit-
ting last weekend and this stalemate---
United s sixth 0-0 since Oct. 25---
leaves his position precarious, with
the 20-time English champions now
winless in eight games in all compe-
But there s no doubt United played
for its manager, with Juan Mata and
Anthony Martial striking shots against
the goal frame in the first half and
both Ander Herrera and Wayne
Rooney missing close-range chances
after the break.
One goal in its last four home
matches, though, tells its own story
for United, which badly needs a striker
in the January transfer window---
whether or not Van Gaal is still in
"There is not any reason to resign
for me," said Van Gaal, who brought
up the possibility after the 2-0 loss at
Stoke on Saturday. "Maybe the media
wants that, but I shall not do that."
United stayed sixth, but fell further
adrift of the top four, while Chelsea
is only three points above the relegation
zone in a woeful title defense and still
hasn t won away since August.
Nemanja Matic side-footed high and
wide when one-on-one after a count-
er-attack in the best chance for
Chelsea, which arrived at Old Trafford
without a recognized striker.
For once, Chelsea's problems
were just a sub-plot.
Van Gaal s perilous position dom-
inated the build-up to a match
between two giants of the league who
have fallen on hard times this season.
It was a case of the beleaguered hosts
against the embattled champions, and
Van Gaal gave a defiant wave to United
fans as he took his place in the dug-
out. He was also applauded down the
tunnel after the final whistle by many
fans in United s Stretford End, a pos-
itive sign despite the frustrating result.
Van Gaal likely won t have seen the
odd United supporter wearing scarves
emblazoned with "Jose Mourinho The
Special One" and featuring the face
of the Portuguese coach, who has
been tipped as a potential replacement
for Van Gaal. If United keeps playing
like it did in the first half especially,
Van Gaal won t be going anywhere
The movement was sharper, the
tempo was higher, the passing was
crisper and more adventurous, and
chances came and went. Mata
smashed a fierce shot against the bar
in the second minute; Martial cut in
and struck a low shot against the
post; and United had eight first-half
shots in total. It was the kind of
attacking football that United fans
have been demanding.
Without the suspended Diego
Costa and any back-up striker,
Chelsea fielded Eden Hazard as an
emergency striker and only fitfully
threatened. John Terry drew a great
one-handed save from goalkeeper
David de Gea, and De Gea produced
a double save early in the second half.
United s pace slowed after the break
but Herrera should have given his
team the lead when he met Martial s
cross with a close-range effort that
goalkeeper Thibault Courtois clawed
Chelsea squandered an even better
chance, when Nemanja Matic was
set free on the counter from a corner,
only for the midfielder to sidefoot
high and wide with only De Gea to
beat. Rooney volleyed over the bar
late on as United had to settle for
another 0-0, ending a three-game
losing run in the league.
LONDON---Mesut Ozil inspired
Arsenal to a 2-0 victory over
Bournemouth yesterday as it pro-
visionally moved to the top of the
English Premier League.
Ozil set up the opener for Gabriel
who scored his first Arsenal goal
before the German stroked home
It was the first league meeting
between the teams and victory
moves Arsenal a point above leader
Leicester, which plays Manchester
"Ozil convinces everyone he is a
talented player that works very hard,"
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
said. "He is a complete player. He
was the focal point of our team today.
He gives us security and confidence
...We were focused from the start.
It took us a while to get going but
we were in control of the game and
did very well."
Not only was Arsenal dominant
in attack but by not conceding a
goal, goalkeeper Petr Cech set a new
Premier League record of 170 clean
"He can be very proud of that as
it is a remarkable achievement," said
Wenger. "He is a gifted goalkeeper."
Arsenal could have gone top of
the league with victory on Boxing
Day but it was shocked by a 4-0
defeat against Southampton.
Bournemouth had the better of
the early play Monday but it could
not create any real chances and Arse-
nal went ahead after 27 minutes.
Ozil whipped in a corner which
was met by defender Gabriel who
put the Gunners ahead.
He almost got a second soon after
when his header hit the post with
the ball falling for Per Mertesacker
only for the defender to hit it wide
from in front of goal.
Arsenal was dominant and
Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur
Boruc had to save Theo Walcott s
The hosts got the second goal after
63 minutes when Ozil played a one-
two with Olivier Giroud who flicked
the ball to the German and he slotted
it into the net.
Walcott, Giroud and Alex Oxlade-
Chamberlain all went close to getting
a third while Eunan O Kane shot
over the bar for Bournemouth after
finding space in the penalty area.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saves from Manchester United's Wayne Rooney during the English Premier
League soccer match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England,
yesterday. AP PHOTO
Arsenal goes top of Premier League Yesterday's Results
Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0
Manchester Unitted 0 Chelsea 0
West Ham 2 Southampton 0
Tottenham 2 Watford 1
Norwich 2 Aston Villa 0
Van Gaal's future remains in limbo
...as Chelsea, Man U in goalless draw
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