STOKE, England (AP): Arsenal and Manchester United were embarrassed while Chelsea drew in an erratic Premier League that was as unpredictable as ever yesterday. And despite losing at Liverpool, Leicester’s surprise lead was maintained. Man United manager Louis van Gaal might not stick around in England to see if Leicester can win the league for the first time. A 2-0 loss at Stoke condemned United to a fourth consecutive loss in all competitions for the first time since 1961, and pushed the team down to sixth place. Van Gaal lamented his players’ inability to handle the pressure, and partly blamed the windy conditions at Stoke. The manager then conceded he might be at fault and suggested he could resign. “I do my utmost best to find solutions to cope with the pressure,” van Gaal said. “But in the end, my players have to do that by themselves.” It was a hapless first-half performance, and van Gaal questioned why his players “don’t dare to play football”. Memphis Depay’s diving backward header allowed Bojan Krkic to put Stoke in front, and Marko Arnautovic powered in a second goal from outside the penalty area. Wayne Rooney was forced to start a league game on the bench for the first time in two years, and United provided a greater threat only with its captain on the field in the second half. But a combination of poor finishing and Jack Butland’s saves prevented United from leaving Stoke with anything. Van Gaal’s comments and demeanour suggest his stay at Old Trafford is reaching an endgame after barely 18 months in charge. “I can also quit by myself,” van Gaal said when asked about receiving assurances about his job security, before adding: “It is not always … the club has to fire or sack me.” Asked if he would be in charge at Old Trafford on Monday when United plays Chelsea, van Gaal said: “You will have to wait and see, but I think so.” There was a bigger humbling for Arsenal, who missed the chance to go top after being thrashed 4-0 by Southampton. Cuco Martina’s half-volley put Southampton in front, and Shane Long scored twice either side of Jose Fonte’s header as the hosts rose to 12th place. Arsenal stayed two points behind Leicester, who lost 1-0 at Liverpool after conceding from Christian Benteke. Manchester City quickly recovered from losing at Arsenal on Monday to thump struggling Sunderland 4-1 to stay third. There were four different City scorers: Raheem Sterling, Yaya Toure, Wilfried Bony, and Kevin De Bruyne. A change of manager at Chelsea produced no quick fix. Guus Hiddink’s first match in charge ended in a 2-2 draw at home to high-flying Watford after Oscar missed a second-half penalty that could have secured back-to-back wins. Watford came from behind after conceding from Diego Costa’s volley to take the lead at Stamford Bridge. Troy Deeney levelled from the spot and Odion Ighalo put the visitors in front before Costa equalised with his second. While Chelsea remains two points above the relegation zone – and 13 points from fourth place – Watford is behind United only on goal difference in seventh place. Other results: Tottenham 3 Norwich 0; Bournemouth 0 Crystal Palace 0; Aston Villa 1 West Ham 1; Newcastle 0 Everton 1; Swansea 1 West Brom 0.
Pint-sized striker Peter Keyes thought he had unlocked a victory for Boys’ Town over defending champions Arnett Gardens in the Trench Town derby on Monday night, when he fired his team ahead in the 46th minute.His hopes were dashed in the 54th minute when defender Dicoy Williams headed home a Marcelino Blackburn cross to tie the scores.”Scoring was a good feeling and the way we played is work in progress. Since the last month, we have put in some hard training and it is paying off. The last two games I have scored back-to-back goals, so it is a good sign,” said Keyes, who was disappointed not to win the game.”The goal against us was a mishap between the defenders and the goalkeeper. We had a slip-up and paid the price, but it is always good to get a point away from home.”We came into the game with positive thoughts; hoping to win or even come home with a draw, but we can’t curse ourselves. We really played well in stages and came home with a point, and that is good enough,” the former Vauxhall High Manning Cup player said.While most people would have written off Boys’ Town’s chances of advancing to the semi-final, the player who is in his second stint at Boys’ Town after stops at Waterhouse and Cavalier believes they have a realistic chance.”The aim is to stay in the League and remain competitive. The semi-finals are still not out of our reach. The fourth-placed team is on 39 points and we are on 35 points and with four games to go, that is 12 points, so if we continue to work hard and get some three points here and there, it is not impossible,” said Keyes.Despite being on the wrong side of his career, Keyes, like most players in the League, still harbours thoughts of a much-coveted national cap.”I am 29 and once you are playing and performing and you have condition, it is never out of your mind. You always have a national call in the back of your mind. I have been working hard over the years and if one should come right now, I would grasp it with both hands,” said the man who has so far scored six goals this season. read more