MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Manchester United laboured but moved into the top four of the Premier League with a last second goal from Marcus Rashford earning them a 1-0 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Everton began life after Rafa Benitez in much the same manner as they ended it — in defeat — a 1-0 loss at home to Aston Villa leaving them in 16th place, just four points above the relegation zone.
Newcastle United boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win at Leeds United earning them their second victory of the season and Wolverhampton Wanderers won 2-1 at Brentford.
United had created little against a cautious West Ham but after bringing on Rashford earlier, interim manager Ralf Rangnick threw on Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial with eight minutes to go and all three had a hand in the goal.
Martial collected from Cristiano Ronaldo and fed Cavani who slipped a low ball across to the back post where Rashford converted.
The three points pushed United above West Ham and back in the top four for the first time since early October.
United have 38 points from 22 matches while the Hammers are now fifth on 37 from 23.
Manchester City, who were playing at Southampton later on Saturday, are top on 56 points with Liverpool on 45 and Chelsea on 44 points.
There was an unpleasant atmosphere at Goodison Park where the visitors Aston Villa had players hit by missiles thrown from the crowd.
Emiliano Buendia scored the decisive goal, just before halftime, with a header that looped over keeper Jordan Pickford and the celebrations led to a bottle being launched from the stands and hitting the Villa players.
Lucas Digne, who was booed by Everton fans on his return to Goodison Park since last week’s transfer, provided the assist and he was also hit by an object, with stewards and police trying to identify the perpetrators.
Everton, who are searching for a new manager and had ex-striker Duncan Ferguson in charge on a caretaker basis, have secured one league win since September.
A 75th minute goal from Jonjo Shelvey earned Newcastle a 1-0 win at struggling Leeds United.
The hosts had the better of an entertaining first half, with Dan James denied by an excellent save from Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka early on.
Despite continuing in the ascendancy after the break Leeds, without injured striker Patrick Bamford, could not find a breakthrough, and their inability to make the pressure pay proved costly as Shelvey squeezed a free-kick home.
The victory was a crucial one for the visitors, who climbed to 18th in the standings, one point from the safety zone, having played one game fewer than Norwich City in 17th, and seven points behind Leeds in 15th.
Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves struck in the 78th minute to seal a 2-1 win at Brentford in a match which was temporarily suspended due to security reasons.
The visitors had fought back after Joao Moutinho’s opener was cancelled out by Brentford’s Ivan Toney.
The game had been halted for 19 minutes in the first half due to a drone hovering above the Brentford Community Stadium.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge)