What a difference one Premier League week makes for Manchester United fans.
Victory over Arsenal thrust the Red Devils back into title contention on a weekend that only saw two of the top eight teams grab three points. Drama, upsets, silly comebacks, Week 11 had it all.
With this in mind, let's wade through a full roundup of results before highlighting key scores and players, using statistics provided by WhoScored.
|Home Team||Score||Away Team|
|Aston Villa||2-0||Cardiff City|
|Swansea City||3-3||Stoke City|
Key Results from Week 11
Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City
Manuel Pellegrini will wonder how on earth his Manchester City side left the Stadium of Light without a point.
Somehow, Gus Poyet’s team survived a second-half siege to build upon their home win over Newcastle with a hard-fought victory over a team that is yet to impress away from the Etihad.
The statistics tell a story of frustration for the men in blue.
City registered 24 shots on Vito Mannone’s goal, but amazingly, the Italian stopper was forced into just four saves. Twelve of these efforts went wide, and eight were blocked. Interestingly, Aleksandar Kolarov emerged as the worst culprit with zero shots on target from five blasts.
Sunderland are now just three points away from escaping the relegation zone, while City drop into eighth having gathered four points from six away games.
The international break comes at a decent time for Pellegrini’s team and provides the perfect opportunity for the Chilean manager to reassess a style of play that remains laborious outside of Manchester.
Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
David Moyes needed to win a big game.
A victory against Arsenal would thrust his Manchester United side back into the Premier League race, while defeat would all but end the Red Devils’ hopes of lifting the domestic title for a second successive year.
His team battled with great determination against the Gunners, who clearly possess a more creative midfield. Arsenal racked up 60 percent possession throughout the match and should have got themselves back into the game when Bacary Sagna’s pinpoint cross evaded everyone in the box.
The Frenchman will never hit a better ball in his life, but with Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner struggling to influence the game, Robin van Persie’s terrific first-half header was enough to down his old team.
United battled, showed decent resiliency when Nemanja Vidic was taken off with concussion and did exactly what was asked of them.
That terrible start to life at Old Trafford has now turned into nine games unbeaten for Moyes across all competitions, with United lifting themselves above their City neighbours as we head into the two-week break.
Key Players from the Weekend's Action
Tim Krul, Newcastle United
Nobody would have been surprised to see Tim Krul rip off his kit to reveal a giant Superman logo at White Hart Lane.
The Dutch stopper played an integral part in Newcastle overcoming Spurs, making 14 saves and halting the home attack with an array of stops that defied belief. He plucked balls away from the line, reacted instantly to protect his net and, at one point, even shifted momentum to stop a certain goal.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa also made a fantastic clearance off the line to preserve the Magpies’ lead, but yet again, Andre Villas-Boas’ new signings came up short in front of a frustrated home crowd.
For Alan Pardew, victories over Chelsea and Spurs highlight a team that is building in the right direction after derby-day defeat to Sunderland.
Wes Brown, Sunderland
Who believed Wes Brown could stop Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo from scoring?
The pair have been in deadly form recently, suggesting the former Manchester United defender could only hope for divine intervention to overcome City’s prolific strikers.
If that were the case, Brown is obviously a religious man. The centre-back performed excellently throughout the Black Cats’ win, powering his team to victory with an assured and combative return to the side.
Who put in the best performance of the week?
At 34 years of age, his six interceptions, eight clearances and one vital block represent a tough day’s work. He organised a back four that appeared calamitous before the match, providing Poyet with a much-needed leader in wake of the team’s embarrassing defeat to Hull, a contest which saw Sunderland finish with nine men.
Most impressively, Brown even laid on the assist for Phil Bardsley’s winner. Sometimes in football, it’s just meant to be your day.