Manchester United grabbed a hard-fought 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur during Monday's Under-21 Premier League action, and Andreas Pereira stole the spotlight, scoring twice.
The Brazilian continues to impress and is looking for a bigger role with the senior squad, and if he continues to play the way he did against Spurs, he's bound to get his wish. James Weir scored United's first goal, while Joe Pritchard found the net for the visitors.
In Monday's other match, West Ham United beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0. Here's a look at the full results:
|Manchester United||3-1||Tottenham Hotspur|
|West Ham||2-0||Brighton & Hove Albion|
The current Under-21 Premier League standings:
|U21 EPL Standings|
|Manchester United U21||7||5||1||1||17:8||16|
|Manchester City U21||8||4||2||2||17:13||14|
|West Brom U21||11||6||4||1||14:6||22|
|Aston Villa U21||13||6||3||4||15:18||21|
|West Ham U21||14||6||2||6||23:24||20|
|Stoke City U21||13||6||1||6||14:12||19|
|Newcastle Utd U21||12||3||4||5||17:21||13|
The upcoming schedule:
|Tuesday, Jan. 5||Arsenal||Blackburn|
|Friday, Jan. 8||Middlesbrough||Norwich|
|Sunday, Jan. 10||Sunderland||Leicester|
Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News noted Nick Powell was not in the starting XI for the Red Devils, while Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker made Tottenham's squad:
Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst
No Nick Powell (amid chatter of a move to Preston on loan) #mufc https://t.co/EDFTcAgYGY2016-1-4 18:14:36
United have been charging up the standings of late, and the hosts continued their fine form by putting pressure on Tottenham from the opening minute. Pereira looked lively and active early, although the first chance fell to the visitors, with Townsend forcing Joel Pereira into making a save.
Weir opened the score after 13 minutes, however, although at first it seemed as if Will Keane had scored. Tom Glover got a hand on Weir's hard shot from a tight angle, and the ball trickled off the post and over the line.
Per Paul Hirst of Press Association Sport, Keane tried hard to get a foot on the ball, however:
Paul Hirst @hirstclass
Originally thought Will Keane had scored for Utd, but turns out Weir's shot had already crossed line when he bundled it into back of the net2016-1-4 20:03:29
Townsend was by far Spurs' top attacking outlet and frequently provided the visitors with chances, but United's defence stood firm. The closest Tottenham came to equalising in the first half came just before half-time, when the 24-year-old struck the cross bar with a curling shot.
By that time, Pereira and Keane had already come close to doubling the lead, and Shaquile Coulthirst nearly scored the goal of the season, placing an overhead kick just wide.
The second half started at a slow pace and chances were few, until Pereira tried his luck with a direct corner kick and put his team up 2-0. Per Base Soccer Agency's Doron Salomon, the youngster probably meant to score that way, too:
Doron Salomon @DoronSalomon
Andreas Pereira has just scored direct from a corner. Might have meant it too, previous corner went in almost the exact same place2016-1-4 20:24:56
United appeared to be in cruise control, but the visitors hit back through Pritchard, who scored with his first touch just two minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Coulthirst came close to grabbing an equaliser just before the final whistle, but instead it was Pereira who preserved the win with his second goal of the night.
West Ham booked a much-needed win over last-placed Brighton & Hove Albion, a 2-0 triumph that moves the club into the top four of the Group 2 standings.
Djair Parfitt-Williams opened the score just before half-time, finishing off a well-worked team move to give the hosts the lead. The Hammers had been the better team by far up until that point, as lowly Brighton struggled putting together chances.
Alex Song should have scored after some lovely work from trialist Reece Brown, but the former Barcelona star fired a wild shot well over the bar. Brown made a strong impression, and it's likely his trial will result in a permanent move to east London.
West Ham have another Reece, however, and it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that it was Reece Oxford who headed home their second goal to put the win safe. Oxford has long been touted as one of England's top young players, and a loan move to a Championship club is likely on the horizon for the 17-year-old.
Arsenal will start the new year with a match against Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday, as they look to continue their push for promotion to Group 1.