Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Saints hit Gunners for four

Published:Sunday | December 27, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Southampton's Jose Fonte (second left) celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game with teammates during the English Premier League match against Arsenal at St Mary's, Southampton, England, yesterday.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal gestures during the English Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium yesterday. Stoke won 2-0.
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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.