It was a tale of contrasting fortunes for the men in the Old Trafford dugouts for Sunday’s Premier League clash.
While Ralf Rangnick formally began his Manchester United tenure with a scrappy 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, secured through Fred’s fine late goal, Patrick Vieira saw his team lose for a third consecutive game.
With Newcastle United and Norwich City having begun picking up results in recent weeks, it means Palace are now in a clutch of teams just six points above the relegation zone.
For all of their improvement in play under Vieira this season – and Palace have been far more adventurous and impressive – they have struggled to turn good displays into points.
Happily for the Eagles, they face three teams below them – Everton, Southampton and Watford – in their next three games.
United, meanwhile, exhibited signs of Rangnick’s influence with more vigorous and concerted pressing, despite the German being yet to take a training session.
Spurs coasting under Conte ahead of of crucial spell
Life under Antonio Conte may still be steady rather than spectacular for Tottenham Hotspur, but the results continue to tick over nicely.
And there was one genuine blockbuster moment during Sunday’s 3-0 home Premier League win over Norwich City in Lucas Moura’s 25-yard rocket of an opening goal.
Davinson Sanchez and Son Heung-min also scored as Spurs overtook neighbours Arsenal and moved to within two points of fourth-placed West Ham United, with a game in hand.
Conte now has four wins and a draw from six games as manager, and how he could do with retaining that momentum in the next few games.
Tottenham face Rennes on Thursday in a match that will decide their Europa Conference League fate, successive trips to Brighton and Leicester City followed by a home date with Liverpool and a Carabao Cup quarter-final with West Ham – all before Christmas.
Bamford back for Leeds with a bang
It didn’t take long for Patrick Bamford to remind Leeds United of his value against Brentford on Sunday.
After missing 11 games through injury, the England centre-forward came off the bench midway through the second half of a match that Leeds were trailing 2-1.
Twenty minutes later, with stoppage time close to running out and Leeds goalkeeper Ilan Meslier coming up for a corner in a desperate last throw of the dice, Bamford stuck out a leg to divert Luke Ayling’s flick-on into the roof of the net and snatch his team a point.
Villa vindication against Leicester
Steven Gerrard could be forgiven for feeling vindicated on Sunday night after his Aston Villa team came from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1.
Villa thought they’d taken the lead just before half-time, only for Michael Oliver to disallow Jacob Ramsey’s strike for a dubious foul on Kasper Schmeichel.
Gerrard’s men came out fighting after the break and Ezri Konsa quickly scored his and their second of the afternoon to lift them ahead of Leicester in 10th.