Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed Manchester United’s progress last year after a 2-1 win over Aston Villa with Liverpool tied at the top of the Premier League

United lost 2-0 at Arsenal a year ago and fell 24 points behind the English champions after playing two more games

Another season of only fighting for the top four was Solskjaer’s men ahead of them after winning just two of their first six league games

But like all other competitors stumbled in the last few weeks, the Red Devils have now taken 26 out of 30 points in an unexpected title challenge

“Of course we are happy with what we are doing. We have shown that we have improved a lot in a year,” said Solskjaer

Bruno Fernandes has been the key figure in transforming United’s fortune over the past 12 months and the Portuguese once again provided the winner to oust a rapidly improving Villa side

Solskjaer’s team needed a winner in the 93 Minute to beat the wolves on Tuesday was much faster this time

Anthony Martial forced Emiliano Martinez to make an excellent save on his left within 10 minutes before Fred, Paul Pogba and Fernandes fired just past the gate

The breakthrough came five minutes before the break and was thanks to Pogba’s ingenuity when the Frenchman finally found shape despite speculation about his future

Pogba and Marcus Rashford jointly sent Aaron Wan-Bissaka to the right and his cross was passed home by Martial at the near post

Villa himself was unbeaten in five games to secure a spot in the top 6 and showed why United was pushed back with their start into the second half

Jack Grealish was once again the focus of the visitors’ best work, and Bertrand Traore made up for it with his cross

The men of Dean Smith were quick to undo their fine work, however, as a gentle challenge from Douglas Luiz on Pogba was deemed sufficient for a penalty by referee Michael Oliver

Fernandes’ near-perfect penalty record continued when he won the penalty for his 15th Goal of the season scored beyond Martinez’s reach

United needed a big save from David De Gea to deny Matty Cash and a brave block from Eric Baily in added time to hold on, and Solskjaer is undeterred before a trip to Liverpool for the Title fight two weeks time

“It’s early in the season and we shouldn’t get carried away,” added the Norwegian. “The league is going to be so tight this season

“There will be difficult games, strange results, but since ‘Project Restart’ we have been very consistent in my opinion”

Previously, Everton missed a chance to approach a point below the top two when they were beaten 1-0 at home by West Ham

The Toffees failed to prevail against a West Ham team in their third game in six days and were punished when Tomas Soucek scored the winning goal four minutes from time

“We had no chances and we didn’t give any chances, they had a happy distraction and we lost the game, we could play up front with more intensity and quality”

The men of David Moyes have had the toughest festive game schedule in the Premier League in terms of calm and he said the Hammers’ attitude has changed this season to fight adversity

“The players have played three games in six games, they are great,” said Moyes, who won for the first time as a visiting manager at Goodison Park, where he has made a name for himself in charge of Everton for the past eleven years

“I don’t think there was a fitness difference that honors the players so much that the mentality here at West Ham has changed a lot”

The win put West Ham to three points from third place, despite staying in tenth place in a tight Premier League table

Zookeeper Rae Harvey raised Clover as Joey, only to bring the kangaroo back in need of care after the Black Summer bushfires

Victoria noted a worrying increase in the number of registered coronavirus infections over the weekend

Queensland did not report any new cases of Covid, but a second case of a South African variant was found in a returning traveler

The insurgency troop was called in to separate hundreds of New Year’s Eve celebrants who attended an illegal fireworks party despite Covid restrictions

A cyclist who appears to be sticking his knee out to knock over a child who has blocked his path is being investigated by the police

More stores and venues will be added to the list that require people to be tested for Covid if they have been to these locations

While fireworks were shown to a limited extent in some Australian state capitals, cities around the world had much more subdued targets by 2020

Visitors left a big mess on Byron Bay Beach this week after a loud party to be cleaned up

Health officials urge Sydney residents to be on high alert to track down the source of new infections in western Sydney

It is requested that Victoria revert to mini-lock after the virus re-spreads in the community

An average of four cyclones cross the Australian coast in one season, but we could be looking at six or more in 2021

Australian states and territories have been quick to respond to rising coronavirus cases in Sydney and Melbourne, announcing a series of border closings in the past 24 hours

The US President was accused of provoking war when he sees his final weeks in office

A nurse in California tested positive for Covid-19 more than a week after receiving the protective shock

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World News – AU – Man Utd title challenge in a year, says Solskjaer

Source: https://au.news.yahoo.com/soucek-strikes-winner-west-ham-195217624.html