Manchester United held by Everton (and VAR) but remains fifth after Tottenham loses to Wolves

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A spectacular first-half equalizer by Bruno Fernandes gave Manchester United a valuable point at Everton on Sunday. (Paul Ellis/Getty)
A spectacular first-half equalizer by Bruno Fernandes gave Manchester United a valuable point at Everton on Sunday. (Paul Ellis/Getty)

Manchester United was held to a 1-1 draw at Everton Sunday but retained fifth place in the Premier League — which would be enough to secure Champions League qualification if Manchester City’s ban is upheld on appeal — after Tottenham lost 3-2 against Wolverhampton Wanderers and squandered the opportunity to leapfrog the Red Devils.

They were the only Prem games on the schedule Sunday. City’s match against Arsenal was postponed with the Sky Blues set to take on Aston Villa in the League Cup final instead. Both contests were played on a knife’s edge.

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Man United got lucky with VAR

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sure could’ve used a win. But Everton came into the match boasting a 7-3-3 record at Goodison Park, the sixth-best home record in the league. And the visitors’ task got a whole lot tougher when Dominic Calvert-Lewin put Everton out in front less than three minutes into the match. Adding insult to injury, the early wound was self-inflicted.

United keeper David de Gea was the culprit. The Spanish backstop waited too long and ultimately blasted his clearance off the encroaching Calvert-Lewin, who gladly took credit for the opener when the ball ricocheted into the net:

It took a while for Solskjaer’s men to find their feet following de Gea’s early howler. But they regrouped in time to level just past the half-hour mark.

There was nothing fluky about this one. Everton right back Djibril Sidibe, who had subbed into the tilt for the injured Andre Gomes just moments earlier, coughed up possession in his own end of the field. The ball ended up with Bruno Fernandes, who fired a right-footed rocket inside Jordan Pickford’s near post:

It was a worthy equalizer. If Pickford was at all at fault, however, he made up for it with a double-save in the 90th minute.

First he got a fingertip on another Fernandes effort, then he scrambled to his left and kicked away Odion Ighalo’s shot off the rebound from point-blank range to prevent the loss.

At the other end, de Gea did the same with a brilliant kick save of his own. But the guests also got some help from VAR after Harry Maguire accidentally turned Calvert-Lewin’s shot into his own net. After review, it was determined that Gylfi Sigurdsson — who didn’t appear to be interfering with the play — was offside:

Three points would’ve moved Man United four points clear of Spurs. But it’s still a good result under the circumstances, and enough to double their cushion to two points over Tottenham.

Raul Jimenez leads Wolves over Tottenham

Jose Mourinho’s Spurs led twice in the first half and seemed well on their way to at least a point late in the match in London. Then Diogo Jota and Mexican international striker Raul Jimenez scored second-half goals to stun Spurs and keep them even on points with seventh-place Sheffield United, which has played one fewer match. (The Blades were originally set to take on Villa this weekend.)

Jimenez’s winner came in the 73rd minute, but the hosts were unable to salvage a point over the final quarter-hour of the contest:

What a difference a couple of weeks makes. Mourinho’s team had been steadily climbing the table and had been sniffing around the Champions League places after a four-match unbeaten run in January and February.

Now, following consecutive losses in the league, last year’s European runner-up is in danger of missing out on Champions League play for the first time in five years.

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