Manchester United and Newcastle play out a classic, while Villa get a vital win
It was a night of fascinating Premier league action, as Manchester United and Newcastle played out a six goal thriller.
With three games taking place on Tuesday night, all of which would have ramifications at the bottom of the table, there was no shortage of drama, and plenty to talk about.
Aston Villa show signs of life
It was a tense final period at Villa Park after they took the lead just before the hour mark, mainly though a large slice of luck. Joleon Lescott rose highest in the box to connect with a header that went straight at Wayne Hennessy in the Crystal Palace goal. To date, the Welshman has been brilliant this season, but the ball seemed to squirm out of his grasp and dropped between his legs.
He was perhaps unlucky with the trajectory of the ball as it bounced behind him and over the line, but Remi Garde won't care at all as he finally gets his first win as Aston Villa manager.
In particular the calibre of the opposition that they faced will be the thing for the manager and the players to take confidence from as Alan Pardew's side have been very strong and beaten a number of big teams so far. With fans and players clashing in ugly scenes on the weekend, what the entire club needed was a win to show that they are at least trying.
They held out for the rest of the second half and were perhaps unlucky not to add to their lead after some beautiful footwork from Jordan Ayew saw him beat a number of defenders, but his shot flew over the bar.
The question is now whether Villa and Garde can take any heart from this display and turn things around, but it would truly be the greatest of escapes if they manage to put a run together and stay in the division.
Rooney back to his best?
With two goals to his name on Tuesday night, Rooney has now scored four in the last three, and he looked a different player to the one that has been so heavily criticised all season. There was less dropping deep and aimless running from him, as he looked to be at the pace of the game and knew what he wanted to do when in possession, rather than trying to force something to happen.
He tucked away the penalty to give his team the lead, got the assist for Jesse Lingard's goal and then stroked home a beautiful third from the edge of the box, leaving Rob Elliot absolutely no chance. He was the impetus for entire the team, as they finally showed signs of the old attacking flair that the fans at Old Trafford have been crying out for.
However, they didn't get the three points, despite taking the lead twice, as Newcastle refused to lie down. Georginio Wijnaldum stroked home his first goal with a calm finish from a knockdown in the box, which kicked the team back into life after conceding two goals.
Chris Smalling and Aleksander Mitrovic tussled in the box, and after the Newcastle player's shirt ended up around his ears, the referee pointed to the spot for the Serbian to convert, and Paul Dummet's last gasp equaliser gave the Newcastle fans, and manager Steve McClaren, something to shout about.
Speaking after the game, Louis Van Gaal did state that there were a number of big decisions for referee Mike Dean to make, but added that the referee can't be blamed, the team will have to look at themselves for answers:
"We are very disappointed but we have to blame ourselves because we could have finished this match earlier, with big chances from Lingard and Fellaini...but we didn't do that. Paul Dummet's deflected shot, ok, that's luck for Newcastle United, but you have to force the luck".
Despite scoring so many goals and the frontline finally clicking and scoring a number of goals, he was not pleased with the team as a whole. He referred to the constant criticism that his side don't attack by saying "I don't agree with the analysis of many many people, we are always attacking. But I have to live with it, I have to cope with it, my players have to cope with that's very difficult for them, but now we've given two points away".
West Ham continue return to form with Dimitri Payet
A goal from Harry Arter in the first half had Bournemouth up in this tie, and for periods they looked to be in control. Arter had another chance in the second half that he volleyed into the ground, but it bounced harmlessly past Adrian's post in the West Ham goal.
However, Slaven Bilic's side were not to be beaten as they scored three without reply in the second half to comprehensively win the match. Their upturn in form in the league has more or less coincided with the return of Dimitri Payet to the lineup, as they've now won three on the bounce and overcome a period of eight games without a win.
Image: Adam Davy / PA Wire/Press Association Images
Payet missed six of those eight games, and has only missed one of his side's wins all season. He scored the first of the goals tonight, with Enner Valencia grabbing the next two, but there's no doubting that he has become the fulcrum of this side and, if he continues in this type of form, simply has to be included in Didier Deschamps' plans for the summer.