Premier League Recap

The last Premier League fixtures before the holiday saw many goals, 34 to be exact, 6 of which came in Man United’s thrashing of Cardiff City and another eight came in the Everton v Spurs game. 35 players went into the book and 1 saw red.

 

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Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool 

0-2 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised his team’s “perfect football” as Mo Salah inspired a victory in Wolverhampton that took them four points clear of Man City. The Reds have 48pts from 18 games and the only unbeaten league record in English professional football.

With the rain lashing down, the Reds went ahead after 18 minutes when Fabinho played a one-two with Sadio Mane who crossed to Salah, who flicked the ball into the net with the outside of his foot. The Egyptian then set up the visitors’ second with a beautiful lofted pass over the home defense, allowing Virgil van Dijk to score on a six-yard volley.

The victory ensures the Merseyside club will sit atop the league on Christmas Day – eight of the past nine teams who were leading at Christmas have gone on to win the title. The one side that didn’t was Liverpool in the 2013/14 season – they finished second, two points behind Man City.

 

Up Next:

Fulham v Wolves – Wednesday, December 26th (7:30am)

Liverpool v Newcastle – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

 

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Arsenal v Burnley 

3-1 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a double as the Gunners held on to maintain pressure on the top four and leave Burnley in the relegation zone for Christmas.

Mesut Özil made his first start in six league games, producing a sublime defense-splitting pass to Sead Kolasinac for the opener. The defender then picked out Aubameyang for his 11th league goal of the season.

Unbelievably, after 18 Premier League games, the Gunners led at the interval for the first time this season and it took them fewer than three minutes after the break to double the advantage, Aubameyang‘s powerful finish completed a quick counter-attack.

Burnley didn’t let the deficit phase them, staying on task with Ashley Barnes bringing the Clarets back into the contest on the 63 minute mark, with a low finish after the hosts failed to clear.

The home fans grew increasingly nervous as the visitors pushed for an equalizer, that was until Alex Iwobi gave his side a cushion when he hit home from close range in stoppage time, ensuring the North London club moved level with fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of their match against Leicester.

 

Up Next:

Brighton v Arsenal – Wednesday, December 26th (12:15pm)

Burnley v Everton – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

 

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AFC Bournemouth v Brighton & Hove Albion

2-0 

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says he’s been “pleasantly” surprised by David Brooks after the summer signing netted both goals in their 2-0 victory over a 10-man Brighton.

Brooks collected the ball on the edge of the area, turned and smashed a low shot past Mat Ryan to open the scoring mid-way through the first half. The 21-year-old Welshman then flicked Ryan Fraser‘s cross over the keeper with 13 minutes remaining to seal the 3pts.

Cherrie’s goalkeeper Asmir Begovic had been the busier of the two netminders in the opening 20 minutes at the Vitality Stadium, denying Yves Bissouma from point-blank range before diving to palm Jurgen Locadia‘s effort to safety.

The Seagulls were reduced to 10 men after 73 minutes when Lewis Dunk‘s tackle on Callum Wilson earned the defender his second yellow of the game.

Victory lifts Bournemouth up three places to eighth, whilst Brighton remain 13th.

 

Up Next:

Spurs v Bournemouth – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

Brighton v Arsenal – Wednesday, December 26th (12:15pm)

 

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Chelsea v Leicester City 

0-1 

After his Chelsea side failed to respond to Jamie Vardy‘s strike that earned the away win for the Foxes, Maurizio Sarri said his players had reacted with “mental confusion”. The Blues lost at home for the first time this season after the England striker’s first-time finish in the 51st minute.

Chelsea dominated before the break, striking the bar through Eden Hazard following a Harry Maguire error, it was their best opportunity of the game. After they went a goal down it was the hosts who became sloppy as Leicester only grew in strength and confidence having resisted the initial heavy pressure.

The Foxes came close to doubling their lead but Cesar Azpilicueta‘s sliding block denied Vardy after keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga spilt the cross, before saving from Marc Albrighton.

Chelsea spent the latter part of the game struggling to break their opponents down before missing two key late chances. In the 89th minute Antonio Rudiger headed just wide, before Marcos Alonso struck the post just two minutes later.

Leicester ended Chelsea’s undefeated home run, which they’ve held since April 1st. The defeat leaves them level on points with Arsenal, who beat Burnley 3-1 earlier on Saturday. They trail leaders Liverpool by 11pts.

The win moves the Foxes up to ninth in the table and is their first victory from 11 games in London.

 

Up Next:

Watford v Chelsea – Wednesday, December 26th (2:30pm)

Leicester v Man City – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

 

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Huddersfield Town v Southampton 

1-3 

Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said he was delighted to share an “emotional moment” with the fans after his side won for the second successive game. He celebrated with the players on the pitch in front of the away fans moments after the final whistle.

It’s the first time Southampton have won consecutive Premier League games since April 2017, following a 3-2 win over Arsenal last week. It edged them up a place to 16th.

The Saints found themselves 2-0 up at the break thanks to Nathan Redmond‘s collected strike and Danny Ings‘ penalty, but the hosts improved after the break, halving the deficit through Philip Billing‘s swerving, long-range attempt.

Michael Obafemi‘s goal sealed a fifth consecutive defeat and a seventh home loss for the Terriers, who will spend Christmas in the relegation zone.

Huddersfield were poor before half time and on the back foot from the moment Pierre-Emile Hojberg‘s ball slipped through the legs of Terence Kongolo, allowing Redmond to race on to the pass and smash a first-time shot beyond keeper Jonas Lossl.

Mathias Jorgensen tripped Ings inside the area, giving the Liverpool loanee the chance to send Lossl the wrong way from the spot. Then came the host’s only goal of the game, but just when it looked like the home side might complete a comeback, Christopher Schindler‘s miscue allowed Redmond to feed the ball to Obafemi, who steadied himself before calmly executing his shot to put the Saints in a commanding position.

 

Up Next:

Man Utd v Huddersfield – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

Southampton v West Ham – Thursday, December 27th (2:45pm)

 

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Manchester City v Crystal Palace

2-3 

After his side had stunned City, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson described it as “one of those bonanza days”.

Andros Townsend thumped home a sublime 30-yard volley to help Palace cause the biggest upset of this campaign by claiming their first win at City for 28 years and ending the defending champions’ 100% home record in the league this season.

The game appeared to be following a familiar script when Ilkay Gundogan headed the hosts into the lead after creeping into the box to meet Fabian Delph‘s cross, but the events of the next eight minutes left the entire stadium in a stunned silence.

Jeffrey Schlupp equalized with an angled strike into the bottom corner. Townsend then gave the visitors the lead with a goal of the season contender, a magnificent volley after a Bernardo Silva half-cleared free-kick. The Eagles quickly scored again, this time from the spot, Luka Milivojevic sent Ederson the wrong way after Kyle Walker fouled Max Meyer. 

Pep Guardiola sent Kevin de Bruyne on a rescue mission but it was beyond him, Aguero and City by that point. The Belgian did reduce the deficit when his cross looped into the net but Palace held on for the deserved victory.

 

Up Next:

Leicester v Man City – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

Palace v Cardiff – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

 

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Newcastle United v Fulham 

0-0 

The hosts built momentum in the second half and were denied a penalty despite appeals against Fulham’s Joe Bryan for tugging on Kennedy‘s shirt.

Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic had a shot blocked by Jamaal Lascelles with minutes to go – prompting another penalty appeal, this time for handball – before Aboubakar Kamara‘s darting run threatened to win the game for the visitors.

Newcastle’s best chance came in the first half when Lascelles saw his header bounce dangerously across the face of goal after taking a deflection off of MitrovicFabian Schär also came close with a header in the second half, which flew inches over the crossbar.

The Cottagers remain four points from safety but kept their first clean sheet in 22 Premier League games. Out of the 92 teams in professional English football, Fulham were the only team not to have kept a clean sheet prior to today’s goalless draw.

 

Up Next:

Liverpool v Newcastle – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

Fulham v Wolves – Wednesday, December 26th (7:30am)

 

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West Ham United v Watford 

0-2 

Troy Deeney‘s first half penalty sent Watford on their way to a first away win for more than two months as they climbed up to sixth in the League, though it was only for a couple of hours due to United’s 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff.

Deeney scored from the spot after Fabian Balbuena fouled Roberto PereyraGerard Deulofeu then secured the 3pts late on with a precise finish in the 88th minute.

Michail Antonio hit the woodwork twice for the hosts, who had been chasing a fifth consecutive victory for the first time since 2006. Their wastefulness in front of goal and some top defending from the visitors saw the Hammers slip to 12th in the table.

 

Up Next:

Southampton v West Ham – Thursday, December 25th (2:45pm)

Watford v Chelsea – Wednesday, December 26th (2:30pm)

 

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Cardiff City v Manchester United 

1-5 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær got off to the perfect start as Man U’s interim manager with a 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff. The former United striker succeeded Jose Mourinho and got his first win courtesy of a performance that’ll encourage fans. The Manchester team looked a completely different side, they played as a team and won as a team, there were no egos or any backroom drama in sight.

Marcus Rashford opened the scoring after just three minutes with a stunning free-kick that left Cardiff goalie Neil Etheridge with no chance. Ander Herrera doubled the visitors lead with a deflected effort, and a fabulous team goal by Anthony Martial effectively won the affair before the break. United looked inspired by the recall of Paul Pogba, who had a hand in all three first-half goals.

The hosts’ only goal came via a 38th minute Victor Camarasa penalty, giving the fans some hope with the scoreline at 2-1. Jesse Lingard helped shatter the Welsh side’s dreams even more when he won and scored a second-half penalty and then rounded Etheridge to tap home an emptynetter at the end of the 90 to secure the result.

It was the first time the Red Devils have scored five goals in the Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson‘s last game in charge in 2013. It was also the fourth consecutive time they’ve won their first game under a new manger.

Up Next:

Palace v Cardiff – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

Man Utd v Huddersfield – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

 

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Everton v Tottenham Hotspur

2-6 

Spurs produced an outstanding performance on Merseyside to brush aside the Toffees and move within two points of second-placed Manchester City.

Tottenham found themselves trailing early on after Theo Walcott found the target from Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s low cross after Gylfi Sigurdsson had split the Spurs defense apart. Their lead was short-lived however, as Son Heung-min produced a sublime equalizer from a tough angle following a mix-up between Kurt Zouma and Jordan Pickford.

Dele Alli put the visitors ahead for the first time after showing feline reflexes to Pickford‘s save from Son. Captain Fantastic Harry Kane made it 3-1 after Kieran Tripper‘s curling free-kick hit the post and rebounded into the England striker’s path.

It was an entertaining match for all, but the Everton fans, with Christian Eriksen extending Tottenham’s lead with a superb first-time shot, before Sigurdsson scored a consolation second against his former club. Son scored his second and Spurs’ fifth of the afternoon shortly after, before producing a cross for Kane to make it six.

Victory came at a cost for the visiting team, Alli was forced off with an injury after a challenge with international team-mate Pickford just before the break, which former England captain Alan Shearer described as “disgusting”.

Spurs head into Christmas five points ahead of London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, who sit fourth and fifth in the table. Everton are down in 11th with 24pts from 18 games.

 

Up Next:

Burnley v Everton – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

Spurs v Bournemouth – Wednesday, December 26th (10am)

 

ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN

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