Premier League Recap

The last Premier League games of 2018 gave us plenty of entertainment to see out the year. We were gifted 21 goals, 32 players went in the book with two seeing red.

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Brighton & Hove Albion v Everton 

1-0 

Jurgen Locadia‘s second half strike proved decisive as the Seagulls beat Everton to end 2018 with another win at the Amex Stadium. The Dutchman struck just before the hour mark after Toffees midfielder Andre Gomez inadvertently diverted the ball into his path.

Richarlison was restored to the Everton line-up after starting Wednesday’s game on the bench, he twice went close to scoring for the visitors, but David Button saved a point-blank range shot and pushed another onto the post in after the break.

Kurt Zouma came close to rescuing a point late on but saw his header hit the crossbar as the hosts held on.

The victory means the hosts have now gained 33 of their 43 points this calendar year at home. It leaves Everton in 10th and Brighton 13th.

Up Next:

West Ham v Brighton – Wednesday, January 2nd (2:45pm)

Everton v Leicester – Tuesday,January 1st (7:30am)

 

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Fulham v Huddersfield Town 

1-0 

Aleksander Mitrovic scored the winner in stoppage-time to secure what could be a season-saving victory against bottom side Huddersfield. The Serbian slid the ball low past Jonas Lossl for his eighth of the season.

Just minutes earlier, with eight minutes remaining, Aboubakar Kamara saw his penalty saved by Lossl. He was the most relieved player on the field when Mitrovic scored, having refused to give the ball to the striker for the penalty, leaving both the Serbian and manager Claudio Ranieri furious.

The win is the Cottagers first in seven matches and moved them above Burnley, for a day anyway (Burnley beat West Ham to move back into 18th), and within a point from safety. Meanwhile the Terriers remain bottom after a seventh straight defeat, equalling the club record set in 1955.

 

Up Next:

Arsenal v Fulham – Tuesday, January 1st (10am)

Huddersfield v Burnley – Wednesday, January 2nd (2:45pm)

 

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Leicester City v Cardiff City 

0-1 

Leicester, who recently beat Chelsea and Manchester City, had 62% of the possession but couldn’t find the back of the net. The visitors had goalkeeper Neil Etheridge to thank for that, producing an inspired display which included saving James Maddison‘s penalty in the second half.

The only goal of the game came from Victor Camarasa‘s stunning 92nd minute strike to give the Bluebirds their first win on the road this the season. The winner came against the run of play, the midfielder curling home from 25 yards out sending the ball sailing over Kasper Schmeichel and into the top corner.

The defeat means Leicester drop to eighth and Cardiff move about Southampton into 16th.

Up Next:

Everton v Leicester – Tuesday, January 1st (7:30am)

Cardiff v Spurs – Tuesday, January 1st (12:30pm)

 

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Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanders

1-3 

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said his players “are not machines” after Tottenham’s title hopes suffered an unexpected setback on Saturday thanks to a dramatic comeback win by Wolves at Wembley.

Harry Kane, who is to be awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year Honors, opened the scoring with a beautiful 25-yard strike in the first half.

Wolves flipped the script to punish a poor second-half performance by the hosts, scoring three in the final 18 minutes of the match, ending Tottenham’s five-game winning streak.

The North London club would have moved to three points behind leaders Liverpool with a win, but the defeat and the Red’s 5-1 thrashing over Arsenal means the Merseyside club are now seven points clear at the top.

Willy Boly brought the visitors level with a strong header in the 72nd minute, Raul Jimenez then beat Hugo Lloris with a weak shot from the edge of the area to put the visitors ahead. Helder Costa added their third on the counter-attack just three minutes from time.

Tottenham didn’t register a single shot in the second half. The loss, combined with Man City’s win on Sunday sees them drop to third, now 2pts off second place.

Up Next:

Cardiff v Spurs – Tuesday, January 1st (12:30pm)

Wolves v Palace – Wednesday, January 2nd (2:45pm)

 

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Watford v Newcastle United 

1-1

Hornets manager Javi Gracia defended his decision to start some key players on the bench as his Watford side left it until the 82nd minute to salvage a point against Newcastle.

The hosts found themselves a goal down after Salomon Rondon‘s 29th minute header. After 54 minutes Gracia brought on captain Troy Deeney and midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure, who headed home the equalizer eight minutes from time.

The Hornets had dominated possession throughout the match but found it difficult to create changes against a Magpies side who took the lead early through Rondon, who also had two goals disallowed for offside, although the first decision was marginal. Watford finally managed to breach Newcastle’s defense late in the game with Doucoure powering home a Gerard Deulofeu cross.

Watford forward Isaac Success was impressive on the attack for the home side, going close when his goal-bound shot was blocked by Federico Fernandez.

The draw sees Watford sit 9th in the league, whilst Newcastle sit 15th.

 

Up Next:

Bournemouth v Watford – Wednesday, January 2nd (2:45pm)

Newcastle v Man Utd – Wednesday, January 2nd (3pm)

 

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Liverpool v Arsenal 

5-1 

Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the table to nine points after devastating Arsenal at Anfield, with hat-trick hero Roberto Firmino providing the inspiration.

The visitors took the lead 11 minutes in when Ainsley Maitland-Niles slid in at the far post to score, though it later turned out to be a false dawn for the Gunners.

Liverpool responded to the news of title rivals Spurs’ loss with an explosive offensive display that saw them 4-1 up by half time and well on their way to continuing their unbeaten league run to 20 games.

Firmino took advantage of Arsenal’s defensive confusion to equalize and then squirmed his way past a gaggle of defenders to put the Reds ahead, all in the space of two minutes. Saido Mane helped extend the host’s lead after 32 minutes when Andrew Robertson‘s long cross exposed the visitors, before Mo Salah converted from the spot in stoppage time of the first-half.

After the break Liverpool cruised to close out the win, Firmino completed his hat-trick from the spot after 65 minutes following Sead Kolasinac‘s shove on Dejan Lovren.

Manchester City’s win at Southampton on Sunday sees the points difference drop to seven. The two teams will meet for a pivotal encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday, January 3rd.

Up Next:

Man City v Liverpool – Thursday, January 3rd (3pm)

Arsenal v Fulham, Tuesday, January 1st (10am)

 

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Crystal Palace v Chelsea 

0-1 

Chelsea extended the gap between themselves and fourth-placed Arsenal as N’Golo Kante‘s second-half strike sealed the victory and secured the 3pts at Crystal Palace.

The Frenchman’s goal came in the 51st minute when he broke forward from midfield to convert David Luiz‘s through ball.

Although the Blues dominated possession, there were very few clear-cut chances for either side. Palace ended up sitting back in the hopes of catching Chelsea on the counter-attack – a tactic which failed to work as the Eagles took 85 minutes to register an effort on goal.

Willian came close to scoring for the visitors with a free-kick that struck the post, Ross Barkley also hit the woodwork.

Chelsea now have 43pts, five more than their London rivals Arsenal. They are also just four points behind second-placed City and two behind Spurs. Palace remain in 14th with 19pts.


Up Next:

Wolves v Palace – Wednesday, January 2nd (2:45pm)

Chelsea v Southampton – Wednesday, January 2nd (2:45pm)

 

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Burnley v West Ham United 

2-0 

Burnley secured three vital points in their fight to escape the relegation zone, as they ended a three-game losing streak with a comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham at Turf Moor.

Boss Sean Dyche made five changes to his Burnley side who were thrashed 5-1 by Everton on Boxing Day, including a recall for Tom Heaton in net in place of Joe Hart. They responded well with Chris Wood putting them ahead with a right-footed shot, which arrived at the end of a sweeping team move involving Heaton, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil and Ashley Barnes.

Their second of the game came before the break, when 19-year-old McNeil turned in Westwood‘s cross at the far post.

The defeat sees a disappointing end to a strong December for West Ham, who arrived in Lancashire on the back of five wins from six games. Despite the return of Marko Arnautovic from injury, the Hammers were sluggish throughout the affair, with their best chance coming from substitute Andy Carrol, who forced a fine save from Heaton late on.

The victory lifts the hosts above Fulham into 18th and level on points with 17th-place Southampton, who lost to Manchester City.

Up Next:

Huddersfield v Burnley – Wednesday, January 2nd (2:45pm)

West Ham v Brighton – Wednesday, January 2nd (2:45pm)

 

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Southampton v Manchester City 

1-3 

Man City’s 3-1 win at Southampton reduces Liverpool’s lead at the top of the league to seven points, it also sees them jump back ahead of Tottenham into second place.

The hosts responded to David Silva‘s early opener when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg took the ball off Oleksandr Zinchenko and fired it home. City managed to recover from the brief scare with a little help from Lady Luck – Raheem Sterling‘s shot deflected off James Ward-Prowse for an own goal to make it 2-1 City. The scoring was completed before the halftime break when Sergio Aguero saw his header hit the back of the net.

Both sides had a number of decent chances, with City’s Silva, Aguero and Riyad Mahrez going close in the first half and Aguero striking the crossbar in the second. Southampton’s threats came from Charlie Austin, who was denied twice by Ederson in the first half before the Hojbjerg scored the equalizer.

The Saints’ Danish goalscorer, who had only just returned from suspension, was shown a straight red for a lunging tackle on Fernandinho with just over five minutes left in the game.

Up Next:

Chelsea v Southampton – Wednesday, January 2nd (2:45pm)

Man City v Wolves – Thursday, January 3rd (3pm)

 

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Manchester United v Bournemouth 

4-1 

Interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskajær says he isn’t solely focused on attacking football after the Red Devils scored their 12th goal in three games in an exhilarating victory over Bournemouth at Old Trafford.

Three of the hosts’ goals came in the first half, with Paul Pogba scoring his second double in as many games and Marcus Rashford hitting home the third.

United conceded their third goal in three games when Nathan Ake headed in before Man Utd substitute Romelu Lukaku fired in his team’s fourth.

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly was shown a straight red card for chopping down Cherries midfielder Ryan Fraser.

The Manchester team sit sixth and are now just three points adrift of fifth-placed Arsenal, having trailed by eight following their 3-1 defeat at Liverpool earlier in the month.

The victory sees Solskjæer emulate Sir Matt Busby and Jose Mourinho by winning his first three league games in charge. The Norwegian will be hoping to make it four at Newcastle on Wednesday.

Bournemouth remain 12th.


Up Next:

Newcastle v Man Utd – Wednesday, January 2nd (3pm)

Bournemouth v Watford – Wednesday, January 2nd (2:45pm)

 

ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN

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