ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE WEEK 18 ROUND UP
Everton 2 v 6 Spurs
Tottenham produced an outstanding performance to brush aside Everton and move two points behind second-placed Manchester City in the Premier League, Mauricio Pochettino’s side had to come from behind at Goodison Park after Theo Walcott swept home Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s low cross from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s defence-splitting pass, Everton’s lead was short-lived as Son Heung-min produced a sublime equaliser from a tight angle following a mix-up between Kurt Zouma and Jordan Pickford, Dele Alli put Spurs ahead for the first time after reacting first to Pickford’s save from Son, then Harry Kane made it 3-1 when Kieran Trippier’s curling free-kick hit a post and rebounded into the England captain’s path.
In an entertaining game, Christian Eriksen’s sublime first-time shot extended Tottenham’s lead before Sigurdsson scored a consolation against his former club.
Son added the fifth and produced the cross for Kane to make it six, yet victory came at a cost for the free-scoring visitors. Alli was forced off after a challenge with England team-mate Pickford. Spurs are five points ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal, who are fourth and fifth respectively.
Arsenal 3 v 1 Burnley
Mesut Ozil, unbelievably making the first start in six league matches, produced a sublime defence-splitting pass to Sead Kolasinac for Arsenal’s opener, with the defender picking out Aubameyang for his 11th league goal of the season, it took the Gunners fewer than three second-half minutes to double the advantage, Aubameyang’s powerful finish completing a quick counter-attack.
Burnley kept to their task though and Ashley Barnes brought the Clarets back into the contest on 63 minutes with a low finish after the home side failed to clear.
The home fans grew increasingly nervous as Burnley pushed for an equaliser but Iwobi scored from close range in stoppage-time to ensure the Gunners moved level with fourth-placed Chelsea, who lost at home to Leicester.
Bournemouth 2 v 0 Brighton
David Brooks, was the match-winner for the Cherries after the summer signing netted both goals in a 2-0 victory over 10-man Brighton.
Brooks collected the ball on the edge of the area, turned onto his left foot and cracked a low shot past Matt Ryan to open the scoring midway through the first half, the 21-year-old Welshman then flicked Ryan Fraser’s teasing cross over the Brighton goalkeeper with 13 minutes remaining to seal three points for the hosts. The Seagulls were reduced to 10 men after 73 minutes when Lewis Dunk’s tackle on Callum Wilson earned the defender a second yellow card.
The win lifts Bournemouth up three places to eighth, while Brighton remains in 13th.
Chelsea 0 v 1 Leicester City
Chelsea lost at home for the first time this season after Jamie Vardy’s first-time finish in the box from James Maddison’s pass in the 51st minute, snatched the three points at Stamford Bridge. The Blues had not lost at home since 1 April, against Tottenham, and this defeat leaves them level on points with fifth-placed Arsenal, who beat Burnley 3-1 earlier on Saturday. They trail leaders Liverpool by 11 points.
For Leicester, the win moves them up to ninth in the table and is their first victory from 11 matches in London.
Huddersfield 1 v 3 Southampton
After a 3-2 win over Arsenal last Sunday, this was the first time Saints have won successive Premier League games since April 2017 and edged them up one place in the table to 16th. Hasenhuttl’s side was 2-0 up at the break thanks to Nathan Redmond’s cool strike and a Danny Ings penalty, but the hosts improved after the break and halved the deficit through Philip Billing’s swerving, long-range effort.
But Michael Obafemi’s goal sealed a fifth consecutive defeat and a seventh loss at home for Town, who stay in the relegation zone.
Manchester City 2 v 3 Crystal Palace
Andros Townsend smashed home a sublime 30-yard volley to help Palace cause the biggest shock of the campaign to date by claiming their first win at City for exactly 28 years and end the defending champions’ 100% home record in the top flight this season.
City’s form at Etihad Stadium this season has been sublime, scoring an average of three goals a game in nine successive league victories and the game appeared to be following a familiar script when Ilkay Gundogan ghosted into the box to head City into the lead from Fabian Delph’s cross, but the events of the next eight minutes left the home fans in stunned silence.
First, Jeffrey Schlupp equalised with a fizzing angled drive into the bottom corner after meeting James McArthur’s pass on the edge of the area. Then ex-Spurs player Andros Townsend gave the visitors the lead with a contender for goal of the season, a fabulous volley after Bernardo Silva half-cleared a free-kick.
City sent on club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero after the break, with the fans expecting a comeback but Palace quickly scored again, this time from the spot. Townsend headed Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross against the post, Kyle Walker fouled Max Meyer as he tried to clear and Luka Milivojevic sent Ederson the wrong way with his penalty.
Kevin de Bruyne scored again for City but Palace held on for a deserved victory.
Newcastle 0 v 0 Fulham
There was very little festive fun for the fans, in this bore draw of the week.
West Ham United 0 v 2 Watford
Troy Deeney’s third goal of the season set Watford on the way to their first away victory since 20 October. Deeney opened the scoring with a first-half penalty after defender Fabian Balbuena fouled Roberto Pereyra at the end of a neat move involving Jose Holebas and Gerard Deulofeu. Deulofeu sealed the points late on for the Hornets with a precise 88th-minute finish into the bottom-right corner.
Cardiff 1 v 5 Manchester United
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got off to a perfect start as Manchester United’s interim manager with a 5-1 thrashing of his former club Cardiff.
The former United striker succeeded Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in midweek and got his first win courtesy of a performance that will encourage United fans as some of their more marginalised talents came to the fore in a performance full of attacking intent.
Marcus Rashford’s stunning free-kick, a deflected effort from Ander Herrera and a fabulous team goal by Anthony Martial effectively won the contest before half-time for a United side inspired by the recalled Paul Pogba, who had a hand in all three first-half goals.
Victor Camarasa’s penalty briefly gave Cardiff hope as they reduced the arrears to 2-1, but Jesse Lingard won and scored a contentious second-half penalty and then rounded Neil Etheridge to tap into an empty net at the death to make the result safe.
It is the first time United have scored five goals in a Premier League game since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game in charge – a 5-5 draw with West Brom in May 2013.
I got five correct scores this week, please see following my week 19 predictions.
Fulham 1 v 2 Wolves
Burnley 2 v 1 Everton
Crystal Palace 3 v 1 Cardiff
Leicester 1 v 3 Manchester City
Liverpool 3 v 1 Newcastle
Manchester United 3 v 1 Huddersfield
Tottenham 3 v 1 Bournemouth
Brighton 1 v 2 Arsenal
Watford 1 v 2 Chelsea
I hope you are all having a lovely Christmas Time.