After what was another enthralling long weekend of the League we all know and love, it’s now time to look back at all of Matchday Eighteen’s spoils and thrills as David Moyes’ West Ham United collected a first away win of the season and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City Train thundered on.
Energetic Eagles Stun Sorry Foxes In Early Kick-Off
Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace made it a seventh straight game unbeaten in Sky Sports’ Saturday lunchtime fixture by defeating a Leicester City team that had won their last three consecutively at the King Power Stadium.
Christian Benteke laid the demons of recent weeks to rest by heading the visitors one to the good early on, before Wilfried Zaha showed great skill and composure to beat Kasper Schmeichel from close-range before the break.
In the second period, one of the game’s pivotal moment would come when Wilfred Ndidi was controversially shown a second yellow card for simulation, this paved the way for striker Bakary Sako to put the cherry on the cake in added-time.
Claude Puel’s side remained eighth in the wake of a shameful home defeat, whilst Incredibly, Palace are now up as high as 14th, well away from the dreaded drop zone.
Alonso Strike Fires Blues To Victory
A sole effort from Marcos Alonso at the end of the first-half was enough for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea to see off Mauricio Pellegrino’s Southampton in the first of the Saturday afternoon ties.
After a first period of dominance from the hosts, they were finally able to get the affair’s only goal in the third minute of added-time, Alonso stepping up on a long-range free-kick and finding the back of the net in some style.
There would be yet more opportunities for the home side in the second-half, the Spaniard left-back only being denied a second by an expert save from Fraser Forster and Cesc Fabregas going close too.
But, in the end, the scoreline didn’t reflect the Blues’ dominance in the affair as they kept up the pressure on Manchester United from third place, meanwhile, the Saints fell a position to 11th and have now not won in five matches.
Seagulls And Clarets Locked On South Coast
At the same time, just South of the Capital an intriguing battle was being played out as Burnley travelled to face Brighton & Hove Albion although the game would largely disappoint.
Things could have been oh so different, however, the hosts passing up a glorious opportunity to take the lead on 36 minutes, after James Tarkowski fouled Glenn Murray on the area.
The forward stepped up and smashed the ball over the bar, prior to that, Anthony Knockaert was denied by the post and then a block on the line, whilst Chris Wood had a goal disallowed for the visitors late on.
A share of the points sees Chris Hughton’s Seagulls remain in the safe-haven of midtable, currently occupying 13th, meanwhile, Sean Dyche’s Clarets’ magnificent start wasn’t hurt too much as they managed to stay sixth.
Ozil Volley The Difference At The Emirates Stadium
Much like the similar affair in West London, North there would be an encounter decided by a single first-half goal as Arsenal downed Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners found the definitive strike of the affair after just 23 minutes, with German Mesut Ozil showing remarkable technique to take a volley from a clearance first time and send it flying into the top corner from just inside the box.
Both teams squandered chances after half-time, Ayoze Perez and Joselu firing just wide for the Magpies, whilst Rob Elliot just about kept Jack Wilshere out at the other end.
A pressure-relieving three points for Arsene Wenger means that his team leapfrogged Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley to regain fifth place, on the flip side, Rafa Benitez’s men are now in real trouble, falling into the bottom three and without a victory since October.
Terriers Record Shock Hertfordshire Triumph In Vicarage Thriller
What was surely the pick of Saturday’s action came in another traditional 3 PM clash, a result that surprised many as Huddersfield Town trounced an out of sorts Watford at Vicarage Road.
The away side were on top from the off, taking the lead on six minutes in controversial circumstances with Elias Kachunga bundling home from close-range after being in an offside position, Aaron Mooy then converted from a similar position a short while later for two.
Ten minutes later, Troy Deeney was dismissed for a dangerous tackle by Michael Oliver, leaving Laurent Depoitre to make it three just after the break, but then Jonathan Hogg was shown a second yellow card and the hosts pushed, Abdoulaye Doucoure pulling a goal back stunningly.
However, Mooy later scored a penalty to ensure that Marco Silva’s team now drop to tenth, with four defeats in their last five, creeping up on them as David Wagner’s Terriers, a point and a place below.
Arnautovic Revenge Aids Hammers On The Road
Marko Arnautovic, featuring against his former club, helped the Hammers to a first away win since the final day of last season, coming in emphatic style against a lifeless Stoke City.
The tie’s most contentious moment arrived early on when Manuel Lanzini went down off the tackle of Erik Pieters on the counter-attack, Referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot and Mark Noble finished things off, making his 300th Premier League appearance.
Having missed a series of brilliant opportunities, Arnautovic finally got his name on the scoresheet with 15 minutes remaining, volleying past Jack Butland from a Lanzini flick, the Argentinian was the creator once more to set up Diafra Sakho for the third late on.
Mark Hughes is in real slumber with the Midlands club in the wake of that result, they fell dangerously to 17th, while the Irons are now unbeaten on three and up and out of the Relegation Zone to 15th.
Four Star Citizens Too Strong For Spurs
In BT Sport’s Saturday late kick-off and the weekend’s most anticipated clash, Guardiola’s Manchester City entertained Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium.
The Citizens would be fired into the lead by the most unlikely of characters early in the affair, Ilkay Gundogan popping up, but things didn’t appear to be so free-flowing in attack for the hosts after that, until Kevin De Bruyne gave them a cushion on 70 minutes.
A pair of close-range finishes from Raheem Sterling sealed the deal ten minutes apart from each other, a rare penalty miss from Gabriel Jesus was sandwiched in between these, whilst Christian Eriksen pulled a goal back in injury-time.
City’s lead at the top of the Table remained 11 points in the wake of the thrashing, well clear of their Manchester rivals, but Spurs saw a three-place fall, out of the top four and down as far as seventh place.
Lack-Lustre United Scrape Past Baggies
An unconvincing second-half performance from Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils just about saw them hold on to the slimmest of victory margins over Alan Pardew’s West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns.
The visitors had looked like they were going to run away with it in the first-half, Romelu Lukaku rising superbly to silence his many critics with a terrific header and Jesse Lingard making it two with a shot that deflected off Ahmed Hegazi.
Unexpectedly, the Baggies were able to set up a grandstand finish in the closing stages, substitute Gareth Barry keeping a cool head amidst a goalmouth scramble to pull one back, however, they couldn’t quite find a late leveller.
With that, Albion made the inventible fall down to 19th position, having hovered over the dreaded bottom three for weeks on end, while United keep plugging away at a Blue Moon above in first, second themselves.
Coutinho Stars As Emphatic Reds Thrash Tame Cherries
Philippe Coutinho fore-fronted a barnstorming Liverpool performance away from home in the second of the Super Sunday matchups, to hit a sorry looking Bournemouth side under Eddie Howe for four.
It would take Jurgen Klopp’s Reds all of 20 minutes to seize the advantage, that man Coutinho scoring a truly stunning solo effort, before Roberto Firmino teed up Dejan Lovren for the second just moments later.
The League’s top scorer Mo Salah wrapped up the three points before half-time had even come about with a great finish from a tricky angle, leaving Firmino himself to get on the scoresheet in the latter stages of the encounter.
The Cherries will now be looking over their shoulders slightly at what’s below, sitting 16th and a single point ahead of the Relegation Zone, no such issues for the Red Half of Merseyside, who climbed back into fourth position in some style.
Comeback Toffees Down Depleted Swans To Continue Run
The Blue Half of Merseyside would be the focus on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football to bring the PL weekend to an end with the trip of struggling Swansea City to the cauldron of Goodison Park.
The game that ensued would be nothing short of thrilling in Liverpool, Leroy Fer would stun the home fans, first of all, finishing directly from a corner, although Dominic Calvert-Lewin did equalise on the stroke of half-time, converting the rebound of a saved Wayne Rooney penalty.
Midway through the second period, Gylfi Sigurdsson popped up to bite the hand that used to feed him with a sumptuous strike past former teammate Lukasz Fabianski, allowing Rooney to not make a second mistake from the spot and keep up his impressive recent scoring run.
As Everton continued to stay unbeaten under new Boss Sam Allardyce, they remarkably rose to ninth place, Paul Cement’s side remained bottom of the pile, however, now a full four points from any kind of safety.
So, after all of the action from another thrilling weekend of the English Top-Flight has been well and truly reviewed, attention will turn to the Last Eight of the Carabao Cup this midweek, but never fear, the Premier League will return on Friday night with a Christmas cracker at the Emirates Stadium.