New Managers And A Busy Winter Schedule Into Full Swing
The Premier League entered the final month of the year with two new managers and off the back of a full round of midweek fixtures.
Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew were announced as the new managers of Everton and West Bromwich Albion respectively, and the former got off to the perfect start while the latter was forced to settle for a draw.
The Toffees defeated Huddersfield Town 2-0, thanks to goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, while the Baggies were held to a goalless draw by Pardew’s former club, Crystal Palace. Everton appear to be back in form, having beaten West Ham United 4-0 in midweek – a game that included an incredible goal from Wayne Rooney from inside his own half. Meanwhile, the Baggies now have three points from their last three games.
The game of the weekend came at the Emirates Stadium where ten-man Manchester United defeated Arsenal 3-1, despite the Gunners dominating the majority of the chances and possession. Goals from Antonio Valencia and Jesse Lingard saw the Red Devils race into a 2-0 lead within ten minutes, but Alexandre Lacazette eventually pulled a goal back just after half-time. Lingard capped off a fine individual performance with a second goal, and United’s third, before Paul Pogba was sent off for a poor tackle on Hector Bellerin.
Meanwhile, Liverpool secured an emphatic 5-1 victory at Brighton and Hove Albion. Emre Can opened the scoring on the half hour mark before Roberto Firmino struck twice either side of half-time. Glenn Murray pulled a goal back for the Seagulls with a dubious penalty but the Reds added further gloss to the scoreline through Philippe Coutinho’s wonderful free-kick and Lewis Dunk’s third own goal of the season. The victory follows on from Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Stoke City on Wednesday night, while Brighton are now without a home victory since September.
Chelsea were forced to come from behind against Newcastle United in Saturday’s early kick-off, eventually beating the Magpies 3-1. Dwight Gayle stunned Stamford Bridge with the opening goal, but it was not long before the Blues were ahead. First Eden Hazard converted before Victor Moses crossed for Alvaro Morata to head in. Hazard scored a penalty in the second half to secure the points.
At the other end of the table, Swansea City are now bottom following their 2-1 defeat at Stoke. The Potters’ Xherdan Shaqiri and Mame Biram Diouf cancelled out Wilfried Bony’s early goal, and Paul Clement’s side now occupy last place following Palace’s point at West Brom. The Swans have not won since they beat Huddersfield on 14 October.
West Ham are now 19th but almost came away with a point against seemingly runaway champions Manchester City. Angelo Ogbonna headed the Hammers into a surprise lead in the first half, but the Citizens eventually equalised through Nicolas Otamendi. City’s winner eventually came with just seven minutes remaining through David Silva. Pep Guardiola’s side remain unbeaten and eight points clear at the top of the table.
Tottenham Hotspur’s season continues to stall as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Watford. Heung-min Son cancelled out Christian Kabasele’s early goal, before Spurs had defender Davinson Sanchez sent off for an elbow on Richarlison. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have dropped to sixth and are without a win since they beat Palace on 5 November.
Meanwhile, the South Coast derby between AFC Bournemouth and Southampton finished 1-1 at Vitality stadium. Ryan Fraser put the Cherries ahead in the first half before Charlie Austin equalised, but Bournemouth should have had a penalty when Adam Smith appeared to be fouled by Sofiane Boufal. Jon Moss booked the defender for a dive but later admitted that he had got the decision wrong.
Finally, Demarai Gray scored the only goal of the game as Leicester City defeated Burnley. The Foxes have moved away from the relegation zone thanks to their improved form under former Saints boss Claude Puel and are now ninth.