Premier League - week 19

02nd Jan 2017

Sport

Hull lost the chance to grab three well needed points in their Friday game with Everton as the match finished two apiece thanks to an 85th minute equalizer from Ross Barkley. The Tigers who put up a much more valiant performance than in previous weeks had twice led from Dawson and Snodgrass but a Marshall own goal and Barkley’s late sparkler put out the Tiger’s fire and leave them still with a mountain to climb to get out of the relegation zone. This was only their 13th point of the season from 19 games and although it did take them above Swansea they look doomed. With these stats they’ll end the season with less than 30 points and should face relegation. With the club still seemingly in turmoil their only saving grace has been the form of Robert Snodgrass who scored a peach of a goal from a free kick. He looks like he would fit in well in a team like Everton or any other number of Premiership teams and it remains to be seen if Hull can hang onto him in the transfer window. If they can’t they will undoubtedly go down and he and he alone gives the team a glimmer of a chance of staying in the Premiership.

Saturday saw a pretty packed Premiership program with Burnley humiliating Sunderland 4-1 with an Andre Gray hat trick. Gray becomes the first Burnley player to score a hat trick in the Premiership and has 4 goals over the Christmas period already, not bad for a man who hadn’t scored since August prior to that.

In the big game of the day Liverpool played Manchester City and won by a solitary Georginio Wijnaldum goal at Anfield. Liverpool remain in second six points behind Chelsea but this victory was a major boost for Jurgen Klopp over Pep Guardiola’s team. To be frank City don’t look like they are firing on all cylinders while Liverpool already know their frailties at left back and in the keeper’s position and Klopp will probably strengthen the defense with a reliable left back early in January at the very least. If not they will squander a chance of fighting for the title with Chelsea and possibly Arsenal. City don’t look like they have the mettle to carry them over the line over 38 games and it is probably the summer when Pep makes major changes. The game itself was quite honestly a relatively boring show and more was expected of both teams but really City failed to muster too much at all in the Liverpool third and 1-0 was probably about right. City looked tired. Liverpool did just enough. Either team won’t worry Chelsea if they carry on like this.

Manchester United left it very late with two goals in two minutes at the finale of their match at home against a determined Middlesbrough team and can feel aggrieved not to have left Old Trafford with at least a point. After Leadbitter’s opener for the visitor’s goals in the 85th and 86th minutes from Martial and Pogba ensured United kept up their great form of late.

Southampton have so far had a torrid Christmas program with another defeat at home. This time it was the bulldog spirit of West Brom that tormented them with a 2-1 victory thanks to an eye-popping winner from Hal Robson-Kanu the hero of Wales in the European Championships. Incredibly this was his first Premier League start for three and a half years. He also made the Baggies opener for Matt Phillips following Shane Long giving Saints the lead after 41 minutes. To compound the Saints misery the otherwise excellent Virgil Van Dijk was dismissed for shirt pulling in the final minute. Saints will hope to keep Van Dijk in the transfer window but the ex-Celtic man may find a host of clubs queuing up for his services.

Chelsea did something not seen by their fans in the last few months in their fantastic sequence of winning games. Their rock solid defense actually conceded two goals in a game against a very spirited Stoke team. Unfortunately for Stoke they conceded four goals in a 4-2 defeat but like Bournemouth a few days earlier they certainly played their part in an entertaining match against the Blues. In fact when Peter Crouch leveled the scores after 64 minutes the Chelsea faithful could be forgiven for thinking their majestic run could be at an end only for the magnificent Willian to score his second of the game barely 60 seconds later. Diego Costa scored a brilliant individual fourth goal to send the Pensioner home happy and somewhat relieved.

Talking of relief Leicester will be over the moon with a slim 1-0 home win over West Ham thanks to a Slimani headed effort on 20 minutes. A bit of respite for the Foxes fans which leaves West Ham looking over their shoulder at the bottom half of the table. Mind you they shouldn’t have too many sleepless nights over one of their rivals as the hapless Swansea who succumbed to yet another dreadful performance at home this time at the hands of Bournemouth. The 3-0 defeat leaves Swansea still stuck at the bottom of the table and still manager less although if reports on the football grapevine are true then Paul Clement could be taking the managerial reigns as early as the next game following Bob Bradley’s sacking on December 27th. Happy Christmas Bob!

New Years day saw just the two games as Spurs demolished Watford 4-1 with Kane and Ali both netting twice apiece. Lets make no bones about it, Watford were rubbish and Tottenham were good as they climbed to 4th in the table above Man City.

North London rivals Arsenal kept pace with the top two with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace with Olivier Giroud scoring a fantast scorpion kick that had Arsene Wenger swinging from the chandeliers in his post match interview. It will probably be goal of the season and deservedly so as he managed to get his back heel on the ball as it flew behind him and loop the ball into the top left hand corner of the net

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