Premier League Review – Gameweek 14

Aston Villa 2 – 3 Watford

Bottom of the table Aston Villa were beaten yet again as Watford held the struggling club at bay during a ten minute injury time period.

That man Odion Ighalo found the back of the net first, with his poked finish opening the scoring 17 minutes into the game. Micah Richards equalised for the hosts shortly before half time. A head injury to Heurelho Gomes marred the second half, before an Alan Hutton own goal and a header by Troy Deeney gave Watford a commanding lead. Andre Ayew pulled one back late on but Villa couldn’t capitalise on the ten minutes of injury time, and ended up suffering their 11th Premier League defeat of the season.

Aston Villa remain rock bottom of the Premier League with just five points from their opening 14 games, and they have now not won in 13 matches. They are now seven points from safety. Watford move up to 11th and are now just two points away from the top half of the table.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48WTSu–Sd4

Bournemouth 3 – 3 Everton

A six goal thriller at the Vitality Stadium saw Bournemouth clinch a last gasp equaliser after Everton thought they had done enough to win.

First half goals from Ramiro Funes Mori and Romelu Lukaku put Everton in complete control going into the second half, and they looked extremely comfortable when they were two goals to the good. But Bournemouth came out a different side in the second half, stopping Everton from extending their lead and threatening constantly down the right thanks to excellent work from substitute Adam Smith. Smith made his performance count for something ten minutes from time as he unleashed a screaming 25 yard shot to bring Bournemouth back into the game, with Junior Stanislas equalising seven minutes later. But it looked like heartbreak for the Cherries as Ross Barkley netted a 95th minute goal, only for Junior Stanislas to head in another equaliser in the 98th minute.

This moves Bournemouth up one place into 18th position, but they remain two points from safety. Everton sit in 9th position as their promising young team continue to impress going forward.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P50-kKurFeA

Crystal Palace 5 – 1 Newcastle

A shocking defensive performance from Newcastle saw them slip back into the Premier League relegation zone as Crystal Palace romped to victory.

It looked promising for the Magpies as Papiss Cisse opened the scoring after ten minutes with a flicked header, but it was all downhill for the travelling fans from then on. James McArthur equalised four minutes later, with Yannick Bolasie lashing home three minutes later. Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie added goals either side of half time before James McArthur got his second of the game in the 90th minute. This scoreline wasn’t even particularly flattering to the hosts, who could have had more had it not been for smart saves from Rob Elliot.

This moves Newcastle back into the bottom three as their arch rivals Sunderland pick up a rare win, and they have now conceded the joint most goals in the Premier League alongside Bournemouth. Crystal Palace move up to 7th with this win as they try to break out of a period of poor form.

Manchester City 3 – 1 Southampton

Manchester City took back the top spot in the Premier League with a well deserved win over Southampton, who couldn’t recover from their poor first half showing.

The £55 million man Kevin De Bruyne started off a man of the match performance with a coolly slotted finish nine minutes in to put Manchester City in the driving seat. De Bruyne turned provider as Fabian Delph saw his deflected shot nestle in the back of the net 11 minutes later. Southampton improved in the second half, scoring an early goal via Shane Long’s head, but they couldn’t make a full recovery and De Bruyne put it on a plate for Aleksandar Kolarov 20 minutes from time to wrap up the three points for City.

This moves Manchester City back into the top spot after Leicester drew with Manchester United in the later kick off, but there is only a point between 1st place and 3rd place going in to a busy Christmas period. Southampton drop to 10th after their six match unbeaten streak on the road came to an end.

Sunderland 2 – 0 Stoke

Sunderland saw themselves escape from the relegation zone for the first time this season as two late goals condemned the ten man Stoke to defeat.

It was largely an uneventful and drab game, with the only moment of note being Ryan Shawcross’ sending off after picking up a second yellow card. But Sunderland still struggled to break down an organised Stoke back line, and it took until the 82nd minute for Patrick van Aanholt to fire home from the edge of the 18-yard box. Youngster Duncan Watmore added a second two minutes later to wrap up a rare victory for the relegation threatened Sunderland.

This takes Sunderland out of the drop zone for the first time since the opening day of the season, with their victory plunging Newcastle back into the depths to the delight of the Sunderland fans. Stoke drop to 12th after their four away match unbeaten streak comes to an end.

Leicester 1 – 1 Manchester United

An unlikely top of the table clash involving Leicester and Manchester United ended all square, but it was Jamie Vardy’s record breaking goal that got everybody talking.

The moment that every football fan has been waiting for came in the 24th minute. An error in judgement by Ashley Young allowed Jamie Vardy to break the offside trap and run on to a precise Christian Fuchs’ through ball and hammer it past David De Gea, in doing so breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in ten consecutive Premier League games. Bastian Schweinsteiger headed in the equaliser on the stroke of half time, and despite spirited efforts by both teams to win the match in the second half neither team could add a second goal.

The shared spoils between these two sides allow Manchester City to take the top spot back off Leicester. The former leaders drop to 2nd, behind on goal difference to Man City but remaining one point ahead of 3rd placed Manchester United.

Tottenham Hotspur 0 – 0 Chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur failed to capitalise on their chances as they missed out on the opportunity to move into the Premier League top four against Chelsea.

It was a fairly uneventful match in general, with Chelsea having a single shot on target in the entire game and Asmir Begovic making a few smart saves to deny Son Heung-Min and Moussa Dembele. Eden Hazard was deployed as the main striker for the visitors, and one of the only moments of interest was Diego Costa’s strop on the sidelines after Jose Mourinho decided against putting him on as a substitute.

Spurs keep the pace with North London rivals Arsenal with this result, remaining two points behind a top four spot. Chelsea manage to move up to 14th with this draw, and they have now kept three clean sheets in a row.

West Ham 1 – 1 West Brom

A dominant first half display from West Ham wasn’t enough to secure the win against a dogged West Brom side on Sunday.

Mauro Zarate opened the 20 minutes in with a beautifully curled free kick from 25 yards, but West Ham couldn’t take the rest of their chances in the first half and will have been disappointed to only go into the break with a one goal lead. West Brom came out an improved side after the break, and substitute Rickie Lambert made an instant impact as his shot was deflected into the West Ham goal by Winston Reid. The visitors had a number of chances to take the lead, but some fine goalkeeping by Adrian and a few near misses saw the game end a deserved draw.

West Ham have now failed to win any of their last four Premier League games, a run which has seen them drop to 8th in the table. West Brom sit in 13th position with 18 points from their opening 14 games.

Liverpool 1 – 0 Swansea

Jurgen Klopp managed to pick up his first Premier League win at Anfield as Liverpool struggled to get out of first gear against the out of form Swansea.

Liverpool should have been thriving from the confidence that their 4-1 thrashing of Manchester City gave them last weekend, but they appeared flat in front of the Anfield faithful and failed to threaten with any regularity. Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge both returned from injury to face Swansea, but neither looked at their sharpest. Chances were at a premium, with just two shots on target in the entire game, both Liverpool’s attempts. The second of these was the decisive shot as James Milner fired in a penalty after Neil Taylor was adjuged to have hand balled.

This win lifts Liverpool to 6th in the Premier League, with Tottenham Hotspur two points ahead in 5th. Swansea remain disastrously out of form, with the South Wales outfit dropping to 15th as the pressure mounts on Garry Monk.

Norwich 1 – 1 Arsenal

Two more injuries and two dropped points made for a nightmare Sunday afternoon for Arsenal as Norwich held on for a point.

A botched clearance by John Ruddy gifted the visitors the lead as Alexis Sanchez picked up the ball and set up the in form Mesut Ozil to open the scoring. But Lewis Grabban displayed his strength as he held off Gabriel to slot past Petr Cech just before half time. Arsenal couldn’t break through a spirited Norwich side again, and their heads will have dropped as they suffer yet more injuries to key players. Laurent Koscielny left the pitch in the first half with a hip injury, with the pre-match doubtful Alexis Sanchez following after the break with a recurrence of his hamstring problem.

Manchester City take a two point lead over Arsenal with this failure to win, and the Gunners remain in 4th. Norwich will be lifted by this performance, but they are still in a perilous position down in 16th.

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