In Week 17 of the Premier League, Arsenal reclaim the top spot as Liverpool drop from first to fourth position after a defeat against Manchester City.
"To be two down and come back to win is a great result."
Liverpool’s defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day saw them leapfrogged by Arsenal at the top of the table, whilst Manchester City claimed second position.
Close rivals Chelsea sneaked a win, Newcastle demolished Stoke, and Manchester United continued their winning ways to keep up with the front runners.
After almost a year, Everton lost their unbeaten home record after losing to Sunderland.
Hull City 2 Manchester United 3 12.45pm KO, Boxing Day
Manchester United visited the KC Stadium on a high after an emphatic win against West Ham United. However, former United captain and Hull manager Steve Bruce had other ideas as his team took a 2-0 lead inside the first fifteen minutes.
Two former United players combined for Hull’s opener as Alex Bruce rose above Patrice Evra to win the ball from a Tom Huddlestone corner and James Chester volleyed home from a couple of yards.
Not long after, David Meyler lobbed a ball into the area for Yannick Sagbo. United failed to clear and the ball fell back to Meyler whose miss-hit volley came back off Johnny Evans and a tame shot deflected into the back of the net.
Six minutes after Hull scored their second, Chris Smalling’s header from a Wayne Rooney free kick halved the deficit. United were now in command and a fine save by Hull’s keeper Allan McGregor kept the score line 2-1.
However, Moyes’ side levelled when Rooney tried to play a through ball which was blocked by Curtis Davies and rebounded back to Rooney who took a touch and hammered the ball into the back of the net. It was his 150th Premier League goal for Manchester United.
In the second half, it was United who took the lead after Chester went from hero to zero as he headed in an Ashley Young cross into his own net. United held on and took the points.
It was David Moyes’ and Manchester United’s fifth consecutive win since he took charge: “To be two down and come back to win is a great result. I thought it would be a long road back but these players have done this in the past and we did well to get back into the game.”
West Ham 1 Arsenal 3 3pm KO, Boxing Day
Arsenal claimed back the top spot from Liverpool after coming from a goal behind to win a highly entertaining game at Upton Park.
Arsenal dominated the first half. But within a minute of the restart, Upton Park erupted as West Ham took the lead. Kevin Nolan’s strike was spilled by Wojciech Szcesny into the path of Carlton Cole and he converted the simplest of chances.
West Ham rattled Arsenal and had the visitors back peddling with Matt Jarvis squandering a chance, and both Joey O’Brien and Carlton Cole missing glorious opportunities to double the lead.
Arsenal rode their luck and came bouncing back as Theo Walcott scored twice within as many minutes, firstly equalising on 68 minutes with a scuff shot from inside the box which went through Adrian’s hands, then on 71 minutes with a header from a Lukas Podolski cross.
The game had now turned on its head and Arsenal totally took control and sealed the victory on 79 minutes when a Walcott cross was laid off by Olivier Giroud for Lukas Podolski to hammer the ball in to the goal.
Chelsea 1 Swansea City 0 3pm KO, Boxing Day
Chelsea continued to pile the pressure on Arsenal with a convincing 1-0 win over Swansea at Stamford Bridge and their fifth win in seven outings.
At 29 minutes, Eden Hazard broke the deadlock as he cut in from the left and drove a shot into the back of the net. It was all Chelsea pressure after that but somehow Swansea survived and only once did they have a rare chance to trouble Petr Cech.
It was business as usual for José Mourinho’s side but the Swans will be looking behind their shoulder as they have won only two out of their last ten games.
Manchester City 2 Liverpool 1 5.30pm KO, Boxing Day
Two of the premiership big hitters did not let the fans down as the game started with pace and commitment. City came close as Jesus Nevas’ far post header glanced of the woodwork.
Liverpool hit back and started to grow into the game with some devastating passing and attacking movement that has caused havoc to so many teams this season. The best chance fell to the visitors as Raheem Sterling broke the offside trap and slotted the ball into the net but the goal was flagged offside.
However on 24 minutes, Suárez’s flick played Sterling in and he rounded Hart and stood aside as Philippe Coutinho arrived and turned the ball into an unguarded goal.
Within 15 minutes, City changed the game with two goals. Vincent Kompany headed down a David Silva corner past Simon Mignolet into the goal. Then heading into injury time, Samir Nasri sent a perfect pass to Nevas who in turn put Álvaro Negredo through and he hit a lofted shot without any conviction or power over Mignolet.
In the second half, City were a constant threat but it was Liverpool who had the better chances; City still held on however, to claim the three precious points.
City are now one point behind the leaders Arsenal with Liverpool dropping to fourth behind Chelsea. Three points now separate the top four.
Mignolet was criticised for Negredo’s goal, but one Asian fan posted in his defence:
“I reckon he has been an absolute stellar performer for us. We have potentially the best keeper to look after us for years to come and with him in goal we will win more than we lose.”
Elsewhere, Everton lost their almost year-long home record with a 1-0 defeat against Sunderland.
Tottenham’s new boss Tim Sherwood could not inspire his team to victory in his first Premier League home game as they were held 1-1 by manager-less West Bromwich Albion.
Newcastle United gave their hopes of a Champions League spot a boost as they thrashed 9-man Stoke 5-1 as Loïc Rémy scored twice and Papiss Cissé scored his first league goal of the season.
Southampton bounced back with an emphatic 3-0 win at Cardiff, Crystal Palace enjoyed a big win at the expense of Aston Villa 1-0, and Fulham earned a hard fought and precious three points at Carrow Road by beating Norwich City 2-1.
Christmas and New Year always separates the boys from the men and this season is no exception. For the past 8 out of 9 years the team who has been top at Christmas has gone on to win the title barring Liverpool. Can they do it this time?
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