The week 17 of the EPL followed the usual unpredictable pattern of results and goals.
The unexpected and surprise team of the season so far Leicester city tops the league for the festive season. Ighalo is at his gola-scoring best yet again while Manchester United languid and woeful season continues unabated putting Van Gaak on the brink. The Eagles hoever are still flying high
What a difference a year makes? A transformation of monumental magnitude, for Leicester City are now looking down on the rest of the Premiership from the summit, upsetting the usual established order, to the delight of many. Reverse was the case 12 months ago when City were peering up at the rest from the bottom of the table after failing to win a single match in 12 matches.
Mahrez got a brace, both from the penalty spot. The first in the 27th minute came with the courtesy of a foul on Okazaki, to which Lukaku equalised for the home team six minutes later. Mahrez scored his second penalty of the match in the 65thminute. Okazaki made it three for the Foxes four minutes later before Everton substitute Kevin Mirallas pulled a late goal back.
Stoke 1-2 Crystal Palace
The season is getting better and better for Palace, courtesy of the in-form Yohan Cabaye who is enjoying a fruitful reunion with his former Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew. He has helped his side to sixth place in the table.
On the balance of play in this game though, Palace probably didn’t deserve the three points as the home team were by far the better side, especially in the second half. Palace took the lead from the spot after Wilfred Zaha was brought down. Wickam made no mistake by putting the resulting penalty away. Stoke also won a penalty after the ball struck Delaney’s arm in the box with Bojan scoring the spot-kick to equalise.
Stoke outplayed Palace for the best part of the match but it was Palace who stole the three points with a special goal from LeeChung-Yong.
Aston Villa produced a spirited performance to come back into the match and share the spoils.
Jordan Ayew scored a magnificient individual goal from a deep cross by Veretout, controlled it, skipped away from Janmatt, and then unleashed a 20 yard cracker to level the scoring after trailing to Fabricio Coloccini’s goal.
Villa are yet to win a game since the EPL season’s opening day, but this display should give their fragile confidence a huge boost, despite starting the day eight points from safety and ending it 10 points off.
Southampton 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham moved to the top four in the table for the first time this EPL season, usurping Manchester United.
Dele Alli’s all round superb performance with involvement in both goals, scoring one and assisting in the other, should give Spurs hope of staying in contention for the Champion’s League qualifying position.
Southampton’s lamentable defending for the two goals explains their woes in conceding at least a goal in their last eight matches. Harry Kane was practically left unchallenged in the box to side-foot his 11th goal of the season.
Alli was left similarly unmarked at the far post to tap in, doubling the scoring, with the right-back Cedric Soares spectating.
Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland
The New Chelsea manager watched his new charges turn on the style and rediscovering the verve of last season with goals from Ivanovic, Pedro and Oscar delighting the club owner Roman Abramovich.
The Stamford Bridge faithfuls showed their displeasure and anger for the sacking of “the Special One” with banners and chants.
The first goal came in the fifth minute with Branislav Ivanovic’s forceful header past Pantilimon from a Willian corner. Ivanovic turned the provider eight minutes later with a cross inside the penalty area to Pedro, who converted neatly and decisively.
Chelsea raced to a three goal lead early in the second half from the penalty spot, scored by Oscar after Willian was brought down. Borini scored a consolation goal for the disappointing Sunderland team, unlike their recent performances, staying second bottom.
Manchester United 1-2 Norwich
United lost their third match in a row to pile the pressure on their beleaguered manager Louis van Gaal, who was jeered and booed by the home fans.
The away fans chanting was also relentless, taunting ‘Jose Mourinho is taking your job’ they chanted. And with Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho lurking, the faltering Van Gaal has every reason to be fearful of the axe falling on his tenure.
After a tentative start by the away team, they settled into the match and took the lead with a Jerome Thomas shot in the first half. The lead was doubled just before the hour mark with Jerome turning the provider for Alex Tettey to slot home.
United reduced the deficit with a Anthony Martial crashing shot. Norwich are now deservedly out of the relegation zone, and United out of the top four.
West Brom 1-2 Bournemouth
A dramatic match ended with in – form Bournemouth claiming all the three points on offer – their third Premier League win. James McClean was sent off for violent conduct in the 34th minute for a foul on Adam Smith reducing West Brom to 10 men. Smith later opened the scoring with a cracking goal to put the visitors in the lead.
West Brom drew level through a glancing header by Gareth McAuley from a Craig Gardener’s corner on the 79th minute.
Bournemouth won the match with a late penalty after Daren Fletcher fouled Dan Gosling in the box. Charlie Daniels riffled in the spot-kick off the underside of the bar.
The match was mared by further scuffle between Rondon and Gosling, with the former the aggressor and shown the red card, reducing the home team to 9 men in the dying seconds.
Watford 3-0 Liverpool
Odion Ighalo scored twice to condemn Liverpool under Klopp to their third defeat, moving Watford to the dizzy height of a point off the Premier League top four.
Watford are now seventh with Adam Bogdan’s howler setting the tone for this comprehensive mauling. Nathan Ake gratefully tap home after the Liverpool keeper dropped an easy catch from the corner.
Irrepressible Ighalo doubled the lead for the Hornets on 15 minutes before heading past Bogdan late in the match to seal the victory and all the three points on offer.
Ask me one on one.