Friday, 16 December 2016

Chelsea Remain Clear After Reds Deny Hammers/Defeat Boro

A double post this week features game-weeks 15 and 16 with the weekend programme swiftly followed by the traditional mid-December midweek fixtures.

The weekend opened with the 'Z Cars' derby as Watford hosted Everton at Vicarage Road. The sides both played their part in a five goal thriller which was Romelu Lukaku put the Blues ahead on 18 minutes.

Stefano Okaka levelled for the hosts ahead of the interval before Sebastian Prodl completed the comeback on 59 minutes. Okaka struck for a second time five minutes later to make it 3-1 with Lukaku setting up a tense finish with his second goal on 87 minutes.

Arsenal extended their unbeaten run with a comfortable 3-1 win over struggling Stoke City. The Potters took a surprise lead on 29 minutes with a penalty from Charlie Adam before Theo Walcott levelled for the Gunners just before the interval. Mesut Ozil completed a quick turnaround for 2-1 less than four minutes into the second half and a fine home win was completed by Alex Iwobi in the 75th minute.

Burnley and Bournemouth battled in a five goal thriller which saw the Clarets come out on top with a 3-2 win. The hosts raced into a 2-0 lead inside 16 minutes with a stunning opener from Jeff Hendrick followed by an effort from Stephen Ward. 

The Cherries hit back just before the interval through Benik Afobe but went 3-1 down midway through the second half to George Boyd's strike. There would be a tense finish though with Charlie Daniels scoring late on for the visitors.

Hull City and Crystal Palace shared the points in a 3-3 draw. Robert Snodgrass put the hosts ahead with a contentious penalty on 28 minutes with Christian Benteke equalising from the spot on 52 minutes.

Wilfried Zaha gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead on 70 minutes only to have the advantage cancelled out by Adama Diomande's equaliser and Jake Livermore's effort six minutes later which made it 3-2 to City. Palace were not to be denied a point though as Fraizer Campbell struck an 89th minute leveller.

A battle at the bottom saw Swansea City overpower fellow strugglers Sunderland as they triumphed 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium.

A goalless first half saw the visitors then hit by a quick double after the interval with Gylfi Sigurdsson converting a penalty ahead of an effort from Fernando Llorente. Llorente finished off a fine home performance with his second goal ten minutes from the end.

Leicester City stunned title challenging Manchester City with a 4-2 win at the King Power Stadium. A rapid start from the Foxes saw Jamie Vardy and Andy King striking for a 2-0 advantage inside just five minutes. Vardy scored again for a 3-0 lead with just 20 minutes on the clock before completing his hat-trick with 11 minutes to go. City avoided a rout with two late goals as Aleksandar Kolarov got them off the mark before an effort from Nolito.

Chelsea extended their stay at the top with a narrow 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

The crucial strike came with 14 minutes left of the 90 as Diego Costa continued his fine scoring form.

Tottenham Hotspur missed the chance to close up on the top four as they went down to a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United.

United secured the three points with a first league goal from Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the 29th minute.

Middlesbrough remain on the fringes of the drop zone after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat to Southampton.

The Saints secured the three points on 53 minutes with a strike from Sofiane Boufal.

Liverpool denied West Ham United the chance to move clear of the bottom three as the Reds salvaged a point in a 2-2 draw. The Reds made a rapid start as Adam Lallana struck the opening goal inside five minutes.

A superb free-kick from Dmitri Payet drew the Hammers level on 29 minutes and Michail Antonio put them ahead on 39 minute after a great move. However, Liverpool would avoid a third loss of the season as Divock Origi continued his fine scoring streak with a leveller on 48 minutes.

The midweek action saw two games on Tuesday night starting with Leicester City visiting Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

After their superb weekend win, the Foxes were brought down to earth in a 1-0 loss that saw Marc Pugh strike the winner for the Cherries on 34 minutes.

Everton ended Arsenal's unbeaten run with a 2-1 win which moved the Toffees up to eighth spot. 

Alexis Sanchez had put the Gunners ahead after 20 minutes but a leveller just before the interval from Seamus Coleman was followed by a superb winner from Ashley Willams with four minutes to go. A slight dent in a great night for the hosts came late on with the dismissal of Phil Jagielka. 

Wednesday's action began at the Riverside Stadium as Middlesbrough fell to a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool who moved up to second spot.

The Reds went ahead on 29 minutes as Adam Lallana continued his scoring streak before Divock Origi made it five goals in as many games on the hour mark. The win was sealed just eight minutes later as Lallana struck for a second time.

Chelsea kept up their six point gap at the top with a 1-0 win over struggling Sunderland. The Blues secured the three points with a goal on 40 minutes from Cesc Fabregas. 

West Ham United opened up a gap to the bottom three with a narrow 1-0 win over Burnley at London Stadium.

The winning goal came just before half-time as after having his penalty saved, Mark Noble slotted in the resulting rebound.

Manchester United left it late to deny Crystal Palace from claiming at point as Selhurst Park as they claimed a 2-1 win.

The visitors struck an opener just before half-time through Paul Pogba only to be pegged back by James McArthur's leveller on 65 minutes. The game looked to be heading to a draw but Zlatan Ibrahimovic sealed the win with two minutes to go.

Manchester City bounced back from their weekend defeat with a 2-0 win at home to Watford at the Etihad Stadium.

Pablo Zabaleta got the hosts off the mark on 33 minutes before David Silva confirmed the win with five minutes to go.

Stoke City and Southampton shared the points in a 0-0 draw at the Bet 365 Stadium.

The Potters were the happier of the two sides when the final whistle went as they had held on for over an hour with ten men after the dismissal of Marko Arnautovic after just 22 minutes.

Hull City remain in the bottom three after falling to a 3-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.

The hosts went ahead with a 14th minute opener from Christian Eriksen with the Spurs attacker doubling the lead in the 64th minute. The win was confirmed just eight minutes later as Victor Wanyama struck.

West Bromwich Albion moved up to seventh spot with a 3-1 win over struggling Swansea City.

The Baggies claimed the points with a superb 13 minute hat-trick from Salomon Rondon whose treble of headers was the first in the league since Duncan Ferguson' against Bolton in 1997. Swansea did claim a consolation though as Wayne Routledge score in the 78th minute.