The Premier League season continues in 2016 with some clubs hoping the New Year will bring a new start, while others hoping it will bring simply more of the same. We finally saw the champions play like champions, Jurgen Klopp continued to see that the Premier League is tougher than he anticipated, and another nail was put in Aston Villa’s coffin.
West Ham continue to beat the big teams, and this run kept going at Upton Park. Headers from Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll gave the Hammers a 2-0 win over Liverpool, as the Reds continued to struggle. The biggest plus for Slaven Bilic’s side however may in fact be the return of Dimitri Payet from injury, as he came on as a second half substitute. Another London side to win was Arsenal, Laurent Koscielny’s header giving the Gunners a 1-0 victory over Newcastle. The win kept Arsenal top of the table for at least another week.
It must surely be all over for Aston Villa now after yet another shocking performance, this time against fellow strugglers Sunderland. Despite Carles Gil’s wonderful strike, Villa were exceptionally poor, and Jermaine Defoe’s double saw them lose 3-1. A side who could end up joining Villa are Swansea, who lost again, this time at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney finally looked to have found some better form, with his back heel the winner for Manchester United.
It was a third shut-out in a row for Leicester City, who shared the points with an ever more impressive Bournemouth side. Leicester missed the golden opportunity when Riyad Mahrez’ penalty was brilliantly saved by Artur Boruc. Justice was probably done as it shouldn’t have been a spot-kick, and Simon Francis was unfortunate to see red. Another man unfortunate to see red was Geoff Cameron for Stoke, as his push was greatly exaggerated by Claudio Yacob, who went down like he had been shot. West Brom secured a last minute 2-1 win, with Johnny Evans bundling in the winner.
Manchester City ensured that their challenge for the title kept pace with Arsenal, coming from behind to beat Watford. Two brilliant finishes from Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero cancelled out Aleksandar Kolarov’s own goal. Last season’s champions Chelsea are not involved in the title race this time around, but at last they showed why they are champions. The Blues were at their best as Oscar, Willian and Diego Costa got the goals that secured a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Norwich City came up with their second win in a row, Alex Tettey scoring the winner in a crucial 1-0 win over Southampton. The game however was slightly overshadowed by Ronald Koeman’s decision to leave out Sadio Mane for turning up late for a team meeting. He looks destined to leave the club. The final game of the weekend at Goodison Park saw two fantastic goals in a 1-1 draw between Everton and Tottenham. The Toffees led through Aaron Lennon’s strike into the top corner, before Dele Alli’s brilliant volley bought the game level.
Arsenal finish the week top of the league, with Leicester and Man City within three points. West Ham’s incredible season continues with them sat sixth, but Swansea sit just two points above Newcastle and the relegation zone.