Chelsea return to the zenith of English football after winning their seventh game on the trot away to Middlesbrough and Sunderland move off the foot of the table after hammering Hull.
It’s worth remembering that before the Premier League went all Sleeping Beauty and allowed Leicester City to win the thing, Chelsea was the Daddy. And with the madness of that year rinsed from our souls, Chelsea are back looking all boss-like.
Antonio Conte’s side glided to the top of the Premier League after beating Middlesbrough by a goal to nil at The Riverside Stadium. The victory was Chelsea’s sixth on the spin, scoring 17-times, and keeping a clean sheet in every single one of them.
It might have been a game that was settled by a single goal. However, Chelsea never looked likely to leave with anything other than three points and a seat on the throne of the greatest league in the world.
Diego Costa, who missed the international games through injury, was again the match winner, slamming the ball home after a spot of pinball in the box after Boro had failed to clear their lines from a corner. He is the Premier League’s top marksman with 10. He also has three assists.
Are Chelsea the real deal?
Is this a false dawn?
The next two games will clear those two questions up as they face Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Sat 26 Nov, before travelling to the Etihad to face bookmakers favourites Manchester City.
Spurs Remain Undefeated; City Beat Palace
Spurs will go into that vital clash with Chelsea as the only side left in the Premier League without tasting defeat after a spirited comeback against West Ham at White Hart Lane.
Spurs – looking jaded for long periods of the game – were on course for their first defeat of the season after trailing the Hammers by 2-1. Only a minute remained on the clock when substitute Son Heung-min set up Harry Kane to equalise before winning an injury-time penalty which Kane also dispatched into the roof of the net.
Before that rapturous finish, West Ham had taken a 24th-minute lead thanks to the noggin of Michail Antonio. It was his 11th headed goal of 2016 (a new Premier League record for headers in a calendar year).
The Spurs youngster, Harry Winks, levelled things six minutes after half-time after Darren Randolph had pushed a Vincent Janssen effort into his path six yards from goal. West Ham retook the lead thanks to a Manuel Lanzini penalty.
West Ham has only won once in 15 attempts at White Hart Lane. Spurs needed the win after drawing every single Premier League game since beating Man City so resoundingly at the beginning of October.
Man City remain in the third position after a 2-1 win at Selhurst Park. It was a game that saw the return to the City side for Yaya Toure. The last time Pep Guardiola picked Toure was a pre-season Champions League qualifier in August. Toure repaid his manager’s faith in him by scoring both goals either side of a Connor Wickham equaliser.
Only five points separate Palace from the bottom three after yet another loss. Alan Pardew brushed aside any cause for concern in the post-match press conference. The bookmakers don’t share his optimistic attitude. Pardew is 11/2 third favourite to be the next Premier League manager to be sent into the no club vortex behind David Moyes and Bob Bradley.
Sunderland Off The Bottom; Swansea Replace Them
David Moyes won’t be sacked just yet after his Sunderland side have put together a sequence of two victories on the trot after ten matches without one.
The key seems to be Moyes’s decision to move to a front three of Victor Anichebe, Jermain Defoe and Duncan Watmore. Anichebe scored twice and Defoe once in a 3-0 thumping of Hull. Anichebe has now scored three goals in his last two games. Defoe’s strike was his 150th in the Premier League, and only Robbie Fowler (163), Thierry Henry (175), Frank Lampard (177), Andy Cole (187), Wayne Rooney (194), and Alan Shearer (260) have scored more.
Hull is a dead cert for a return to the Championship. Mike Phelan – who was once sacked by David Moyes – has now seen his side lose eight Premier League games in succession.
Replacing Sunderland at the foot of the table is Swansea City. The Welsh side was desperately unlucky not to win all three points during their 1-1 draw at Everton, but that’s the way it goes in football when you are staring down the barrel of life in the Championship.
Swansea took a deserved lead in the first half when Gylffi Sigurdsson scored from the penalty spot. Seamus Coleman headed home the equaliser with a minute left on the clock. I know two things for certain. Sigurdsson won’t be at Swansea next season, and neither will Bradley. Neither man looks like they belong in this side for very different reasons.
Here are the rest of the weekend’s results.
Premier League Results (Week 12)
Everton 1 v 1 Swansea City
Stoke City 0 v 1 Bournemouth
Southampton 0 v 0 Liverpool
Spurs 3 v 2 West Ham
Man Utd 1 v 1 Arsenal
Sunderland 3 v 0 Hull
Watford 2 v 1 Leicester
Crystal Palace 1 v 2 Man City
West Brom v Burnley (Mon, 21 Nov)
Premier League Table
1. Chelsea – 28
2. Liverpool – 27
3. Man City – 27
4. Arsenal – 25
5. Spurs – 24
6. Man Utd – 19
7. Everton – 19
8. Watford – 18
9. Bournemouth – 15
10. Southampton – 14
11. Burnley – 14
12. West Brom – 13
13. Stoke – 13
14. Leicester – 12
15. Middlesbrough – 11
16. Crystal Palace – 11
17. West Ham – 11
18. Hull – 10
19. Sunderland – 8
20. Swansea – 6
Premier League Title Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)
Man City – 7/4