A round-up from Week 15 of the Premier League, with a focus on the bottom end of the table where Crystal Palace moves off the bottom, Swansea replace them, and Everton wins two on the spin.
With things at the top remaining mostly unchanged, we will focus this week’s review at the bottom end of the table.
Crystal Palace is no longer propping up the rest of the division. Roy Hodgson’s side has put together a run of four matches unbeaten, keeping two clean sheets in the process. Goals remains a problem, highlighted once again in their goalless draw with fellow strugglers West Brom, but they rise off the ocean floor for the first time this season.
Swansea 1 v 2 Stoke
Swansea City replaces them after losing to Stoke at home in a game Paul Clement described as a Cup Final. Clement was one of my picks for the axe at the start of the season, and nothing will stop him feeling it if the Welsh side continues to play like this.
Neither side had won since the end of October, and Swansea hadn’t even scored a goal in over 430 minutes of football; that changed in the third minute when Wilfried Bony volleyed home a Martin Olsson cross to score his first goal since returning to the club.
With the home crowd behind them, you would have expected Swansea to push on, but Stoke reacted brilliantly, walking down the tunnel at half time with the lead thanks to strikes from Xherdan Shaqiri, and Mame Biram Diouf.
Swansea had more of the play in the second half, but they cannot score goals. Their best chance of the match came from own goal expert, Ryan Shawcross, only for Jack Butland to tip his goalbound header over the bar.
Swansea has now lost six and drawn once in their previous seven games.
Everton 2 v 0 Huddersfield
It demonstrates how tight it is outside of the top of this thing when Everton win back-to-back league matches for the first time this season and end up in tenth.
It was Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge since signing an 18-month contract on Thursday. Big Sam retired from football management in May, after keeping Crystal Palace in the Premier League, and said he would never take another job in football. Six months later, he took another job in football.
Everton’s star man was Dominic Calvert-Lewin. It was the youngsters flick that put Gylffi Sigurdsson through to score the opener on 47-minutes before the provider turned goalscorer when finishing off after a sweet through ball by Wayne Rooney in the 73rd minute.
Both sides have suffered from the same problem this season – scoring goals – but whereas Everton has banged in seven in their last two games, the Terriers have only scored six goals in their previous 14 games, and haven’t scored an away goal since the opening day of the season.
David Wagner has received high praise this season, but Huddersfield is a cannonball headed to the subterranean levels of the Premier League after losing their fourth game on the spin, and are the 5/4 third favourites to return to the Championship.
Chelsea 3 v 1 Newcastle
Another side who must have a tumble dryer head is Newcastle. At one point this season, Rafa Benitez’s side was sitting in the European places, but their 3-1 defeat at the home of the champions was their sixth game without a win, and they have lost five of those.
The Magpies did open the scoring, Dwight Gayle stroking the ball into an empty net in the 12th minute, but it was early enough for Chelsea to shake it off and put in a commanding performance to keep third, ahead of Liverpool on goal difference.
The man of the match was Eden Hazard. The Belgian star scored a fortunate goal in the 21st minute when he thundered a shot into the ground that looped over the head of the outstanding Karl Darlow. And he finished things with a cheeky 74th-minute penalty after Alvaro Morata had scored from close range.
Newcastle sits five points from the drop zone.
The bookies make them a 5/1 to return to the Championship.
West Ham 10/11
Crystal Palace 7/4
West Brom 9/4
The Two at the Top
David Moyes is still searching for his first win after his West Ham side predictably lost to Man City at the Etihad. But it was closer than expected. Angelo Ogbonna gave West Ham the lead in the 44th minute, but Nicolas Otamendi and David Silva saw City come from behind to win another close encounter. West Ham remain in the bottom three.
City’s lead over Man Utd remains eight points after the Reds becoming the first side to win a league game at The Emirates since January. Antonio Valencia opened the scoring early, and Jesse Lingard scored a couple of goals either side of an Alexandre Lacazette strike. David De Gea was unstoppable between the sticks.
Results in Full
Chelsea 3 v 1 Newcastle
Stoke 2 v 1 Swansea
Brighton 1 v 5 Liverpool
Watford 1 v 1 Spurs
West Brom 0 v 0 Crystal Palace
Everton 2 v 0 Huddersfield
Leicester 1 v 0 Burnley
Arsenal 1 v 3 Man Utd
Bournemouth 1 v 1 Southampton
Man City 2 v 1 West Ham
Premier League Table
1. Man City – 40
2. Man Utd – 32
3. Chelsea – 29
4. Liverpool – 29
5. Arsenal – 28
6. Spurs – 25
7. Burnley – 25
8. Watford – 22
9. Leicester – 20
10. Everton – 18
11. Southampton – 17
12. Brighton – 17
13. Stoke – 16
14. Bournemouth – 15
15. Newcastle – 15
16. Huddersfield – 15
17. West Brom – 13
18. Crystal Palace – 10
19. West Ham – 10
20. Swansea – 9
Premier League Winning Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)
Man City 1/8
Man Utd 10/1