Another round-up of the action from the English Premier League with Man City recording a record 16th straight league win, West Ham and Crystal Palace pull clear of the drop zone, and Newcastle fall in.
Man City 4 v 1 Spurs
Pep Guardiola turned La Liga into a one-team league during his reign at Barcelona. In 2010-11, he led that magical team through a run of 16 successive top-flight wins.
When the Spaniard moved to the Bundesliga, he did the same, dominating the division, including a 19 game winning streak during the 2013-14 season.
The English Premier League (EPL) is supposed to be a different beast; more challenging. I don’t think Pep got that Post-It note? Perhaps, the ink spread after he accidentally dumped a soggy tea bag on it?
A few weeks yonder, we’ve got to see if City’s kahunas were as steely as we figured when they walked out onto Fortress Old Trafford. They were. City dominated the game and left with three points.
Spurs was another potential banana skin.
City handled it with ease, crushing Mauricio Pochettino’s side 4-1 with another superb display of attacking football.
David Silva has been the main man in recent weeks, but City showed strength in depth, by replacing him with Ilkay Gündogan, and the German star said ‘thank you’ with the first of City’s four goals.
Guardiola was lost for words when asked to describe Kevin de Bruyne’s impact on the club this year.
“His performance, I have no words to describe what he has done with the ball,” Guardiola told the waiting press.
Match of the Day pundit, Martin Keown, said the Belgian’s boots were like paintbrushes and that he was an artist. De Bruyne made it two with 20-minutes left on the clock. With six goals, and eight assists in 15 appearances since September, De Bruyne is one of the favourites to win personal silverware at the season’s end.
Running him close for personal glory will be Raheem Sterling. The man who seems to have shipped some weight out of his backpack, scored a late brace to take his Premier League goal tally to 11. Christian Eriksen bagged a late consolation goal.
Spurs drop to seventh after the defeat. Pochettino was positive during his post-match assessment. 11 losses and six draws in 18 matches against the ‘Big Six’ since arriving at the club in 2014 needs to change if the Argentine coach is to live up to his billing as the ‘Next Big Managerial Thing.’
West Brom 1 v 2 Man Utd
After City’s record 16th successive victory, United travelled to the Hawthorns to close the gap to 11-points, and that’s what they did.
Mourinho vowed that his side would fight until the very last game for the Championship, but it must sting to see his noisy neighbours pumping out victory after victory, week after week.
United made it three away wins on the spin after beating the Baggies. Romelu Lukaku scored for the second game, and once again refused to celebrate, only this time it may have been out respect for his former club and not a protest against the United fans who have been critical of the big Belgian.
Jesse Lingard made it two before the break after his shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection from Ahmed Hegazi to leave the West Brom keeper flummoxed. Gareth Barry scored a late consolation goal after a spot of corner pinball.
West Brom is now second from bottom. They haven’t won a game in 16 attempts, a new record for the club, and it appears that the arrival of Alan Pardew has done little to revitalise their fortunes after the sacking of Tony Pulis.
Alan Pardew might not be the answer at West Brom, but the early decisions to find new leaders at Crystal Palace and West Ham seem to be bearing fruit.
Palace surprised everyone with a 3-0 win over Leicester at the King Power. Goals from Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha, and Bakary Sako handed Palace a rare away win. Palace is now unbeaten in seven, and have kept three clean sheets during that time.
West Ham has also found a spurt of form after a wobbly start under David Moyes. The Hammers travelled to Stoke in a relegation six-pointer and lived up to their nickname pouring more misery on Mark Hughes.
Marko Arnautovic scored for the second successive game. Mark Noble and Diafra Sakho scored the other two as West Ham moved two points clear of the kill zone. West Ham has won two, and drawn one, keeping clean sheets in all three of their previous matches.
Stoke is now one-point clear of the drop zone, and if Premier League Board member form applies, he’ll be out of a job in the next few months. Sparky is currently the 1/3 favourite to be the next manager to leave his position. Former Stoke favourite Tony Pulis is the likely replacement.
Newcastle drops into the bottom three after another defeat, this time away at Arsenal. Mesut Özil scored the early winner in that one. Rafa Benitez told the press of his need to strengthen his squad in January. The Magpies have lost eight of their previous nine league games, and four of them in succession.
Results in Full
Leicester 0 v 3 Crystal Palace
Arsenal 1 v 0 Newcastle
Watford 1 v 4 Huddersfield
Brighton 0 v 0 Burnley
Chelsea 1 v 0 Southampton
Stoke 0 v 3 West Ham
Man City 4 v 1 Spurs
West Brom 1 v 2 Man Utd
Bournemouth 0 v 4 Liverpool
To Be Played (Mon, 18 Dec)
Everton v Swansea
Premier League Table
1. Man City – 52
2. Man Utd – 41
3. Chelsea – 38
4. Liverpool – 34
5. Arsenal – 33
6. Burnley – 32
7. Spurs – 31
8. Leicester – 26
9. Watford – 22
10. Everton – 22
11. Huddersfield – 21
12. Southampton – 18
13. Brighton – 18
14. Crystal Palace – 17
15. West Ham – 17
16. Bournemouth – 16
17. Stoke – 16
18. Newcastle – 15
19. West Brom – 14
20. Swansea – 12
Premier League Winning Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)
Man City 1/33
Man Utd 20/1
Premier League Relegation Odds
West Brom 6/5
Crystal Palace 4/1
West Ham 6/1