5 talking points from the weekend’s Premier League clashes
Potters’ shutout, Gunners’ glory and more
It was a weekend of crucial results – both good and bad – for sides at either end of the Premier League.
In the tussle for top four spots, Arsenal and Chelsea will be feeling upbeat after convincing victories – paired with a frustrating draw for rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
At the other end, there were also significant movers. And the Coral News Team begin with a look at one of them – Stoke City.
Potters finally shore it up for victory
Saturday’s defeat of Huddersfield Town marked Stoke’s first clean sheet in 14 games across all competitions. It was also their first home shutout since August’s Carabao Cup defeat of Rochdale.
The Premier League’s leakiest backline had shipped 50 goals in 23 games ahead of the Terriers’ visit. However, Saturday’s 2-0 victory saw the Yorkshire club limited to just three shots on target, as Paul Lambert kicked off his Potters’ reign with a win.
Whether it’s a one-off improvement or a new dawn remains to be seen. But their back four looked very strong on the day.
Arsenal impressing without Chilean ace
With Alexis Sanchez on the cusp of a move to Manchester United, Arsenal fans would have been forgiven for worrying where the goals would come from against Crystal Palace.
They needn’t have worried. The Gunners were 4-0 up inside 25 minutes, eventually winning the game 4-1.
Nacho Monreal showed his class coming forward with a well-taken header and two assists. Then Alexandre Lacazette clinically finished off a superb team meal for the Gunners’ fourth, to end his goal drought.
With the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan seemingly imminent, and the club also closing in on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the future without Sanchez could be very bright.
Baggies continuing to throw away points
West Bromwich Albion fans must be tearing their hair out at present. The Black Country club have thrown away 14 points from winning positions this season. It was a familiar story on Saturday, as they let a lead slip at Goodison Park to draw 1-1.
This time around, a poor clearance from Craig Dawson and sloppy marking allowed Oumar Niasse to net a 70th-minute equaliser.
Having failed to create the chances to boost their lead, another defensive lapse has cost the Baggies dear. Three points from safety, Alan Pardew has serious problems to fix…and quickly.
Wasteful Spurs lose ground on rivals
For the second time in three Premier League games, Tottenham dominated proceedings but failed to take maximum points.
The visitors had 59% possession and 17 shots, but managed to get just two on target – with Harry Kane’s simple headed equaliser their only goal of the game.
It’s in danger of becoming a recurring theme. In the recent, clash against West Ham United, the Lilywhites managed a huge 31 shots to the Irons three. But the game ended 1-1.
While Harry Kane has continued to bag the goals, those around him need to step up before their top-four hopes take another hit.
Cherries continuing to quietly impress
After a seven-game winless run, AFC Bournemouth headed into Christmas with little in the way of festive cheer.
However, things have turned around drastically on the South Coast since. Eddie Howe has led his side to a five-game unbeaten league run. Along the way, they’ve beaten Everton and Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium, while Saturday’s game saw the Cherries take a well-deserved point at London Stadium.
In recent weeks, Howe has tampered with the club’s usual 4-2-3-1 system, with a solid display coming at West Ham thanks to a 5-4-1 set-up.
At one end, a well-organised Cherries side kept the Irons frontline relatively quiet. And coming forward, the visitors’ wide men produced a number of chances – and a goal.
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