Match-day 17 of the English Premier league brought forth the last round of fixtures before the Christmas season. Most teams needing wins that would secure a far from disappointing festive season. Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side went into the weekend as league leaders and had there honour of playing the first game of the weekend, an away fixture at Selhurst Park. 

After rather end-to-end action in the first half, it was ‘the man’ himself who opened the scoring. With his 13th goal in the league and his 50th for Chelsea, Diego Costa put the visitors ahead right before the break. The goal proved worthy as it was the only one in the game, making it 11 successive wins for The Blues.

Costa leaps over Crystal Palace defenders to score in Chelsea's 1-0 win

Costa leaps over Crystal Palace defenders to score in Chelsea’s 1-0 win

Alvaro Negredo was on hand to score a first half brace and Marten De Room added a third in the second half as Middlesbrough saw off Swansea 3-0 at the Riverside Stadium. The Swans are now second from last level on points with bottom side Hull City.

The Tigers of Hull aren’t finding it easy to cope in the English Premier league and a 1-0 loss to West Ham did not help with their woes. A Mark Noble penalty proved decisive to sink the rather unlucky Hull side who saw three efforts come off the woodwork. Two wins in two for the Hammers.

Alvaro Negredo is congratulated by his teammates after scoring against Swansea

Alvaro Negredo is congratulated by his teammates after scoring against Swansea

Sunderland put a 2-point difference between them and the other two teams in the relegation zone with a rather unconvincing but welcome 1-0 win over Watford. Defender Patrick Van Aanholt scoring the only goal.

Ten-man Leicester City had to pull off an incredible fight-back to draw 2-2 away at Stoke. Jamie Vardy was sent off early in the match, quite unfairly if I might add before a Bojan penalty and Joe Allen goal put the hosts 2 nil up at the break. No wins in 5 matches prompted the champions to work harder and Leonardo Ulloa and Daniel Amartey with his first goal for the club earned them the point.

The referee gives Vardy marching orders during the weekend fixture at the Brittania stadium

The referee gives Vardy marching orders during the weekend fixture at the Brittania stadium

Jose Mourinho will be much happier to see his side finally taking shape. Paul Pogba is back amongst the top performers but definitely second to summer free-transfer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede scored his 10th goal in his last 9 games to help United to a 2-0 win over West Brom.

From delight to disappointment, Arsene Wenger‘s side succumbed to their second loss in 5 days and 3rd loss in the 2016/17 premier league season at the hands of Manchester City. Theo Walcott had put the Gunners ahead before a sparkling performance from City in the second half. Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling getting the vital goals.

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A frustrated Wenger after his side fell 2-1 to rivals Manchester City

AFC Bournemouth, despite being the best performers out of the recently promoted bunch couldn’t keep up their recent impressive form over the weekend. The run has seen them register 3 vital wins in their last 5 matches. A Jay Rodriguez brace and a Ryan Bertrand goal were enough to cancel out Nathan Ake‘s opener as Southampton beat the cherries 3-1.

Tottenham Hotspurs kept up the pressure on the top 4 teams in the league with an all important 2-1 victory over visiting Burnley. Ashley Barnes and put the visitors ahead before Delle Alli started the come-back for Spurs. It took a stunning strike from left-back Danny Rose 19 minutes from time to seal the victory that leaves them a point shy of London rivals Arsenal.

Danny Rose after scoring what was the eventual winner against Burnley

Danny Rose after scoring what was the eventual winner against Burnley

Monday Night Football was highly welcome by fans globally especially with the immensity of the fixture at hand. The ‘derby of red cards’ as some may refer to it saw Jurgen Klopp‘s men travel to Merseyside rivals Everton. A rather cagey match full of last gasp tackles and rare chances on goal finally broke through as Sadio Mane latched on to a Sturridge shot that came off the up-right. A very important win that places them in second, 6 points behind leaders Chelsea.

 

 

The Merseyside derby hero, Sadio Mane

The Merseyside derby hero, Sadio Mane