Premier League: Six things we learned on Boxing day

Glenn Whelan

The busy Premier League Christmas period continues with every side in action on Boxing day.

Mignolet messes up as City silence Suarez

The day’s late kick off between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad was always billed to be the day’s main event. With the other action concluded, all eyes turned to Manchester for a heavyweight battle between two teams with title potential.

In the blue corner, playing at home, with a home record of nine wins from nine games, scoring an unbelievable 37 goals, a side that has already thrashed Man United, Arsenal and Spurs at the Etihad, it’s Manchester City. In the red corner, the side that spent Christmas day on top of the league, with the league’s most in-form player up front, with 17 goals in their last four games, it’s Liverpool.

It was Liverpool who drew first blood. With just 24 minutes of the clock Philippe Coutinho’s relaxed finish gave the away side the lead but City equalised through Vincent Kompany seven minutes later.

Simon Mignolet played his part in City’s winner, the Belgian keeper should have done better when it came to keeping out Alvaro Negredo’s chip before half time. The result puts City above Liverpool and just one point behind top of the table Arsenal in the Premier League title.

Manchester United go to Hull and back

The days early kick off started the days fixture list with a bang. With just 13 minutes gone at the KC Stadium Manchester United found themselves two down after goals from James Chester and David Meyler.

However, things didn’t stay like that for long. Chris Smalling pulled one back for the defending champions and Wayne Rooney equalised after just 26 minutes. Rooney’s goal is his 150th Premier League goal for Manchester United.

United completed the comeback when Chester headed the ball into his own net in the second half. Despite the win United are still eight points from the top of the league as we approach the halfway point of the season.

White Hart Pain

It hasn’t been an easy season so far for Tottenham Hotspur. Key to their frustration has been their inability to score and their inability to win at home.

This weekend saw Spurs face West Brom at home during which summer signing Christian Eriksen scored his first Premier League goal to put the home side ahead in the 36th minutes but two minutes later Jonas Olsson equalised for the Baggies. The score stayed 1-1 and Tottenham were doomed to yet another winless day at the Lane.

Unbelievably the last time Spurs won at White Hart Lane was October 27th when they beat Hull 1-0. Since then Spurs have been frustrated drawing three and losing two.

If it wasn’t for their impressive away record, six wins from nine on the road, they would be in the bottom half of the table. Spurs will be looking to end the pointless spell at the Lane this weekend when Stoke travel to North London.

Sunderland win away as Everton’s unbeaten record crumbles at home

On paper this game seemed like an easy three points for Everton. The Toffees were undefeated at Goodison Park since December 30th 2012 against a Sunderland side who haven’t won on the road since a memorable 3-0 thrashing of local rivals Newcastle in April.

But no football match has ever been won on paper and when it came to the full time whistle it was the Black Cats who were celebrating. Ki Sung-Yeung scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in an incident which saw Tim Howard sent off, that goal is Sunderland’s first in the Premier League in four hours and 18 minutes.

Despite the win Sunderland stay rooted to the bottom of the table but the three points have helped close the gap between them and the other teams fighting for survival this season.

Hammers loose as Walcott uses his head

With the prospect of a fiery Boxing day London derby on the cards many people fancied West Ham to upset the odds and take all three points against title contenders Arsenal.

It was all going to plan for the Hammers as well, they took the lead when Charlton Cole scored a tap in just after half time. But unfortunately for the home side Arsenal showed the calm professionalism that has aided their climb up the table this season.

Theo Walcott was in fine form and found the equaliser before putting the Gunners ahead with the first headed goal of his career.

Lukas Podolski came on from the bench, his first appearance since 27th August due to injury, and marked his return with Arsenal’s third and final goal of the game.

The result means that Arsenal go top again, just one point above Man City, two above Chelsea and three above Liverpool. Meanwhile West Ham stay in the relegation zone, just one point from the bottom.

Newcastle score five as Stoke see reds

Things were going so well for Stoke at St James Park. They had taken the lead through a wonderful strike by Oussama Assaidi and had a chance of picking up some important points away from home.

However, it’s fair to say, that things took a turn for the worse for the Potters in three mad first half minutes. With 39 minutes on the clock Glenn Whelan was sent off for Stoke, he was quickly followed by manager Mark Hughes being sent to the stands for dissent and then just three minutes later the Potters were down to nine men, Marc Wilson given a straight red for denying a goal scoring opportunity.

While the Loic Remy missed the resulting penalty he made up for it by scoring 60 seconds later, he added another after half time along with goals from Yohan Cabaye, Yoan Gouffran and Papis Cisse’s first goal in 1,208 minutes of Premier League football competed the 5-1 thrashing.