Other than the three postponements that shortened the Premier League’s Boxing Day slate significantly, there was one other prevailing theme on Sunday: the reward of objectives.
Between a nine-goal thriller on the Etihad and a pair of lopsided routs gained by North London’s two powers, the Boxing Day slate didn’t disappoint from an leisure standpoint. Man City’s 6–3 win over Leicester City was, according to Opta, the highest-scoring Boxing Day match of the Premier League period and the very best scoring Dec. 26 sport in England’s prime flight since Man United’s 1991 win over Oldham by the identical scoreline. That accounted for chunk of the 22 objectives scored within the day’s reworked, four-match opening window—matches deliberate for earlier within the day have been known as off amid the resurgent coronavirus outbreaks at a number of golf equipment (Liverpool-Leeds, Wolves-Watford and Burnley-Everton had their vacation fixtures pushed to a yet-to-be-determined date).
Here is a more in-depth have a look at an affair that changed into a game-of-the-season contender and the opposite key factors from an exhilarating day throughout the Premier League:
Man City Runs Away, Then Holds On
After 25 minutes, Manchester City was main Leicester 4–0 on the Etihad and was seemingly on its solution to three of its most snug factors of the season. Two penalties actually helped, however it was all shaping as much as be a day of ease for Pep Guardiola’s aspect. However ex-City ahead Kelechi Iheanacho spearheaded a comeback effort that, whereas in the end developing quick, injected some quick life into what is going to go down as one of many extra memorable matches of the season.
In a 10-minute span, Iheanacho assisted on two objectives and scored one among his personal, making what was a rout right into a one-goal sport—at the least for 4 minutes. Aymeric Laporte’s header off a nook kick restored the order for the hosts, earlier than Raheem Sterling’s 87th-minute insurance coverage strike took care of enterprise.
In his quick evaluation of the match, Guardiola stated, “We have been fortunate on the finish with set items we might rating the fifth and the sixth objectives, in any other case positive there would have been issues on the finish, as a result of soccer is over when it is over and in opposition to good groups like Leicester with the standard they’ve, something can occur.”
“Something” very practically did occur, however as an alternative for City it is a day when it padded its lead atop the desk, and with Liverpool having its Boxing Day match known as off, it is assured of shifting ahead with a six-point edge.
North London’s Rebirth
Tottenham and Arsenal each gained comfortably, reinforcing their respective turnarounds with Spurs’ 3–0 win over Crystal Palace and the Gunners’ 5–0 thrashing of Norwich City.
There are caveats to each victories, certainly. Crystal Palace attempted to get the match vs. Tottenham called off on account of COVID-19, with supervisor Patrick Vieira amongst these lacking out, whereas last-place Norwich, frankly, is dreadful. However the factors all rely the identical, and Arsenal, with 4 wins on the bounce, stays a top-four aspect, whereas Tottenham, with three video games in hand on the Gunners, sits six factors again provisionally in fifth place. West Ham’s 3–2 defeat to Southampton Sunday put an additional dent within the Hammers’ bid to crack the Champions League locations, whereas cracking the door open for Spurs to creep again in. The imbalance of matches performed because of the COVID-19-related cancellations makes for a little bit of a deceptive desk, however there isn’t any denying the surge in type for each rivals. Tottenham stays unbeaten within the Premier League below Antonio Conte (4–0–2), with a number of objectives scored in each sport since his 0–0 debut at Everton, whereas Mikel Arteta, two years to the day from his first match in cost at Arsenal, has his group buzzing.
“On this festive interval you need to preserve the main focus and the efficiency degree actually excessive in opposition to a crew that right here in opposition to prime groups they’ve achieved very well even when they did not win,” Arteta stated. “And I believe at present we had nice efficiency, scored some nice objectives and a big away win.”
The best way issues are shaping up, the derby between the golf equipment as soon as the quick Premier League winter break is over in mid-January might wind up having extra aggressive stakes than it has in fairly a while.
Harry Kane, Boxing Day King
This has been removed from Harry Kane’s most prolific season with Tottenham. The English star, who tried to maneuver a method out of Tottenham over the summer time, has simply three objectives on the season, and a fourth golden boot in 9 seasons could be miraculous at this juncture (Mohamed Salah leads the league with 15 objectives). However with objectives in two straight video games, maybe Kane is rounding into type, and it helps that Boxing Day is completely his day to shine.
Kane has now scored in all six of his Boxing Day appearances, good for the longest scoring streak in Premier League historical past (he already held the mark with 5). He additionally tied Robbie Fowler for probably the most objectives in Premier League historical past on the vacation after the ninth Boxing Day purpose of his profession. Kane additionally drew degree with Fowler for second-most objectives in the course of the festive interval (outlined by the Premier League as Dec. 26-Jan. 4), with their 18 trailing solely Alan Shearer’s 23. Contemplating the run of fixtures Tottenham has after the festive season ends (Arsenal, at Chelsea, at Man City and at Man United amongst its following eight matches), Conte and Spurs would definitely profit from a Kane that is firing on all cylinders.
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