Saturday of Matchweek 15 was a feast for the senses, as each and every fixture produced goals galore. There were twenty-nine goals scored altogether in the six games, which was then followed up by a distinctly less bountiful, but no less exciting Sunday.
An action-packed weekend of #PL action - and here's how it leaves the table pic.twitter.com/QT8X93UuZD— Premier League (@premierleague) December 12, 2016
Walter Mazzari and Ronald Koeman squared off to start, with Watford on a decent run of form and Everton on a disappointing one.
Romelu Lukaku notched the first and last goal of the game. He now has nine for the season and 69 career Premier League goals; an unbelievable amount for a target-man striker with an arguably low work-rate. One can see why Everton value him at £70m.
Watford scored three times in between however, Italian striker Stefano Okaka finishing off a classy goal and then following up with a deft header from a corner. Everton had been giving away needless fouls all afternoon and then poorly marking the resulting set-pieces, and the tall figure of Sebastian Prodl took advantage as he dealt the final blow for Watford’s 3-2 win.
MatchBoss MOTM: Stefano Okaka.— Squawka Gaming (@SquawkaGaming) December 10, 2016
119 MatchBoss points
12 passes completed
Match winner. pic.twitter.com/PZgUGYVzEW
Later on, as the sun went down and night arrived, Champions Leicester hosted Manchester City. Pep rotated his team heavily once again, but there were no surprises with Leicester lining up in a 4-4-2 made up of the same players from their Champion team from last season minus Kante, plus Slimani.
The Leicester attackers gleefully had acres of space from the start and with mere minutes on the clock Vardy had broken his goal drought and Andy King had time to embarrass Bravo with a curling strike. The Manchester club were left with a mountain to climb before five minutes had passed.
20 - Claudio Bravo has now gone 20 minutes without conceding another goal. Impressive.— OptaJoke (@OptaJoke) December 10, 2016
Leicester did what they do best from then on and sat back absorbing pressure, and looking to counter, whilst City did what they do best by holding the majority possession and creating chances from every angle. It was City who cracked again however as Mahrez elegantly assisted Vardy before John Stones then inelegantly assisted Vardy, again, as the the Foxes stormed into a four goal. City grabbed a pair of consolation goals that hardly took any of the pain away from the disastrous 4-2 defeat.
Jamie Vardy with the match-ball following his first Premier League hat-trick. What a game! pic.twitter.com/4zj4Qxx3tK— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) December 10, 2016
Chelsea were up first on Sunday, noon, and were frustrated (to the credit of Pulis and West Brom) before Diego, Diego, Diego finally punished their defence clinically.
Shortly thereafter, United truly looked a powerhouse in their dismantling of Tottenham as Mourinho finally collected three points in a game that they ‘deserved’ to win. Lagging six points behind fourth and thirteen behind top, they have hardly any room for error, but could possibly use this performance as a springboard for the rest of the season.
Rather unfortunately, the main inspiration and difference-maker on the day, Henrikh Mkhkitaryan picked up an injury just as he was finally settling in to English football. The Red Devils will have to look for other decisive options on the bench.
Mkhitaryan since ending MUFC exile:— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) December 11, 2016
4 man of the match
Playing last of all the top contenders, Liverpool had work to do not to lose ground on table-topping Chelsea as well as Arsenal in second. Unfortunately for Klopp & Co, West Ham, who thoroughly beaten by Arsenal and Sanchez last weekend, put up a much stronger fight this time around.
Lallana scored early on, but West Ham came back into the game through a Payet free-kick (equally a Karius blunder) and took the lead through Antonio. Liverpool played their usual possession game and West Ham stood firm with men behind the ball harassing Liverpool players at every necessary moment. Only an unlucky bounce prevented them from collecting all three points as goalkeeper Darren Randolph palmed the ball straight to Divock Origi from a cross for the equalizer.
Still, Klopp’s team have now dropped points in their last two and very winnable games to lose ground in their title challenge.
Salut @dimpayet17 ❤ pic.twitter.com/F4v6ds9GXQ— West Ham Social (@WestHamSocial) December 11, 2016
Midweek League fixtures coming up this week to keep the momentum and fun going in this festive period.