This was certainly a major round in the English Premier League as Burnley broke their winless run to move out of the relegation zone, Cardiff continues to defy the drop, new Southampton coach Ralph Hasenhuttl lost his first game in charge, and Chelsea ended Manchester City’s undefeated start to the league season.
Burnley out of the relegation zone…for now
Burnley’s home ground, Turf Moor
Burnley secured a 1-0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion at Turf Moor to pull themselves out of the relegation zone. After failing to win in their last eight games (winning a meager two points during that run), these three points will be more than welcome at Turf Moor. Now two points above the bottom three, Burnley has some difficult fixtures ahead with Tottenham, Arsenal, and Everton up next. With the change in management at Fulham and Southampton, coupled with the improvement in form from Cardiff City and Newcastle United, Burnley will need to improve to avoid falling back into the relegation zone.
Cardiff City to get relegated? Maybe not…
Cardiff City Stadium
Before the season began, many pundits had predicted that Cardiff City would be among the candidates to be relegated, and potentially finish as the worst team in the division. After needing nine games to pick up their first win of the season, the Bluebirds have now moved up the table to 14th place, four points above the relegation zone. The 1-0 home win against relegation strugglers Southampton was vital for the Bluebirds, while it condemned the Saints to 19th place.
Cardiff have now won three of their last five games in the league. Their next fixture is against Watford, who are in terrible form at the moment. They have lost four of their last six games and haven’t won during that stretch. Cardiff City began as a team sure to be relegated, but are starting to show they are capable of proving their doubters wrong.
On the other side of the coin, Southampton lost their first game under new coach Ralph Hasenhuttl. The former RB Leipzig coach, who led the team to a second place finish in the Bundesliga during the 16/17 season, replaced Mark Hughes and has a big job on his hands to ensure the survival of his new club. The Saints currently lie in 19th place, three points from safety.
West Ham United to mount a top half finish?
West Ham United fans supporting the club at Wembley
The Hammers haven’t been convincing for a large part of the season, but have now won their last three games in a row. Those wins, including their latest this weekend (a 3-2 win against Crystal Palace), have been very important considering they were against clubs in and around their position in the table. Other wins (against Newcastle United and Cardiff City) have propelled them to eleventh place. With players like Felipe Anderson and Chicharito finding their form, the club looks set to fight for their first top half finish since the 15/16 season, when they finished in seventh place.
Chelsea ends Manchester City’s undefeated league start
Chelsea’s home stadium, Stanford Bridge
The clash of the weekend featured Chelsea hosting defending league champions Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. The game ended 2-0 to Chelsea, ending City’s undefeated league run, leaving Liverpool at top of the table and the only remaining undefeated club in the Premier League. Liverpool now lead the way, lying just a single point ahead of Manchester City after their win over Bournemouth. With games against Manchester United and Arsenal coming up for Liverpool, and a more favorable schedule for City, the title race looks to have some more twists and turns in store.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s win is a massive boost to their aspirations of finishing in the top four. They are currently fourth, but tied on points with Arsenal. In terms of finishing in the top four and the outcome of the title race, this game was huge, perhaps the biggest of the season thus far.
Everton salvage point against out of form Watford
Everton’s stadium, Goodison Park
Hosting Watford at Goodison Park, Everton took the lead before falling behind to Watford after two quickfire goals. Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a penalty to tie the game, but it was Lucas Digne’s late free kick in the dying moments of the match that forced a 2-2 draw. The Toffees have failed to win a single game during the month of December, and that doesn’t look to be changing soon. After losing to Liverpool, the Toffees have tied consecutive matches with Newcastle and now Watford.
As stated before, the Hornets have failed to win in their last six games, and have lost four of those matches. Although after Monday, a draw will feel like a win for Everton, and they know that they should have done better. Their next matches don’t bode well for the club as they will face Manchester City away and then Tottenham at home. Perhaps now it looks like a point gained, but with a tough group of fixtures ahead, this was surely a game that Everton should’ve won, and could have massive implications in the race for the Europa League positions.