WEEK 18 MATCHUPS
Monday, December 26
Watford v Crystal Palace (1-1):
Big Sam is back as Crystal Palace replace Alan Pardew with the former England manager, a post which lasted a glorious two months. Yohan Cabaye, still not the real Slim Shady, opened the scoring for the Eagles. Christian Benteke had a chance to make it two goals but his penalty was saved. Troy Deeney later converted a penalty for Watford (his 100th for the club) to draw even. The big story of the match though? Big Sam versus Harry the Hornet.
Arsenal v West Brom (1-0):
The Gunners left it late as Oliver Giroud scored a header in the 86th minute. West Brom played the honorable and entertaining “10 men behind the ball, goalkeeper takes forever on the goal kick” strategy. Arsenal was on a two game losing streak, so this was a needed three points for the North London side.
Chelsea v Bournemouth (3-0):
Chelsea are looking unstoppable and have won 12 straight after their heavy defeat to the aforementioned Arsenal back in September. Even without their leading scorer and hearthrob Diego Costa, they managed to put three by a pretty decent Bournemouth side and keep a clean sheet.
Leicester City v Everton (0-2):
2016 has been pretty fickle to Leicester City. After being crowned champions in May, they are now only three points above the relegation zone. Jamie Vardy was not able to play due to his red card last week, but there were 30,000 of him staring on as Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku each scored.
Burnley v Middlesbrough (1-0)
This game was played at the Turf Moor so you know that Burnley scored. Andre Gray scored off a quick free kick after a Fabio (this week’s edition of “Hey That Guy Still Plays in the Premier League!“) foul in the Burnley half of the field. Burnley aren’t going to stay up this year are they?
Manchester United v Sunderland (3-1):
David Moyes returned to Old Trafford to get a win over his old team. Too bad his new team is Sunderland and they are dreadful. Daley Blind got on the scoresheet in the 39th minute, followed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 82nd. Then Henrikh Mkhitaryan decided to score an absolutely amazing scorpion kick (it was offside, but shut up):
Fabio Borini scored a consolation in extra time, but Moyes’s day went from bad to worse as one of his best players this season, Jordan Pickford, was injured and could be out for the next three months.
Swansea City v West Ham (1-4):
It was surely not a wonderful Christmastime for Bob Bradley. First, numerous articles came out that many people did not take him seriously because of his American accent. Then his Swansea side was blitzed by a very mediocre West Ham at home. Finally, he was fired on Tuesday after 11 games in charge. I’ve never been a huge Bob Bradley fan, but I think the majority of the blame should be aimed at Swansea’s owners for hiring him the first place. He had a good season with Le Havre in Ligue 2, but that is a far cry from the Premier League. This is what happens when owners pander to an American audience. Oh…
Hull City v Manchester City (0-3):
Manchester City dispatched of Hull to keep pace with Chelsea at the top of the Premiere League. Yaya Toure scored. So did Kelechi Iheanacho, which is a fun last name to say. I’ve got nothing else except that Samir Nasri, on loan at Sevilla, had an interesting night on Twitter recently.
Tuesday, December 27
Liverpool v Stoke City (4-1):
Liverpool shot to second in the table as they dismantled Stoke. Jonathan Walters gave Stoke fans a glimmer of hope with a goal in the 12th minute. But Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, Own Goal, and Daniel Sturridge had other ideas and each scored for the Reds. Liverpool finishes 2016 with a huge test as Manchester City visits Anfield on Saturday.
Wednesday, December 28
Southampton v Tottenham (1-4):
In events that mimic Tuesday’s game, Southampton lead through an early goal only to get four goals scored on them. Poor Southampton. Dele Alli scored two as Spurs coasted at the South Coast (had to do it).
NCFC Special Report
After some thought (and some call outs on Twitter) I figured we should show some love to Norwich City FC, the other NCFC. For those of you who do not know, Norwich currently plays in the Sky Bet Championship, the division below the Premiere League, after they were relegated a season ago. Unfortunately, our friends in the canary yellow and green lost 3-1 to Reading on Monday to leave them 12th in the table. I’ve personally always liked Alex Neil as a coach and figured he could do what Eddie Howe has done with Bournemouth.
WEEK 19 MATCHUPS
Friday, December 30
Hull City v Everton
Saturday, December 31
Swansea v Bournemouth
Manchester United v Middlesbrough
Chelsea v Stoke City
Burnley v Sunderland
Southampton v West Brom
Leicester City v West Ham
Liverpool v Manchester City
Sunday, January 1
Watford v Tottenham
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
You can find JP on Twitter at @jp_rcs