Saturday, Dec. 21's Premier League slate certainly wasn't low on action in Week 17.
More than one squad failed to impress on Saturday. Crystal Palace laid an egg when given the opportunity to extend their home unbeaten streak to four, while West Brom and Hull City each looked as mediocre as usual in their 1-1 draw.
There were, however, a few teams who were in top form on Saturday. From a dominant win for Liverpool to Manchester City showing why they are a top-three club, these three teams put on performances that will give the club some momentum going forward.
|Crystal Palace||0-3||Newcastle United|
|Manchester United||3-1||West Ham United|
|Stoke City||2-1||Aston Villa|
|West Bromwich Albion||1-1||Hull City|
Liverpool Rides Luis Suarez to 3-1 Win over Cardiff City
It may be a short-lived stay with Arsenal set to take on Chelsea on Dec. 23, but Liverpool took over the top spot on the EPL table with an emphatic 3-1 win over Cardiff City.
The star for Liverpool was, of course, Luis Suarez. The 26-year-old burned the Cardiff City defense for two goals and added to his already staggering total for the season. He now has 19 in just 12 matches this season.
This wasn't just a case of Suarez taking over the match on his own, though. The Reds defense was simply too much for Cardiff City. As Squawka noted, the Bluebirds were limited to just 99 completed passes.
Cardiff have been restricted to just 99 completed passes today. Liverpool have made more than 4 times as many (420). pic.twitter.com/Z2ngy0huD4— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 21, 2013
With ball movement almost entirely cut off, Liverpool showed that it's a complete side with one of the league's top stars. Their spot atop the table is no fluke.
Newcastle Gets Offensive in Thorough Victory over Crystal Palace
A win over Crystal Palace in and of itself doesn't mean too much. After all, the Eagles are currently on pace for relegation. However, an unbeaten streak in their last three home fixtures spelled difficulty for Magpies.
None of that mattered to Newcastle, though. They dominated this match from bell-to-bell, and the final tally of 3-0 was indicative of their form.
Yohan Cabaye, Daniel Gabiddon and Hatem Ben Arfa all found net for Newcastle as the Magpies scored three goals for the first time all season. The comprehensive final gave them a plus-two goal differential on the season.
In the end, this wasn't an earth-shattering upset by any stretch of the imagination, but it does show that Newcastle is a high-quality team that belongs in the top six. The attack was clicking more than ever, and the defense registered its second consecutive clean sheet for the first time since 2011, as pointed out by BBC Match of the Day on Twitter:
Manchester City Continues Torrid Offensive Pace with 4 Goals Against Fulham
Things didn't look good for Man City when Fulham's Vincent Kompany put in an equaliser at the 69-minute mark of their match. With just two road wins on the EPL season, it looked like City may be headed towards another disappointing result away from home.
However, the Citizens' attack had something to say about that. Jesus Navas (78') and James Milner (83') scored two goals within five minutes of each other and devastated Fulham on their own turf.
The sudden burst of offense is just the latest example of City's explosive attack. They're currently on a pace that bears a striking resemblance to the side that won the title in 2011, per BBC Match of the Day:
Although it is concerning that City conceded two goals to lowly Fulham to even get in this situation, it is still really impressive to see how dynamic City can be offensively. With the ability to get goals when put in bad situations, it's no surprise they find themselves at No. 2 on the table.