Few things are better during the holidays than a full slate of Premier League matches on Boxing Day, and Matchday 18 did not disappoint.
With five teams all within two points of each other atop the table coming into the day, the Boxing Day games promised to provide a bit more clarity between the contenders and pretenders gunning for a title. And with just one match left until the second half of the season, the table is most certainly set for an exciting race to the title.
Below, you'll find an updated table and this week's biggest winners and biggest surprises on Boxing Day. Here's hoping you enjoyed the day in football.
|15||West Bromwich Albion||18||3||8||7||19||24||-5||17|
|19||West Ham United||18||3||5||10||15||25||-10||14|
The only surprise in the premier matchup of the week, Manchester City versus Liverpool, was probably that just three goals were scored in total between the league's two most prolific attacks in City's 2-1 win. Oh, and that City's defense somehow kept Luis Suarez from scoring.
It was a huge win for the Citizens, who not only remained perfect at home but slid up to No. 2 on the table behind Arsenal, while Liverpool dropped to fourth. With the Reds next traveling to Chelsea over the weekend, Liverpool's lead atop the Premier League table could turn into a four- or six-point deficit just days later.
Manchester United's 3-2 win over Hull City wasn't much of a surprise, but the fact that Hull City took a 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes most certainly was. Still, Wayne Rooney once again played the role of hero, scoring a goal, assisting another and playing a key role in James Chester's own goal.
United are very quietly steaming back up the Premier League table. The defending champions are finally playing like they might yet enter the title race.
It took Arsenal 68 minutes to get their first goal against West Ham, but they quickly added two more to defeat West Ham, 3-1, led by Theo Walcott's brace. After two draws and a loss in their last three Premier League matches, the win was much needed and (at least temporarily) put them back atop the table.
You might say that Everton's 1-0 loss to Sunderland was the biggest surprise of the weekend, but it was aided in large part to Toffees keeper Tim Howard being sent off in the first half on straight red after taking down Sung-Yong Ki in the box. Ki promptly scored the penalty, and Sunderland held onto the win behind the man advantage.
Newcastle were the biggest winners on the scoresheet in the earlier games, absolutely smoking Stoke City 5-1 behind Loic Remy's brace. Of course, Newcastle played the entire second half up two men, and the scoreline reflected it.
Southampton ended their six-game winless streak in the Premier League in dominating fashion, brushing aside Cardiff City with ease, 3-0, behind Jay Rodriguez's brace. Even more promising was Rickie Lambert scoring his second goal in as many matches, while also adding an assist.
Southampton have been winning matches despite Lambert scoring just six goals on the season. If he can get hot, look out.
Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Fulham also won, while Tottenham and West Brom played to a 1-1 draw.
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