Premier League Results: Analysis for Chelsea vs. Liverpool, and All the Matches
The final round of Premier League action of 2013 takes place on Saturday and Sunday, with a couple of tasty encounters.
There are six games on Saturday, with champions Manchester United on the road to Norwich.
The action ramps up a notch on Sunday, with Arsenal travelling to Newcastle and Chelsea entertaining Liverpool.
Over the course of the following slides, we will dig into the games. Remember to tune in as the weekend develops.
All match statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com unless stated
Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal will welcome in 2014 as Premier League leaders following a 1-0 win at Newcastle United.
The Gunners were frustrated for long spells by an in-form Newcastle at St James’ Park, but Olivier Giroud found the target with the vital goal on 65 minutes.
Newcastle fashioned a couple of decent chances in the opening 45, with Moussa Sissoko stinging the palms of Wojciech Szczesny and Mathieu Debuchy sending a header against the crossbar.
Arsenal did not create a host of clear-cut chances, but they were clinical at the right time. A clever free-kick into the box by Theo Walcott was met by Giroud who glanced a header beyond Tim Krul to seal the three points.
Shots on Target: 3-5
Everton 2-1 Southampton
Everton bounced back from their disappointing loss to Sunderland on Boxing Day with a 2-1 home win over Southampton.
Roberto Martinez was seeking a response from his side and he got it thanks to goals from Seamus Coleman and Romelu Lukaku, which sandwiched an effort from Gaston Ramirez.
Coleman gave Everton the ideal start with a goal on nine minutes. Showing real attacking endeavour, the Irishman cut into the box and lashed a drive beyond Kelvin Davis.
Everton did not kill off the game and looked set to be frustrated when Ramirez fired a long-range effort beyond Toffees keeper Joel Robles, who was only in the side due to Tim Howard’s suspension.
Lukaku came to Everton’s rescue on 74 minutes, as the collected a pass from James McCarthy before coolly stroking the ball beyond Davis.
Shots on Target: 4-2
Norwich City 0-1 Manchester United
The Manchester United juggernaut may not be firing on all cylinders, but it is picking up a head of steam, as the champions ground out a 1-0 win over Norwich City.
The Canaries carried a goal threat for much of the contest, but they failed to convert their chances and were made to pay a heavy price.
Norwich called the tune early on. David De Gea denied Russell Martin and then made another fine save to keep out a strike from Gary Hooper.
As the home side continued to press, Wes Hoolahan created space with some nice movement, but his shot from 10 yards lacked venom.
David Moyes withdrew Ryan Giggs at the break, replacing him with Danny Welbeck. It was an attacking move, but Norwich remained on the front foot as a Nathan Redmond cross-shot went narrowly wide of the target.
But the substitution paid off on 57 minutes, as Welbeck was the beneficiary of a slice of luck. A Norwich clearance bounced his way, and he rounded John Ruddy before stroking the ball home.
United boss Moyes spoke to Sky Sports News after the game and was pleased with the fighting spirit his side demonstrated.
It was important. To win back-to-back-games in three days in the Premier League is really difficult.
I've got to say the squad coped well and I was delighted to get the result.
Norwich played well and we had to dig deep.
United are now within seven points of the top of the table. They open up 2014 with a home game against Tottenham while Norwich travel to Crystal Palace.
Manchester City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
City were not at their best against a side scrapping for their lives, but a goal from Edin Dzeko was enough to seal the three points.
Although City were the dominant force, Palace were not without chances, and Yannick Bolasie cut in on his left foot and fired in a shot that went just wide of Joe Hart’s goal.
Hart took a nasty blow to the face in a collision with Cameron Jerome, but it was the latter who came off suffering the worst of it, as he was forced out of the game with a leg injury.
City came on strong toward the end of the first half, as Fernandinho volleyed over, Jesus Navas saw a looping header saved by Julien Speroni and Dzeko got in a tangle when played in on goal.
The threat from Palace continued, and Hart had to be alert to keep out a blistering drive from Jason Puncheon.
Puncheon saw a second-half effort go just wide, while Gael Clichy needed to be alert to thwart a Palace break.
City’s home record is superb; they had won all nine at home prior to this encounter, and they found the goal they craved on 66 minutes.
Navas turned provider as he cut the ball back for Dzeko to smash into the back of the net.
Palace attempted to bounce back, and Hart had to be alert to keep out a drive from Joel Ward while Barry Bannen headed wide with the goal gaping.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini spoke to Sky Sports after the game. He was happy his side moved top for the first time since the opening weekend of the season. "For us it was important not to give an advantage for the second half of the season. Six or seven teams will fight for the title. It will be very difficult for all of us."
Aston Villa 1-1 Swansea City
Aston Villa snapped a four-game losing streak, but they remain in trouble positioned toward the foot of the table following a 1-1 draw at home to Swansea.
Gabriel Agbonlahor fired Villa ahead on seven minutes when he latched onto a clever angled pass from Andreas Weimann and stroked the ball home.
Swansea upped their game after falling behind and drew level on 36 minutes. A superb deep cross from Pablo Hernandez found Roland Lamah, and he nodded home.
Martin Laurence of WhoScored.com weighed in via Twitter: "You are never going to control possession vs Swansea but treat a team like they're Barcelona and they'll usually pass it around nicely."
Hull City 6-0 Fulham
Hull City cemented their position in mid-table with a 6-0 win over Fulham.
The Cottagers slipped to defeat on their travels and will start life in 2014 in the relegation zone.
Ahmed Elmohamady put Hull ahead on 49 minutes, as he controlled the ball in the box before firing home.
Robert Koren doubled the lead on the hour mark, taking advantage of a fine cross from Yannick Sagbo to turn the ball home.
George Boyd made the game safe when adding a third, while a fourth came from Tom Huddlestone—his first in 54 league games—and he will, in all probability, have a new trimmed look in 2014. He had vowed not to cut his hair until finding the target again.
It appears it was a long-term, pre-planned celebration from Huddlestone.
Huddlestone nearly made it five, but his free-kick crashed against the bar. The ball fell at the feet of Matt Fryatt, who made no mistake.
It got worse for Fulham six minutes from time, as Koren bundled home his second of the contest.
Per freelance writer Nick Miller: "Feel sorry for Steve Bruce. His team has just won 6-0 & he's going to spend the next week answering questions about Tom Huddlestone's hair."
West Ham 3-3 West Brom
West Ham United will begin 2014 in the relegation zone after drawing 3-3 with West Bromwich Albion.
West Ham’s attackers have been struggling for goals, and it was a couple of midfielders who combined to fire them ahead inside five minutes. A deft flick from Kevin Nolan freed Joe Cole, and he fired a precise, low finish into the corner.
The Hammers had an excellent chance to double their advantage on the half-hour mark, but Carlton Cole’s shot from a tight angle struck a post.
West Ham were made to pay for not cashing in on their chances, as Nicolas Anelka levelled five minutes before the break.
The former Arsenal man has had a tough few months, as he took time out from the game following the death of his friend and agent, Eric Manasse. He was also struck down by injury in October, with his return to action coming against the Hammers in the final game of 2013.
The Hammers would have preferred his return had been delayed until 2014, as he levelled the scores with a deft finish on 40 minutes, having proved too slick for Joey O’Brien in a foot race. And minutes later, he turned the match on its head when he reacted quickest at a corner to bundle the ball home.
West Ham hit the Baggies with a two-goal blast shortly after half-time to edge themselves in front for the second time in the match.
Modibo Maiga was thrown on by Hammers boss Sam Allardyce at the interval, and he slotted home with his left foot on 65 minutes to level the scores.
And two minutes later, Kevin Nolan was on hand to volley home a loose ball to put West Ham ahead.
But the lead lasted a mere couple of minutes, as Saido Berahino netted the Baggies’ third.
Berahino came close to grabbing a winner, but his sublime free-kick crashed against the corner of the post and crossbar.
Keith Downing is leading the Baggies while the club search for a new manager, and he was happy with the display—although he admitted the defending left a bit to be desired (quotes via WBAFCofficial on Twitter):
"I'm very proud of the players," Downing said. "They've responded very well to goals conceded in the past few games."
"I've got mixed feelings," he continued. "It was a hell of a game but a bit too open for my liking. It certainly wasn't one for defensive purists."
West Ham will open up 2014 with a trip across London to Fulham, while West Brom will entertain Newcastle.
Cardiff 2-2 Sunderland: Late Colback Strike Steals Point for Black Cats
Sunderland came from two goals down to steal a last-gasp point against fellow relegation battlers Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon, as the two sides eventually drew 2-2.
Jack Colback’s deflected strike in the dying throes of added time saw Gus Poyet’s side steal a dramatic draw, after fellow substitute Steven Fletcher poked home seven minutes from time to give his side hope.
Cardiff, in their first game since the dismissal of manager Malky Mackay, looked to be comfortably heading for all three points after Jordon Mutch opened the scoring and Fraizer Campbell doubled the advantage, but Fletcher’s strike seemed to see the nerves slip in as Sunderland dominated the closing stages and eventually got the goal they sought.
There was off-pitch concern at half-time, however, as Sunderland’s Fabio Borini complained of being ill and collapsed on his way to the dressing room. Subsequent reports confirmed the Italian had regained consciousness as he was being taken to a hospital by ambulance.
The result leaves Cardiff just two points above the relegation zone on 18 points, while Sunderland remain bottom—albeit by just two points as they move to 14 after 19 games.
1:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. ET) - Everton 2-1 Southampton
1:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. ET) - Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
4 p.m. (11 a.m. ET) - Chelsea vs. Liverpool
4 p.m. (11 a.m. ET) - Tottenham Hotspur vs. Stoke City