Although Matchday 19 of the EPL season seemingly featured some one-sided matchups and others that didn't even figure to register on the radar, football fans undoubtedly came away from the Dec. 28 slate feeling thoroughly entertained.
Things didn't exactly go by the book, and that type of unpredictability made for a fun day of football. The EPL in general has been tough to gauge this season, and after what happened on Dec. 28, there are even more question marks to consider moving forward.
Here is some further analysis regarding the most surprising results to come out of the Premier League's Week 19 matches.
|Home Team||Away Team||Score|
|West Ham United||West Bromwich Albion||3-3|
|Aston Villa||Swansea City||1-1|
|Hull City||Fulham||6-0 Hull City|
|Manchester City||Crystal Palace||1-0 Manchester City|
|Norwich City||Manchester United||1-0 Manchester United|
Hull City Blast Fulham
Hull City had enjoyed a fairly solid season heading into their match against Fulham, but most viewed them as nothing more than a mid-table team.
That may still be the case, but it is impossible to ignore the goalscoring clinic that the Tigers put on at KC Stadium. Hull had scored just 16 times in 18 matches prior to Matchday 19, but they somehow managed to hang a six spot on a reeling Fulham team in the biggest blowout of the day.
The contest was actually tied at halftime, but Hull went on an absolute rampage in the second half with six unanswered goals by five different players. Slovenian star Robert Koren netted two, while Ahmed Elmohamady, George Boyd, Tom Huddlestone and Matty Fryatt were the other goalscorers. According to OptaJoe, it was easily Hull's best offensive output ever in an EPL match:
4 - Hull City have scored four times in a Premier League match for the very first time. Rout.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2013
More than anything, though, the loss was yet another embarrassment for Fulham. The Cottagers have struggled mightily this season, and they are in imminent danger of being relegated if they can't turn things around. Their 41 goals allowed this season are easily the most in the EPL, and goalkeeper David Stockdale was victimized once again on Dec. 28.
Things can't get much worse for Fulham, and they certainly can't get any better for Hull.
Crystal Palace Challenge Manchester City
Manchester City led the EPL in goal differential by a wide margin ahead of their match against Crystal Palace on Dec. 28, so most figured that the Citizens would roll to an easy win. City did come away with the victory, but it included plenty of nervous moments, as they hung on for a 1-0 triumph.
The close result was made even more surprising by the fact that Man City were at home in Etihad Stadium. The Citizens have dominated on their home pitch this season; however, Crystal Palace gave them everything they could handle.
After a scoreless first half, the Eagles continued to give City fits. Manchester City finally broke through in the 66th minute when forward Edin Dzeko beat Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni. With that goal, Man City became the top goalscoring team in Premier League history through 19 matches with 54 tallies, according to OptaJoe:
54 - Manchester City have scored 54 times this season; more than any @premierleague side has ever managed in their opening 19 games. Rampant— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2013
Also, the win temporarily lifted City past Arsenal for first place in the EPL. The Gunners trail by just two points with a game in hand, so the Citizens' stay atop the league may be short-lived. Even so, it's difficult to ignore how dangerous the Sky Blues have been this season offensively. They nearly met their match in the surprising form of Crystal Palace, but they managed to do just enough.
While Crystal Palace would have liked to at least pull out a draw, this showing could catapult them to a fantastic second half of the season.
West Brom and West Ham Light Up the Scoreboard
Which match result surprised you most?
West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United were two of the worst goalscoring teams in the Premier League this season prior to their meeting on Matchday 19. But both squads could have easily been mistaken for Manchester City.
Many anticipated this match ending with a score of 1-0, or perhaps even in a 0-0 draw, but West Brom and West Ham clearly had their scoring boots on, as they each found the back of the net on three occasions.
With both squads struggling near the bottom of the table, an exciting match wasn't necessarily expected. A tightly contested one was since they're fighting tooth and nail to avoid relegation, but they certainly threw caution to the wind.
West Ham took an early lead behind a Joe Cole goal, but they entered halftime facing a 2-1 deficit thanks to Nicolas Anelka's first two goals of the season. According to the Premier League on Twitter, Anelka has now scored for six different EPL teams:
Nicolas Anelka has scored 125 #BPL goals in total - Arsenal 23, Liverpool 4, Man City 37, Bolton 21, Chelsea 38, West Brom 2— Premier League (@premierleague) December 28, 2013
West Ham refused to go down without a fight, though, as Modibo Maiga and Kevin Nolan scored within two minutes of each other to give the Irons a 3-2 lead. Saido Berahino answered for the Baggies in the 69th minute with an equalizer, however.
The final 20 minutes featured plenty of wide-open play with scoring chances for each side, but neither could net the winner. Based on how well both squads attacked all match long, though, a draw was the proper result.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter