Seamus Coleman's Stunner and the Greatest World Football Moments of the Weekend
With most major European leagues enjoying their winter break, this weekend's highlight package focuses predominantly on the relentless chase of the Premier League.
After another busy weekend in the festive calendar, just five points separate the top four teams, while only four points split the bottom six teams. With so much parity in the English top flight, this season has all the hallmarks of a classic.
Here follows the best moments, along with a couple of notable goals you may not have seen from elsewhere in the world...
Everton's Seamus Coleman Almost Broke the Net with a Stunning Strike
Roberto Martinez promised he would bring Everton into the top four, and he did exactly that with a 2-1 win over Southampton at Goodison Park.
The best moment was Seamus Coleman's thunderous opener, which saw the right-back cut into the right side of Southampton penalty box before unleashing an unstoppable shot.
It was the Irishman's third goal in four games and another boost to his reputation as one of the league's best right-backs.
Hull Smashed 6 Past a Dejected Fulham Side
Hull recorded their biggest ever Premier League victory on Saturday, putting six unanswered goals past Fulham at the KC stadium. Their previous best scoreline, incidentally, was merely a 3-0 win over West Brom in 2008.
The Tigers moved seven points clear of the relegation zone, but the Cottagers put on the kind of dispirited performance that will have them facing away trips to Huddersfield and Bournemouth next season.
In the second half, Tom Huddlestone scored the fourth Hull goal, his first since April 2011. The former Spurs midfielder has promised not to cut his hair until he scored again to raise money for Cancer Research UK, so, naturally, his celebration consisted of having a symbolic chunk of his mane snipped away.
Fulham have now suffered four losses in six matches under Rene Meulensteen and have conceded 15 times in the last four.
The Battle of the Wests Was a Rousing Stalemate
Unorthodox Premier League six-goal thrillers are like buses: you wait ages for one and then two come along at once!
In the early kick-off on Saturday, Wests Ham and Brom fought an entertaining bottom-of-the-table brawl at Upton Park. It ended 3-3, with the highlight of the match proving to be a mad four minutes in the second half where three goals were scored, with fans seeing end-to-end action akin to basketball.
The star man, however, was almost certainly Nicolas Anelka, who returned from a two-month absence to bag a brace shortly before half-time. In doing so, the sulky Frenchman became the ninth player in the history of the league to score for six different clubs. He also aroused plenty of controversy with his celebration.
West Ham now find themselves in 19th place and without a win in six. Managerless West Brom, meanwhile, haven't won in nine and have just two points separating them from the drop zone.
Samuel Eto'o Overcame Liverpool and Gave Them the Shirt off His Back
Chelsea finished 2013 just two points behind league leaders Arsenal thanks to a lively 2-1 win over Liverpool at Stamford Bridge—billed as the first meeting between Branislav Ivanovic and Luis Suarez since the famous biting incident.
Martin Skrtel only needed three minutes to put the Reds ahead, but Eden Hazard evened proceedings with a beautiful long-range curling effort 15 minutes later. The difference was made by Samuel Eto'o before half-time when Simon Mignolet let a very weak shot creep under him.
Eto'o made headlines for his decision to swap shirts with Mamadou Sakho at half-time—quite why the French defender would trade jerseys with the man who just scored against him is anyone's guess—and for a challenge on Suarez that Liverpool felt deserved a penalty.
Liverpool topped the table on Christmas Day, but now they find themselves in fifth position, below Everton and two points ahead of Manchester United and Tottenham. This may be disheartening for the Anfield faithful, but it's a pleasing indicator of the parity at the top of the table this season.
Vincent Tan Took Another Step in His Quest to Become a Pantomime Villain
Fresh from a highly unexpected victory at Goodison Park on Boxing Day, rock-bottom Sunderland scored two late goals to keep Cardiff within touching distance of the relegation zone in the Bluebirds' first game since Malky MacKay was relieved of his duties.
As the home crowd protested against club owner Vincent Tan for the managerial sacking, the Malaysian businessman seemed extremely keen to raise his villainous status to an even higher level. As he exited the stadium having witnessed a disappointing conclusion, he was clearly seen booing.
He may have been jeering his own team or the thousands of fans who were voicing their displeasure at him, but the next logical step in his villainous plan is to take Craig Bellamy into a hollowed-out volcano lair and torture him in a tank full of sharks with laser beams on their heads.
Tim Sherwood's Undefeated Streak Continued
Tottenham's underqualified leader Tim Sherwood boasts seven points from three matches after having cruised past Stoke on Sunday.
The attacking style of play that Spurs fans pined for under Andre Villas-Boas was in full flow, as Roberto Soldado, Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon delivered three unanswered goals past the Potters. The highlight was almost certainly Dembele's powerful low-driven 20-yard strike.
Spurs are now three points outside of the top four and level with Manchester Utd, whom they will visit on New Year's Day.
Zico Is Still Scoring Golazos in His 60s
In his prime in the 1970s with Flamengo and the Brazilian national team, Zico was considered one of the greatest players of his generation. Forty years later, "White Pele" has clearly still got it.
The 60-year-old former midfielder—currently manager at Qatari side Al-Gharafa—held a charity match at the Maracana on Saturday, at which 60,000 fans were treated to a 10-goal thriller.
The 7-3 final scoreline was the highest ever seen at the lauded stadium, and the best goal came from the feet of the great man, who beat four defenders and the keeper with skill that belied his age.
David Solari Channeled His Inner Ronaldinho with a Wonderful Free-Kick
FC Ashdod visited Maccabi Haifa in the Israeli Premier League on Saturday and found themselves 2-0 down after 49 minutes.
The guests pulled a goal back in the 68th minute, however, courtesy of a sublime free-kick from David Solari, the younger brother of former Real Madrid midfielder Santiago Solari.
Unfortunately, it was not enough to bring Ashdod back into the game, which they lost 2-1.
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