As you would expect, the Premier League kicked off the new year in style.
With every team in action, places atop the table on the line and a few marquee matchups, the New Year's Day festivities were chock full of goals, surprises and relevant results. Heck, even Fernando Torres and Nicklas Bendtner scored, proof that a new year is indeed upon us.
Below, you'll find the updated table after Matchday 20, including a bit more analysis on some of the day's biggest results. And of course, happy new year!
|Week 21 Premier League Table|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||20||4||9||7||23||27||-4||21|
|19||West Ham United||20||3||6||11||19||30||-11||15|
Arsenal Hold Serve, But Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool Also Win
It took Arsenal 87 minutes to finally crack Cardiff City's resilient defense at the Emirates Stadium, but the club prevailed and remained atop the Premier League table, winning 2-0.
It was Bendtner who had the breakthrough, smashing home a rebound after David Marshall stopped a Bacary Sagna header. Minutes later, Theo Walcott notched the insurance goal, chipping a cheeky effort over the onrushing Marshall after a lovely flicked pass from Jack Wilshere sent Walcott racing down the right side of the box.
But Arsenal couldn't gain any ground on the table, as Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool all won. City made things a bit more interesting than they should have been against Swansea City, winning 3-2, while Chelsea absolutely romped Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium, 3-0.
And Liverpool beat Hull City 2-0 as Luis Suarez made a bit of history with his 20th goal. From the Premier League on Twitter:
In a word, Suarez has been unbelievable this year. In two words, freaking unbelievable.
While the win put Liverpool back into fourth and the last Champions League spot, the real story on the day is the forthcoming battle down the stretch between the top three teams. Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea seem destined for a memorable battle for a Premier League title, with this year's parity promising an exciting finish to the season.
Everton Salvage Draw Late Against Stoke City, Newcastle Fall to West Brom
While the top contenders all won in the early games, Everton needed a late Leighton Baines penalty to salvage a 1-1 draw against Stoke City. Even at Britannia Stadium, where Stoke City have lost just once, that's a bit of a disappointing result for the Toffees, which now drop to fifth on the table.
Meanwhile, Newcastle laid an egg against a West Brom team that had been winless in its past six contests, losing 1-0. Saido Berahino's 87th-minute penalty was the difference and ensured that Newcastle couldn't jump ahead of Manchester United or Tottenham ahead of that huge showdown.
Everton and Newcastle have each exceeded expectations thus far this season, but neither side will be pleased with how it began the new year.
Tottenham Beat Manchester United at Old Trafford
Make it 10 points of a possible 12 for new manager Tim Sherwood at Tottenham. Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen were the heroes, each scoring for Spurs. Manchester United mounted a second-half comeback after going down by two goals, but came up short again.
That leaves them 11 points behind first-place Arsenal on the table. While it's too early to completely write off United's title chances in David Moyes' first season at the helm, it seems incredibly unlikely the team will repeat as champions.
Meanwhile, Tottenham are revitalized under Sherwood and find themselves right in the thick of the battle for a top-four spot. All in all, the win was a huge result for them and a fine way for the day of Premier League action to conclude, as both sides really went for it in this one.