New Year's Day was chock full of exciting action from Week 21 of the Premier League, and the league table underwent a few changes as a result of the action.
Tottenham's 2-1 victory over Manchester United resulted in a flop between the two squads in the standings, as Tottenham have taken over the No. 6 position on the table with 37 points. Tied with Tottenham with 34 points prior to play, United now place seventh after failing to win.
Outside of that exciting match, there were several others that kicked off 2014 in style.
Below is the updated league table, as well as a brief breakdown of three of the more thrilling outcomes.
|Matchday 20 Premier League Table|
Chelsea Rout Southampton
Southampton started their match at St. Mary's Stadium against Chelsea tentatively, but Chelsea could not take advantage. Fernando Torres failed to convert on two scoring chances within three minutes of play. Opportunities came few and far between in the first half of action.
Chelsea's opportunities didn't come until after the break, but Oscar made sure to take advantage of nearly every one of them.
Oscar starred for Chelsea on Matchday 20. He set up the first goal by striking the post and giving Torres an opportunity to head the ball into the net. Oscar then set up Willian for goal No. 2 before adding a goal of his own.
Southampton truly were never given the chance to come back. Strong defense by Chelsea and a failure to convert early made this match a cakewalk for the visitors.
With the win, Chelsea remain within striking distance of both Arsenal and Manchester City—Nos. 1 and 2 on the Premier League table, respectively.
Arsenal Remain on Top
After taking over the top spot on the table in Week 19, Arsenal retained their position after a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City at the Emirates Stadium.
The match was knotted at 0-0 until the 88th minute. Substitute Nicklas Bendtner netted a strike from close range to give the Gunners the late lead, and an injury-time goal from Theo Walcott put the match out of reach for Cardiff.
Arsenal started slowly despite maintaining the possession advantage after one half of play. It took nearly 15 minutes for the Gunners to actually threaten Cardiff, yet that threat didn't materialize into a goal.
Arsenal will need to avoid similarly slow starts in the future, though the next two matches for the No. 1 team come against weak Aston Villa and Fulham squads. Playing down to opponents is obviously never a good idea, but Arsenal can use the following two matches to work out some kinks before their schedule gets trickier.
They're in good position to remain at No. 1 on the table for at least the next two weeks.
West Brom Upset Newcastle
Another late goal by a substitute decided the match between West Brom and Newcastle. In the 87th minute, Saido Berahino struck a penalty that would ultimately hand Newcastle the loss.
Goaltender Tim Krul escaped a red card after taking down Matej Vydra, but Mathieu Debuchy wasn't as lucky. He was handed a red card from referee Lee Mason after a two-footed challenge on Claudio Yacob.
West Brom were able to hold off the 10-man team in the final minutes thanks to solid defense and that deflating goal from Berahino.
At No. 14 on the table, West Brom figure to compete for little as the season progresses. They can, however, continue to play spoiler as they did on Matchday 20 against Newcastle. They'll have the chance to do the same in the next two weeks against Southampton and Everton.
Moving forward, Newcastle will need to play smarter and avoid penalties late. Without the late penalty, this match very well could have ended in a draw. Instead, West Brom walk away the victors.
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