Welcome to the top of the table, Manchester City.
Following a somewhat controversial 2-0 victory over Newcastle United, City highlighted a weekend full of action by leaping into prime position in the Premier League standings. Here is the updated table following Week 21’s results, with Arsenal set to play Aston Villa Jan. 13:
|West Bromwich Albion||4||8||9||21|
|West Ham United||4||11||6||18|
Manchester City 2, Newcastle United 0
On the surface, goals from Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo were the difference as Manchester City took care of business against Newcastle.
However, the Premier League leaders did not stretch their unbeaten streak to 15 consecutive games without a bit of controversy. Cheick Tiote tied the score for Newcastle late in the first half, but it was waved off for offside.
Newcastle never recovered from the discounted goal and eventually allowed a late score to put the game out of reach. Manchester City were actually out-possessed during the contest, but unlike Newcastle, they took advantage of their opportunities when they arose.
Chelsea 2, Hull City 0
Chelsea’s time atop of the Premier League Table was short-lived thanks to Manchester City’s victory over Newcastle, but that doesn’t take away from the significance of the Blues’ victory.
Chelsea handled Hull City with a 2-0 victory on Jan. 11 and temporarily put themselves in the coveted top spot in the standings. In the face of rumors surrounding Paris Saint Germain considering an offer for Eden Hazard, per Samuel Stevens of The Independent, the Chelsea star put home the first and decisive goal early in the second half against Hull City.
Fernando Torres put the game away with the second goal for the Blues in his 200th Premier League appearance.
Goalie Petr Cech told John Drayton of the Daily Mail that he wants his team to be comfortable near the top of the standings:
We want to win the league if we can and hopefully clean sheets will help us achieve our targets. Now we're top of the league for the first time in a long time and hopefully we can stay there. We hope to keep going. We are getting better and today was a very difficult game. But we were very solid and good in attack and that's why we score goals.
It was a somewhat sloppy game from the start, but Chelsea controlled possession and tallied more shots on goal (five) than Hull City (two).
Liverpool 5, Stoke City 3
Don’t write off Liverpool just yet.
Despite an injury to vice-captain Daniel Agger, the Reds held off a spirited effort from Stoke City in a back-and-forth offensive affair to the tune of 5-3. It may not have been easy on the heart-rate for Liverpool supporters, but the most important takeaway was the fact that the Reds moved back into striking distance at a solid fourth place in the Premier League table.
Stoke ended up with slightly more possession, and every time it looked like the Reds were going to pull away, Stoke answered. Eventually, Liverpool’s offense was simply too much to overcome.
West Ham United 2, Cardiff City 0
Everton 2, Norwich City 0
Sunderland 4, Fulham 1
Southampton 1, West Bromwich Albion 0
Tottenham Hotspur 2, Crystal Palace 0
Manchester United 2, Swansea City 0