Everton and Tottenham Hotspur played out a 1-1 draw during Sunday's Week 20 Premier League action, as two of the league's top young scorers failed to build on their impressive tallies.
Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane both produced fine performances and came close to scoring, but ultimately, they couldn't make the difference as Dele Alli cancelled out Aaron Lennon.
Chelsea marched to an easy 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, starting the new year in impressive fashion. Here's a look at Sunday's results:
The current Premier League standings:
|12||West Bromwich Albion||20||7||5||8||20||25||-5||26|
The top scorer's list after Sunday's action:
|7||Sergio Aguero||Man. City||8|
Fans of high-scoring matches probably tuned in to Sunday's clash between Everton and Tottenham expecting big things, given the fantastic form Lukaku and Kane have found themselves in this season, per NBC Sports:
Defence ruled the day, however, as both teams managed just a single goal.
Kane came close to adding to his tally within the first 10 minutes, smashing a fantastic drive from long range off the post. But it was Everton who took the lead after 22 minutes, with Lukaku setting up Lennon.
Per WhoScored.com, the Belgian has already handed out a remarkable amount of assists for a striker:
Romelu Lukaku: No player has been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than Lukaku (20 - 15 goals, 5 assists)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 3, 2016
Alli pulled his team level moments before half-time, capping off a great first half for the youngster, and both teams had their chances to take the lead in the second half. Gerard Deulofeu's cross missed Lukaku's head by inches, and Alli wanted a penalty after a rough challenge inside the box.
There were no more goals to be found, however, as the match ended 1-1.
Diego Costa had a great start to the new year, scoring once and putting together a fine performance in Chelsea's 3-0 win over Crystal Palace. The Spaniard was one of the Blues' most disappointing players during the first half of the season, but judging by his showing on Sunday, he seems ready for a resurgence under interim manager Guus Hiddink.
As shared by Squawka Football, Costa seems to be loving life under Hiddink:
Diego Costa's record since Guus Hiddink took charge at Chelsea: 2 games 3 goals 1 assist Motivated. pic.twitter.com/5ySbur2weF— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 3, 2016
The 27-year-old set up Oscar for the opening goal, cutting the ball back to the Brazilian to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Willian made it 2-0 with a spectacular strike, before Costa added a third goal, cleverly following a cross from Willian and anticipating goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey's push of the ball.
Willian deserves a ton of credit for his fine showing, but Costa should soak up all the headlines. The striker was active from the opening minute and worked harder than arguably anyone else on the pitch, to the delight of Henry Winter of the Times:
More like the old, bold Diego Costa in 1st half. Bustling around, closing down opponents, good awareness and pass for Oscar goal. #cfc— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) January 3, 2016
As shared by Miguel Delaney of ESPN FC, Hiddink was happy to see him focus more on football than picking fights―although he can't guarantee it will last:
Hiddink asked re Costa concentrating on football over aggro: "I don't guarantee it won't happen in future. Everyone has a temperament!"— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) January 3, 2016
Costa's physical style of play and aggressive demeanor are part of what make him special, but he's at his best when he uses those traits as secondary assets and focuses on scoring goals.
The Blues need him at his best to have any chance of going on a run of results. Qualification for the Europa League is still a possibility, but they will have to play at the level that won them the Premier League title last season.