Sadio Mane’s lone goal against the Wolves on Sunday sent Liverpool racing 13 points clear of their next best rivals Leicester City and ending the year with 52 points from their 19 games which is still one less than what the others have played. Buoyed on confidence after the 3-2 win over reigning champions Manchester City, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men came very near to extracting a draw from the League leaders at Anfield when Pedro Neto had drilled his shot into the bottom left corner on the stroke of half-time only for Jonny to be declared offside by a whisker by the VAR. The Wolves now slip to the 7th place after the Anfield loss and share 30 points with Tottenham Hotspurs who remain in the 6th place after a 2-2 draw to bottom-placed Norwich City away at Carrow Road. In what should have been an easy three points for Jose Mourinho’s men, it was Harry Kane’s late penalty in the 83rd minute that saved the day for the Lilywhites who were down 1-2 till then.
Along with Liverpool, the Top Four places of the English Premier Table remained the same with Leicester City, Manchester City and Chelsea occupying the 2nd, 3rd and 4th slots respectively at the end of 2020. While Leicester City overcame West Ham 1-2 at the London stadium, Manchester City were able to do away with Sheffield United 2-0 and remain a point behind the Foxes.
Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta taking charge of his first home game since succeeding the sacked Unai Emery, looked on course for three important points after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s header put the Gunners in front in as early as the 13th minute. The Gunners who looked so potent for the first 30 minutes of the game, however, ran out of steam towards the end of the first half as Chelsea, helped by Lampard removing Emerson and sending on Jorginho, started to dominate and continued to do so after the interval. The constant barrage of attacks on the Arsenal goal yielded results despite the latter stoically holding out. The first Chelsea goal came late in the 83rd minute from an error when goalkeeper Bernd Leno completely misjudged Mason Mount’s looping free-kick to leave the substitute Jorginho positioned behind him to tap in the easiest of finishes. Tammy Abraham settled the issue for the visiting Blues when he turned around Shkodran Mustafi far too easily inside the box to beat Leno and make it 1-2 just three minutes before the final whistle. While Chelsea remain firmly entrenched in the 4th place with 35 points, Arsenal under their new coach Arteta have moved a place below to the 12th, mustering just 24 points from their 20 games so far.
Meanwhile Ole Solskjaer’s Manchester United seemed to have put their ignominious 0-2 loss to Watford behind and come out roaring to beat Newcastle 4-1 and Brighton & Hove 2-0 in consecutive games to climb smartly to the 5th spot with 31 points accrued. Anthony Martial has been the player instrumental in the surge upwards with three goals from these two outings.
Watford meanwhile are having their best phase of the season, going through three matches without a loss under new manager Nigel Pearson. After a 2-0 win over Manchester United and 1-1 draw against Sheffield United, the Hornets trounced Aston Villa 3-0 on Saturday but sadly ended the year in the 19th place despite all their recent feats.
Everton’s superb run under new coach Carlo Ancelotti (who took over on 21 December) continued as they romped home to their third win from 5 unbeaten games, beating Newcastle 1-2 away at St. James Park. The player behind the Toffee’s revival has been Dominic Calvert-Lewin who has slammed in 5 from as many as of his previous outings including the two against Newcastle on Saturday. From being in the 18th spot and relegation zone in October, Everton have come a long way to break into the Top ten after Saturday’s win at St. James Park.
Aston Villa still languish in the 18th spot (relegation territory) with 18 points after their loss to Watford while West Ham are teetering a point above them at the 17th. Norwich City despite their heroics against the Spurs find themselves at the bottom of the table.
Team standings with points on the Premier League table after 20 games
|17||West Ham||19 *|
* Denotes 19 games played