Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Premier League Results Match Week 20: Liverpool Extend Table Lead With Win Over Newcastle; Arsenal Slide Continues With Loss At Fulham; Aston Villa Moves Into Second With Burnley Win; Spurs End Cherries Run

Liverpool extended its lead in the Premier League table to three points over now second place Aston Villa. The Reds defeated Newcastle 4-2 as Mohamed Salah scored a brace in his final Premier League appearance prior to joining Egypt for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Salah is now level with Erling Haaland for the Premier League goal scoring lead. That should change in coming weeks with Salah’s absence and Haaland expected return from the foot injury he suffered in early December. A 1-1 tie on Monday was broken by Curtis Jones’ 74th minute goal which opened the floodgates at Anfield as Liverpool regained its home mojo after drawing in its last two contests at its historic ground.

Arsenal tumbled from second place down to fourth after the Gunners lost 2-1 at Fulham. The defeat at Craven Cottage was the second consecutive league loss for the Gunners who have now won just of their last five Premier League matches. A fifth minute goal by Bukayo Sala went for naught as Fulham came from behind on goals by Raul Jiminez and Bobby De Cordova-Reid.

Aston Villa is now second in the table, three points behind Liverpool, after a 3-2 win over Burnley at Villa Park. Burnley fought valiantly and tied the match in the 71st minute despite playing with ten men after a Sander Berge red card 15 minutes earlier. Lyle Foster struck the equalizer for the Clarets, his first goal after missing several months to deal with mental health issues. Burnley’s hopes for its first earned point of the season from a losing position, however, were dashed when Jhon Duran was taken down in the box for a Villa penalty. Douglas Luis then sealed the victory with his 89th minute penalty kick. Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins assisted on Aston Villa’s first two goals to move level with Mohamed Salah at a Premier League high eight assists.

Manchester City also moved past Arsenal and is now third in the table after a 2-0 spanking of Sheffield United. Both Manchester City goals were assisted by Phil Foden, creating some high-end selection issues for Manager Pep Guardiola with the imminent return of Kevin De Bruyne from a long injury absence. Meanwhile, an unhappy end to the season appears inevitable for Sheffield United. No team has avoided Premier League relegation after accumulating as few points as the Blades have this season after 20 matches.

Tottenham Hotspur is now just a point behind north London rival Arsenal after Spurs dominated Bournemouth in a 3-1 win. Giovanni Lo Celso had two assists as Tottenham Hotspur dealt the Cherries their first loss since the first week of November. West Ham and Brighton played to a goalless draw on Tuesday.

The Seagulls dominated the action but were stymied by the efforts of West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola who recorded eight saves in a man of the match performance. The point earned by Brighton moved the Seagulls past Manchester United into seventh place in the table on goal differential.

The Red Devils continued a trend of following a positive result (win or draw) with a loss. That happened for a fourth consecutive time with Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Nottingham Forest. Any momentum from the dramatic come from behind win at Aston Villa disappeared for the Red Devils with the loss at the City Ground. Insult was added to injury when former Manchester United player Anthony Elanga assisted the winning goal by Morgan Gibbs-White. A second consecutive win by the Tricky Trees moved the club five points clear of the relegation line.

Chelsea won for the third time in its last four league matches in a 3-2 win at Luton Town. Cole Palmer had a brace and an assist as the former Manchester City player continued to shine for his new club. Palmer’s eight goals lead the London club, and his four assists are joint high for Chelsea with Conor Gallagher. Nothing comes easy for Chelsea this season, however, as Luton Town made things interesting with two late goals after Chelsea had taken a three-goal lead.

Michael Olise scored twice to lead Crystal Palace to a 3-1 win over Brentford. The win for the Eagles ended a dreadful run where Crystal Palace had not won any of its previous eight league matches. Brentford, meanwhile, lost a fifth consecutive match as the specter of a relegation battle beckons.

Everton are very much a part of that relegation battle as the Toffees remained safe by just a single point after a 3-0 loss to Wolverhampton. Three consecutive defeats have compounded the damage of the 10-point penalty enforced by the league to create the dilemma for Everton. Wolves, meanwhile, won a third consecutive league match as the club extended its home unbeaten run to eight matches. 

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