- Chris Sobey
Harry Kane broke Alan Shearers 22-year Premier League record for the most goals in a calendar year yesterday when he netted his second hat-trick in as many games against Southampton at Wembley. The 5-2-win lifted Spurs to fifth a point behind Liverpool who thrashed Swansea 5-0 in the tea-time kick-off. The Reds took an early lead against the Swans at Anfield thanks to a superb individual effort from Coutinho from outside the box after six minutes, but failed to capitalise on their dominance for the remained of the half. The second half was a different story however, and they proceeded to punish the visitors scoring four with no reply and Firminho netted a brace with the second and fourth goals. This is the third season in a row when Swansea have ended up in the relegation zone at Christmas and while they’ve performed heroically to survive the drop in the past, it looks very unlikely they will repeat that this season judging by their managerial situation and poor-quality squad.
Chelsea moved within one point of rivals Manchester United after comfortably defeating Brighton 2-0 at Stamford Bridge yesterday. United were very fortunate to come away with a point against Burnley at Old Trafford as the visitors were 2-0 up by half-time thanks to strikes from Long and Defour and it took an injury time equaliser from Lingard, who bagged a brace on the day, to save United’s blushes. Watford, who had lost five of their last six in the league (drawing the other) finally got back to winning ways with a come from behind 2-1 win against Leicester City at Vicarage Road. Midtable Huddersfield and Stoke played out a 1-1 draw at the Kirklees Stadium yesterday and manager Mark Hughes decision to introduce Egyptian super sub Sobhi during the second half of the last two league games has turned out be an inspired decision. The Egyptian bagged the third in the 3-1 home win against West Brom at the weekend and yesterday he scored the important second half equaliser against Huddersfield.
Draw specialist West Brom recorded their ninth stalemate of the season yesterday, which was a drab 0-0 at the Hawthorns against Everton. The Baggies remain in the relegation zone two points ahead of Swansea and three points from safety and unless they can start to score more goals and turn some of these draws in to wins they could easily end up being relegated along-side manager-less Swansea. Finally, the match of the day was a relegation six-pointer and six goal thriller between Bournemouth and West Ham at the Vitality Stadium. Both teams and their managers especially, will be frustrated that their teams did not collect a vital three points. West Ham had the best chance as they lead twice, 1-0 in the first-half and 3-2 in the second half with only a few minutes remaining, while Bournemouth lead 2-1 for the majority of the second half. The game really sprung to life during the final ten minutes however, as the Hammers top-scorer Arnautovic bagged the equalizer with less than ten minutes remaining and then looked like he had bagged an amazing winner at the death to make it 3-2. However, the Cherries and striker Callum Wilson ended up breaking the Hammers hearts with the equalizer to make it 3-3 three minutes in to injury time.
Championship leaders Wolves are still eight points clear at the top of the Championship after drawing 2-2 at Milwall yesterday as their closes rivals second place Cardiff lost 4-2 at home against Fulham and third place Derby could only manage a point away at Hull. Bristol City continued to impress as they moved up to second ahead of Cardiff and Derby thanks to their 2-0 win at Ashton Gate against Reading. Leeds and Sheffield united maintained their play-off places in fifth thanks to wins against Burton and Sunderland respectively. Middlesbrough who sacked Gary Monk and replaced him with veteran Tony Pulis over the festive period, got back to winning ways at home against Bolton yesterday which kept them in touch with the top-six in seventh. It was a bad day for the bottom four Birmingham, Bolton, Sunderland and Burton as they all lost yesterday and if their fortunes don’t improve soon they will all be in line for the drop come the end of the season.