Liverpool extended their Premier League lead over reigning champions Manchester City on Saturday as they ground out another hard-fought narrow win, this time against Brighton at Anfield and Van Dijk was the hero on this occasion netting both goals in his team’s 2-1 win. City on the other hand, failed to beat a resurgent Newcastle United at St James Park thanks to an eighty-eighth-minute equalizer from Shelvey to make it 2-2.
There were a few shock results in the Premier League at the weekend and on Saturday West Ham ended an eight-match winless run by beating Chelsea 0-1 at Stamford Bridge for the first time in over 17 years. Crystal Palace won their first league game since the beginning of October thanks to a Zaha inspired 0-2 win at Burnley.
Spurs won their third game in a row under new manager Mourinho, beating free falling Bournemouth 3-2 at the Spurs Stadium. Mourinho is clearly abandoning a rigid defensive tactical approach for a freer flowing attacking style of football, which the Spurs fans are used to and expect. Mourinho must be impressed with the offensive side of his team, especially with Ali returning to form, which must feel like a new signing at this stage of the season.
However, Mourinho will be more concerned by the fact his team has let commanding leads almost slip in the last two games and his defence has shipped four goals in two games because, he knows only too well that this approach will not stand up to the elite performers in the league and Europe. Southampton picked up a huge win in their relegation six pointer battle against Watford at St Mary’s on Saturday, but they had to do it the hard way again, as Watford led for over fifty minutes after taking the lead midway through the first half, but the Saints mounted a comeback late in to the second half and it paid dividends with Ings’ equalizer with just over quarter hour remaining and Ward-Prowse snatched a valuable late winner to hand the Saint’s their first league win since beating Sheffield Utd back in September.
On Sunday, Leicester City moved back up to second place, eight points behind Liverpool and three ahead of Manchester City, thanks to a 2-1 home win against Everton, but they were extremely fortunate to gain all three points as they need an injury time winner from sub Iheanacho. Wolves and Sheffield Utd missed the chance to move up to fifth at the expense of Spurs as their match at Molinuex ended 1-1. Manchester United’s recent dip in form continued as they failed to hold on to their second half lead against Aston Villa at Old Trafford, who more than deserved their point and finally, after manager Emery’s departure on Friday, Arsenal’s winless run continued as they could only manage a 2-2 draw at rock bottom Norwich.
The second round of the FA Cup also took place at the weekend and AFC Fylde were the only none league team to progress as they faced fellow non-league opposition in Kingstonian. However, three non-league sides Hartlepool, Boston Utd and Eastleigh did earn the chance for a second bite at the cherry after picking up draws against EFL opposition in Exeter, Rochdale and Crewe. There will be three other second round replay’s after League Two Forest Green and Carlisle drew 2-2 at the New Lawn stadium, League One Bristol Rovers were held to a 1-1 draw at the Memorial stadium by League Two Plymouth and finally, Coventry and Ipswich drew 1-1 in their League One clash.