With the Premier League calendar decimated by a wave of positive Covid-19 cases, just four games out of a scheduled ten have made the cut ahead of what’s likely to be a manic festive period.
Arsenal hammered Leeds 4-1 in Saturday’s only game, inspired by a brace from Gabriel Martinelli and goals from Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, but the bulk of action comes on Sunday, headlined by a trip to Tottenham for Jurgen Klopp’s in-form Liverpool.
Premier League leaders Manchester City are also in action against struggling Newcastle, while Chelsea, who have also been hit hard by positive Covid-19 cases, are at Molineux to take on Wolves, having seen a request rejected by the Premier League to postpone the fixture.
Here’s 90min‘s coverage of the action as it unfolds.
Manchester City cruised to a 34th win of the calendar year at St James’ Park, winning 4-0 at a beleaguered Newcastle side who appear to be in desperate, desperate trouble.
Comically bad defending allowed Pep Guardiola’s side to open the scoring after just five minutes, as a complete breakdown in communication allowed Ruben Dias to head home Joao Cancelo’s limp cross home after a corner wasn’t properly cleared.
To make matters worse, Cancelo then reminded us all why he’s in millions and millions of FPL teams around the world by a sauntering through a non-existent Newcastle midfield, before hammering past a helpless Martin Dubravka in the home goal. A wonderful finish but more awful defending.
Allan Saint-Maximin came on for Newcastle in a bid to turn the game around, but instead it was a third goal that arrived for the visitors as Riyad Mahrez scored his 50th goal for City in all competitions.
The gloss was added to the scoreline late on as Raheem Sterling got on the end of Gabriel Jesus’ low cross, after the Brazilian had left Jacob Murphy for dead with a powerful driving run.
Read 90min’s Newcastle vs Man City player ratings here.
Chelsea’s stumbling run continued as they limped to a 0-0 draw at Wolves, having seen a request to the Premier League to postpone the game rejected before kick-off.
Covid-19 cases and injuries have ravaged the Blues’ squad, but their ability to name a 17-player squad meant the game went ahead as planned despite Thomas Tuchel’s pleas that the environment the players had been mixing in meant it wasn’t safe to proceed.
The game itself started off as a cagey affair, with neither side able to create many clear cut opportunities. That said, Wolves did have the ball in the back of Chelsea’s net just past the quarter of an hour mark, but replays showed an offside in the build-up to Daniel Podence slotting home.
Leander Dendoncker wasted the best opportunity of the half, heading tamely at Edouard Mendy, while Chelsea’s best effort fell to Christian Pulisic as the game approached the final ten minutes. Howeber, instead of finding the back of the net, the American was unable to beat Jose Sa as he turned his shot around the post.
Read 90min’s Wolves vs Chelsea player ratings here.
TV channel/live stream? Sky Sports (UK), Peacock (US), DAZN (Canada)
Highlights? Sky Sports Football YouTube, Match of the Day 2 (BBC One 10.30pm – UK)
Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Tottenham was the most anticipated game of the weekend, and the game in north London certainly hasn’t disappointed.
A pulsating opening 45 minutes of football, quite possibly the best of the season so far, saw Antonio Conte’s Spurs take the lead as Harry Kane bagged just his second Premier League goal of the season. Dele Alli could, and should, have made it two minutes later, but an incredible fingertip save from Alisson denied the 25-year-old on his return to the starting lineup.
Liverpool weren’t without their own chances, though, and they drew level through a fabulous header from Diogo Jota, who netted his 10th Premier League goal of the season, before they took the lead through Andy Robertson midway through the second half.
The Scot diverted home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s drilled cross with his head, although replays suggested that the ball came off Mohamed Salah’s hand in the build-up.
Son Heung-min quickly levelled after an Alisson clearance blunder, before Robertson saw red for a wild swipe on Emerson Royal – a decision that left the visitors outraged after Kane escaped with just a yellow card for a similarly dangerous tackle in the first half.