Tuesday 30 December 2014

Blue Christmas

The Christmas fixtures brought the Premier League to its midway point with Chelsea and Manchester City leading the way.
Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the season when they fell 2-1 away to Newcastle and also dropped points in a goalless draw at Sunderland and in their most recent match 1-1 at Southampton.
Manchester City had won 7 matches in a row since drawing 2-2 at QPR until they lost a 2 goal lead to draw at home to Burnley in their latest match and are 3 points behind the leaders.
Manchester United had been picking up wins including 2-1 at Arsenal against the run of play, but have recently slowed down somewhat with a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa and 0-0 at Tottenham.
Southampton have been through a rough patch, losing at home to the Manchester clubs and away to Arsenal. The Saints were even shocked 1-0 at Burnley but turned things around by sending Everton home 3-0 losers and winning 3-1 at Crystal Palace before earning a respectable 1-1 draw at home to leaders Chelsea,  
Arsenal are on the fringe of Europe after overtaking West Ham with a 2-1 success at the Boleyn Stadium but will be regretting their first-half performance at Stoke which led to a 3-2 defeat.
West Ham United are in 6th place after consecutive home wins over Newcastle, Swansea and Leicester and a 2-1 away victory at West Brom.
Tottenham have won most of their matches 2-1 since their 2-1 defeat at home to Stoke, but have also drawn 0-0 at home to Crystal Palace and recently Manchester United. Their only other recent setback was 3-0 at Chelsea.
Liverpool who have been disappointing by the high standards they set last season moved above Swansea on goals scored after cruising 4-1 past the Welsh outfit at Anfield in the last match of 2014.   
Swansea City have been inconsistent, with their 2-1 win at home to Arsenal being reversed by Tottenham and points being dropped in a 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace.
Newcastle United have had their ups and downs, inflicting a 2-1 loss on Chelsea at St James' Park before crashing 4-1 at Arsenal and losing 1-0 at home to neighbours Sunderland. However, they finished the year on a high with a 3-2 home win over Everton.
Stoke City have had their fair share of wins with Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton among their scalps, but have also lost 2-1 at home to Burnley and are at the midpoint of the table.
Everton have ended the year with 3 straight defeats including 3-0 at Southampton and find themselves in the bottom half of the table.
Aston Villa who are behind Everton on goal difference have ended the year with 1-0 losses at West Brom and Swansea and home draws against Manchester United and Sunderland.
Sunderland are close to the danger zone having drawn 6 of their last 9 matches. Draws at home to Chelsea and away to Liverpool should have given them hope but a recent 3-1 failure at home to Hull City would have sounded alarm bells for the Black Cats.
Queens Park Rangers have picked up vital points to climb out of the relegation zone with home wins over West Brom 3-2 and Burnley 2-0 and a 2-2 draw at home to Manchester City.
West Bromwich Albion are a point clear of the drop zone with a goalless draw at Hull and a single-goal win at home to Aston Villa all they have to show for in their last 9 matches.
Hull City are just above the bottom 3 on goal difference but will be happy with their 1-1 draw at Everton 3-1 victory at Sunderland.
Crystal Palace parted with manager Neil Warnock at Christmas, having only tasted one victory in their last 9 matches, beating Liverpool 3-1 at Selhurst Park, though the London side have picked up several draws even away from home.
Burnley are second from bottom despite wins over Hull, Stoke and Southampton and draws against Newcastle, Aston Villa and a recent 2-2 at Manchester City.  
Leicester City are bottom of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Hull City in their latest match and a goalless draw at home to Sunderland the only points they have picked up in their last 12 matches.