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Football | Premier League | Matchweek 16 | Round-up

By Chris Sampson

  • Two for Toney as Bees sting City, Gunners stretch lead
  • Seven-goal thriller at Spurs
  • Newcastle underline European credentials

UK -The final round of Premier League fixtures before the World Cup threw up a seven goal bonanza, stoppage time winners and some great football.


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Manchester City 1 Brentford 2

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Ivan Toney offered the perfect response to being left out England’s World Cup squad by helping Brentford to a surprising, but thoroughly deserved, away win at Manchester City, with a brace. Toney stunned Pep Guardiola´s side with a great all-round display.

Brentford went for Manchester City from the first whistle, possibly sensing a vulnerability after they just scraped victory over Fulham with a last-minute penalty last weekend. Toney was denied by City keeper Ederson early on, however, headed home to open the scoring on 16 minutes. Phil Foden equalised with a fine left-foot volley in first half stoppage time. City upped the tempo after the break, but Brentford refused to be intimidated by the champions and were a constant threat on the break. Ilkay Gundogan missed a great opportunity for City and Ederson had to save twice from Toney.

A lengthy stoppage due to a head injury to City´s Aymeric Laporte saw 10 minutes added on at the end of the 90. Brentford talisman Toney was again thwarted by Ederson at the start of added time, but he was never going to miss from close range when Josh Dasilva played a great pass across the six-yard box on a counterattack from the visitors. Toney was even denied a hat-trick in the final minute by a goal line clearance from Kevin de Bruyne.

This result is obviously a blow to City in their quest to defend their title and sends them into the lengthy break for the World Cup on the worst possible note. For Thomas Frank´s side it was a thoroughly deserved win, which produced ecstatic scenes among the Brentford contingent.


Tottenham Hotspur 4 Leeds United 3

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Tottenham continued their trend of conceding the lead and then coming from behind with victory over Leeds in a seven-goal thriller.

Rodrigo Bentancur was the hero, drawing Spurs level for the third time in the match courtesy of a wicked deflection off Luke Ayling, before finishing off Dejan Kulusevski’s low cross to earn Antonio Conte’s team all three points.

In a pulsating first half, Crysencio Summerville opened the scoring with his fourth goal in as many top-flight games before Harry Kane fired in an equaliser from close range.

Rodrigo put Leeds ahead again, but Ben Davies shot beyond Illan Meslier and the retreating Rasmus Kristensen to restore parity for the second time.

Another Rodrigo strike – his fifth in four league matches – left Spurs facing a third successive home league defeat, but Bentancur’s late double turned the match on its head.

Tottenham have gained 13 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other team. On the other hand, Jesse Marsch’s side, who recovered from 3-1 down to triumph over Bournemouth last weekend, were the victims of a comeback this time round. The match showed off Leeds’ technical ability and attacking prowess, however also highlighted their defensive shortcomings. They finish the weekend two points above the relegation zone.


Newcastle United 1 Chelsea 0

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A fantastic strike from Joe Willock earned Newcastle United a victory over Chelsea which keeps them third in the Premier League. Tottenham´s victory over Leeds earlier in the day meant Newcastle had dropped to fourth place but Willock´s goal means they move back to third. The Magpies will be in the top three on Christmas Day for the first time since the Sir Bobby Robson era, highlighting the progress made under Eddie Howe. After starting well in his new post Graham Potter has now become the first Chelsea manager to lose three league games in a row since Jose Mourinho in November 2015.

The first half produced few chances, with Newcastle pressing the visitors high and constantly probing. However, Chelsea, with men behind the ball defended well, not allowing the hosts to get behind them, while looking as if they could pose a threat on the break. In-form Miguel Almiron fired over the top, Conor Gallagher did well to block an effort from Dan Burn and the hosts also had a claim for a penalty waved away after the ball struck Trevoh Chalobah as he blocked a cross.

Newcastle started the second half well and, after a couple of chances which fell to Sean Longstaff were not taken, Nick Pope was called into action at the other end, saving superbly from Gallagher after 65 minutes. Willock then broke the deadlock two minutes later.  A surging run from Almiron saw the Paraguayan find Willock who curled home superbly from 18-yards to send an already bouncing St James´ Park wild.

Chelsea improved, especially after the introduction of Christian Pulisic, however, a well drilled Newcastle, superbly marshalled by the excellent Kieran Trippier held firm.

It was a young Chelsea team, without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling, and with Lewis Hall making his full Premier League debut at left-wing back. It was another unpredictable team selection from Potter, who often switched players and formations to good effect during his Brighton days. He may require time, not always a commodity afforded to Chelsea managers, in order to make a success of his Stamford Bridge career.

Newcastle, unbeaten in eleven in all competitions, can look forward to the remainder of the season, where they will hope to maintain their challenge for a European place after the World Cup break.


Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Arsenal 2

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A second-half brace from Martin Odegaard gave Arsenal victory at Wolves and saw Mikel Arteta´s side capitalise on Manchester City´s shock loss at home to Brentford. The Gunners have moved five points clear and will be top on Christmas Day for the first time since 2007.

Odegaard turned home Fabio Vieira’s low cross from close range 10 minutes after the interval and then drilled in the rebound after Jose Sa had saved from Gabriel Martinelli on 75 minutes. Wolves are now bottom as new manager, former Spain and Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui, prepares to take charge. Lopetegui was introduced 15 minutes prior to kick off and watched the game from the stands. What he saw sums up the season his new side have had. Wolves battled hard and competed well, despite being on the back foot for long periods. However, a lack of goals has contributed to their problems and once again, despite creating a couple of chances against the joint meanest defence in the league, they failed to score for the eighth time in 15 Premier League matches.

For Arsenal it is another pleasing away win which underlines their newly found resilience and consistency. They will hope to continue their title challenge after the World Cup.

Bournemouth bounce back, wins for Liverpool, Leicester and Forest

Bournemouth ended a sequence of four consecutive league defeats with a second comfortable victory over Everton this week, after knocking the Toffees out of the EFL cup in midweek. The win lifts Bournemouth above Everton, who are now fourth bottom, one point above the relegation zone. It has been a good week for the Cherries´ interim boss Gary O’Neil, with a decision over a permanent manager expected during the World Cup break.

A victory for Nottingham Forest over Crystal Palace lifts them off the foot of the table, climbing two places to 18th.  A Roberto Firmino strike, and a Darwin Nunez double saw Liverpool beat Southampton in a game which was marked by James Milner´s 600th appearance in the Premier League. James Maddison celebrated his inclusion in England´s World Cup squad with an eighth minute goal as Leicester enjoyed a win away at West Ham. Harvey Barnes sealed the points in the second half, finishing off a fine move.

Ings at the double, last-gasp Garnacho boosts United

Aston Villa continued to progress under new manager Unai Emery, coming from behind to beat Brighton at the Amex Stadium, with two goals from Danny Ings. Manchester United moved to within three points of the Champions League spots with a win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.  Teenager Alejandro Garnacho struck in the third minute of stoppage time to snatch victory for United.

Gunners lead the way, Wolves rock bottom

Going into the World Cup break Arsenal top the table by five points from Manchester City. Newcastle United are a further two points behind in third, with Tottenham Hotspur a point behind the Geordies in fourth. Manchester United are fifth, three points behind Spurs, with Liverpool in sixth, Brighton in seventh and Chelsea eighth.

Newly appointed Julen Lopetegui has a huge challenge ahead after the World Cup, with Wolves occupying 20th position on ten points. Southampton, who recently appointed Nathan Jones, are two points better off in 19th with Nottingham Forest in 18th position on 13 points. Only six points separate ninth placed Fulham from 18th placed Forest.

The Premier League will resume after the World Cup, with the next round of fixtures schedules for December 26, 27 and 28