Boxing Day saw ten games played in the Premier League – with the festive period bringing both joy and sorrow to the sides who were in action on Saturday afternoon.
STOKE PREVAIL TO TOPPLE MANCHESTER UNITED
Manchester United succumbed to a fourth straight defeat in the early televised game away at Stoke City, going down 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium, a result which further increases the pressure on United manager, Louis Van Gaal.
Glen Johnson capitilised on Memphis Depay’s poor header to feed the ball to Bojan Krkic, who toe-poked home from close-range, to give the Potters a 19th minute lead.
With the Red Devils stunned in Staffordshire, things were soon to get worse for Van Gaal’s beleaguered side, when Marko Arnautovic arrowed beyond David De Gea from 25 yards, after Bojan’s initial free-kick had hit the wall.
The three-points for Mark Hughes’ Potters moves them up to 10th in the top-flight, while United, who are now winless in seven, drop to sixth.
MANCHESTER CITY GIVE THEIR FANS A BELATED PRESENT
It was a happier day for Manchester’s other club, as City thrashed relegation threatened Sunderland 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Raheem Sterling opened up proceedings after 12 minutes when he glanced Kevin De Bruyne’s cross beyond Vito Mannone.
City doubled their lead five minutes later, midfielder Yaya Toure drilling home from 20 yards, before Wilfried Bony added a third from another De Bruyne assist.
After assisting two goals, De Bruyne got in on the rout ten minutes after the interval, calmly converting a fourth for the title-contenders.
Fabio Borini squeezed in a consolation beyond Joe Hart, there was still time for Bony to sky his penalty-kick over.
City remain third, with Sunderland still 19th, and in the relegation places.
LIVERPOOL DEFEAT THE LEADERS
Leicester City’s eight match unbeaten run came to an abrupt end at the hands of Liverpool at Anfield, by a solitary 1-0 scoreline on Merseyside.
In a first-half in which the Reds dominated on home-soil, they failed to fully test Foxes keeper, Kasper Schmeichal.
Jurgen Klopp’s side took the lead after 63 minutes, when Roberto Firmino pulled the ball back from the left into the path of Christian Benteke, who stretched to steer beyond the dive of Schmeichal.
Following on from the result, Liverpool are up to eighth, meanwhile, Leicester remain top of the Christmas tree.
CHELSEA RESCUED THANKS TO DIEGO COSTA’S BRACE
Chelsea and Watford played out an entertaining Christmas spectacle at Stamford Bridge, with four goals shared apiece in West London.
Temperamental forward, Diego Costa, prodded the Blues into a 32nd minute lead, after he turned his marker and hooked in beyond Gomes, after the ball had dropped to him from a corner.
Guus Hiddink’s men looked on as their lead was cancelled out ten mintutes later, when Troy Deeney equalised for the Hornets from the penalty spot.
The game was turned right on its head eleven minutes after the break as Odion Ighalo’s deflected shot looped beyond Courtois to give Watford the lead.
With 25 minutes to play, Diego Costa went round Gomes to level – it could have been more for Chelsea, who are now 15th, as Brazilian Oscar missed a late penalty.
Harry Kane’s first-half brace, followed by Tom Carroll’s strike ten minutes from the end, gave Tottenham Hotspur a resounding 3-0 victory over Norwich City at White Hart Lane.
The win over the Canaries moves Spurs into fourth spot, Norwich, however, drop back into the relegation places following the defeat to the Lilywhites in North London.
Swansea City eased their relegation fears with a slender 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at the Liberty Stadium.
Ki Sung-yueng’s ninth minute stabbed effort proved decisive, and moves the Swans out of the bottom three, after they secured their first win for two months.
Basement boys, Aston Villa, shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with West Ham United at Villa Park.
Aaron Cresswell hammered in a low strike for the visitors on the stroke of the interval, only for Jordan Ayew to net a penalty on the hour to secure a point for Villa, who remain bottom, while West Ham drop to ninth, after a barren run of form.
In-form Crystal Palace drew 0-0 with AFC Bournemouth at Dean Court.