By Ryan Moran
- Adam Lallana’s last minute strike defeated Norwich at Carrow Road.
- 10-man Arsenal fall to defeat against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.
- Leicester leapfrog the Gunners to top the table.
Liverpool came from 3-1 down to claim a 5-4 victory in the final minute, while Arsenal slip to second after defeat to Chelsea. In the other results, a renowned striker ended his goal drought while another forward started life in the Premier League with a debut goal.
Norwich 4-5 Liverpool
Adam Lallana’s 95th minute strike ensured Liverpool denied Norwich a share of the spoils. The Canaries included two debutants in their line-up, Steven Naismith and Ivo Pinto, while Timm Klose was among the unused substitutes.
In another high scoring game in East Anglia, Roberto Firmino opened the scoring against the run of play before Dieumerci Mbokani’s neat back heeled finished pulled Norwich level.
The home side took the lead when new signing Naismith fired across Simon Mignolet after a smart run into the box. Alberto Moreno gave Wes Hoolahan the chance to double the Canaries’ lead from the spot, bringing down Naismith with a second bite at the striker’s heel in quick succession.
3-1 down and second best in the game, Jurgen Klopp’s side found themselves back in the game, Jordan Henderson converting from Firmino’s assist. The Brazilian pulled his side level eight minutes later with Alex Neil containing his frustration as his side threw away a two goal cushion.
Russell Martin gifted the away side the lead when his weak back pass to Declan Rudd was pounced on by James Milner, beating the goal keeper at his front post to put Liverpool ahead for the second time in the game.
Sebastien Bassong’s thunderous strike through a crowd gave Mignolet no chance as the home side drew level. Klopp was angered on the touchline because of the five minutes of stoppage time, but it was the fifth minute of injury time that Lallana hit his shot into the ground for the winner. The winner triggered frantic celebrations on the touchline with Christian Benteke breaking his manager’s glasses in the process.
Neither manager was happy with the amount of goals conceded and while Klopp will be happy with the three points, his side continue to concede from crosses and long balls. Bassong and Mbokani’s goals came from Liverpool failing to clear the aerial threat, but the German’s side played with freedom on the ball. Neil will feel hard done by with Milner’s goal easily preventable but will be excited by the prospect of Naismith, scoring on debut.
Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea
10-man Arsenal couldn’t prevent Chelsea from taking their unbeaten record against the Gunners to nine games, Diego Costa’s goal enough to separate the sides. Under Guus Hiddink the Blues continue to climb the table and move up to 13th while the Gunners’ lead at the top became vulnerable with defeat.
The home side were up against it from the 18th minute when Per Mertesacker saw red for dragging Costa down as the Spaniard raced through with only Petr Cech left in his path. Five minutes later the away side made the extra man count, Branislav Ivanovic’s low cross turned in at the front post by Costa.
With the loss of a defender Arsenal had to sacrifice striker Olivier Giroud, replaced by Gabriel Paulista, to fill the void left in defence because of Mertesacker’s dismissal.
Leicester and Manchester City played on Saturday meaning the pressure was on the Gunners to avoid defeat, in failing to do so Arsene Wenger’s side drop to third in the table, level on points with Manchester City.
Leicester City 3-0 Stoke City
Leicester climbed to the top of the Premier League with a win over Stoke, this coming in conjunction with Jamie Vardy ending a six game goal drought with a goal against Stoke City. After their FA Cup disappointment, the sole focus for the Foxes is now the Premier League and they returned to league action with a resounding victory over the Potters.
Danny Drinkwater opened the scoring just before half time, beating Jack Butland from the edge of the area. Vardy doubled his side’s lead, rounding Butland to pass the ball into the empty net.
Leonardo Ulloa added a third late on as the home side confirmed victory to move three points clear of Arsenal who played a day later, losing to Chelsea. Claudio Ranieri’s side are the unexpected leaders with the Italian currently having no major honours to show for a long managerial career, can he achieve his first major honour with Leicester?
West Ham United 2-2 Manchester City
Sergio Aguero’s late strike denied West Ham the chance of doing the double over Manchester City, a Enner Valencia brace twice giving the Hammers the lead.
Valencia gave the home side the lead within a minute after a lapse in concentration from the City defence, finishing from close as Slaven Bilic’s side went in search of the double. Without even ten minutes on the clock Aguero had drawn the Citizens level from the spot after being fouled by Carl Jenkinson inside the area.
The away side were at fault for their own downfall, Valencia reacting quicker than Nicolas Otamendi to beat Joe Hart and put his side into the lead for the second time. Aguero once again saved City from defeat, finding the net from inside the box to share the spoils with the East London outfit.
Sam Byram made his debut for West Ham, appearing as an early substitute in the place of Jenkinson. Manuel Pellegrini’s side moved up to second with the point, because of a superior goal difference over Arsenal, while West Ham are within a point of fifth placed Manchester United after the draw.
Crystal Palace 1-3 Tottenham
Dele Alli stole the show with an impressive volley as Spurs kept within touching distance with the top three. After taking the lead, Crystal Palace fell to a fourth straight league defeat, dropping into the bottom half of the table.
Selhurst Park were hoping for turn in their side’s fortunes and got their wish with half an hour played, Wilfried Zaha’s cross turned into Tottenham’s net by Jan Vertonghen. Harry Kane pulled his side level when he headed Nacer Chadli’s cross home.
Alli put the away side ahead, flicking the ball up and over his head before volleying into the bottom corner past Wayne Hennessey. Chadli doubled the lead very late on, curling home Spurs’ third.
The two goal cushion doesn’t reflect Palace’s attempts to turn around their miserable run. The Eagles battled hard but faced an in form Tottenham side who ground out the result and moved within two points of third placed Arsenal.
Manchester United 0-1 Southampton
Charlie Austin returned to the Premier League in true fashion at Old Trafford, heading home seven minutes after making his first appearance for the Saints as an 80th minute substitute.
In a game of few chances, the ex-QPR striker headed his side to a famous victory against a Manchester United side lacking identity. The Red Devils have failed to score in three of their last five home games at a ground that used to be a fortress under Sir Alex Ferguson.
A five point deficit separates Louis Van Gaal’s side from fourth placed Tottenham while Southampton move within four points of United with the victory, moving to eighth place.
Everton 1-2 Swansea
Francesco Guidolin had his first taste of the Premier League as the Italian stood on the Goodison Park touchline to watch his side record a second consecutive victory. Goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andre Ayew came either side of Jack Cork’s own goal as Swansea steered themselves four points clear of danger.
John Stones’ weak back pass allowed Ayew to draw a foul from Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard for Sigurdsson to convert from the spot. Gareth Barry’s flick at the near post found its way into the Swans’ net via Cork. Ayew ensured the three points went back to Wales with a deflected strike off the sliding Stones to beat Howard.
The Toffees dropped into the bottom half of the table because of the defeat with their star man at fault both times. Roberto Martinez possesses an underperforming squad capable of achieving Europa League qualification at a minimum with Romelu Lukaku in their ranks. The League Cup is still in sight with the second leg against Manchester City currently in their favour on Wednesday 27th January at the Etihad Stadium.
Completing the round of fixtures:
Watford 2-1 Newcastle United
Sunderland 1-1 AFC Bournemouth
West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Aston Villa
Leicester hope to retain the top spot with an evening visit of Liverpool to the King Power Stadium in a list of fixtures being played mid-week, starting Tuesday 2nd February.
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