Arsenal, Man City comfortably secure three points but Liverpool held by Spurs

(Football news) Injury-hit Leeds United welcomed Arsenal at Elland Road on Saturday in a fixture which was the only game to take place on Saturday after Aston Villa vs Burnley was postponed due to a high number of COVID-19 positive tests. For Leeds, seven defenders were missing and it was evident that Marcelo Bielsa’s side were struggling as Arsenal ran rampant in the first half. 

The Gunners did not feature former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the squad yet again but his absence was not felt as Gabriel Martinelli scored twice under half an hour in an utterly dominant performance. Their 11 shots before half-time against Leeds is the highest by any side in a single Premier League first half since 2003-2004. The first goal was scored when 20 year old Martinelli fired home a loose ball in the 16th minute while the second went into the back of the net after a brilliant chip over Illan Meslier in the 28th minute.

Bukayo Saka scored Arsenal’s third just before half-time when the England international scored from a tight angle as the game went out of reach for Leeds United even before the second half had begun. The hosts managed their first shot on target in the 72nd minute and managed to score a consolation goal when Joe Gelhardt was fouled by Ben White inside the penalty area and Raphinha duly converted the spot kick in the 75th minute. However, Arsenal managed to secure their win when substitute Emile Smith Rowe scored the fourth goal of the match. 

With this result, the Gunners are guaranteed a top 4 finish over Christmas as many games are postponed due to COVID-19. Arsenal are currently in fourth position, four points ahead of fifth place Leeds United while Leeds are 16th, five points clear of the relegation zone although the teams below them have games in hand.

Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City were guaranteed a top spot at Christmas after an easy 4-0 win against relegation threatened Newcastle United at St. James’ Park. Pep Guardiola’s team was ahead in just five minutes when Reuben Dias found the back of the net after an embarrassing mix up between Ciaran Clark and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. Joao Cancelo then scored his first Premier League goal of the season in the 27th minute after a shot from the edge of the box to make the score 2-0.

Newcastle had a penalty appeal denied moments later when Ederson appeared to foul Ryan Fraser but the hosts never looked like mounting a comeback as City utterly dominated them throughout the match. Riyad Mahrez scored City’s third in the 63rd minute after a VAR review while Raheem Sterling scored the fourth and final goal of the match in the 86th minute. With this result, City won their 34th Premier League game in 2021, setting a new record for most wins in a calendar year while Newcastle remained 19th in the Premier League and will look at the January transfer window to seriously overhaul their squad to ensure survival in the league.

Also read: Bundesliga: Dortmund lose further pace to Bayern as Leipzigs season gets worse

Liverpool were held to a frustrating 2-2 draw against Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in a fixture that involved a controversy due to a red card decision. The hosts took the lead through Harry Kane in the 13th minute when a sublime through ball by Tanguy Ndombele found the England international. Such was the end to end nature of the match that Tottenham could have easily been three goals up but Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son missed big opportunities in the match. 

Liverpool, who have been extremely lethal in attack in the Premier League this season, levelled the score through Diogo Jota who headed home Andrew Robertson’s cross in the 35th minute. Jurgen Klopp’s team could also have scored more goals in the first half but the Reds squandered a few opportunities that they came to regret later. One of the biggest talking points of the match was when Liverpool thought Harry Kane should have been sent off for a studs up challenge on Andrew Robertson while a penalty claim was denied to Liverpool when Emerson Royal appeared to nudge Jota when the scores were level.

Tottenham continued to be wasteful in front of goal as Harry Kane squandered two opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the second half and it was the visitors who took a controversial lead in the 70th minute through Andrew Robertson despite Spurs’ claims that Salah had used his hand in the build up of the goal. Spurs showed their resilience when Heung-Min Son levelled the score 2-2 when the South Korean put the ball into an empty net after Allison’s blunder. The Brazilian goalkeeper let a through ball between his legs in the 74th minute which was capitalized on by Spurs.

Another controversial moment in the match was when Andrew Robertson received a red card for appearing to have kicked through Emerson near the touch-line. The referee Paul Tierney first gave a yellow card which was then turned to red after consultation with the pitch side monitor. With this result, Liverpool are now three points behind Manchester City while Tottenham are seventh in the Premier League, six points behind fourth place Arsenal but have three games in hand.


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