Christmas is well and truly upon us and that means we are in for a feast of festive football.
This weekend was no exception as the fixtures served up some blockbuster clashes at either end of the table. Here’s a look at five things we learned from the latest round of Premier League action.
In form Danny Ings fires Southampton to massive win
Yes, he may have been gifted one of his two goals at Villa Park but there is no denying Southampton’s Danny Ings is bang on form at a crucial stage of the season. His well-taken brace against relegation rivals Aston Villa helped leapfrog Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men out of the drop zone with their fifth win on the season.
Ings has now got seven goals in seven games and has arrived at Christmas on 11 for the campaign. In a dogfight, someone, somewhere has to get you the goals and on this kind of form the former Liverpool striker looks to be the man to help fire Southampton to safety this season.
David de Gea errors resurface in costly defeat for Manchester United
After a decent run of league form Manchester United were left frustrated at Vicarage Road as bottom side Watford punished them in another costly defeat for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
Alarmingly it was a big goalkeeping error from David de Gea which handed Watford their ascendancy. The Spanish keeper allowed a week Ismaila Sarr effort to slide between his gloves at his near side. His visible dejection after the error was clear and will be painful for United fans to swallow.
The Spain international has now been directly at fault for six errors leading to goals since the start of last season, more than any other player. It’s starting to look like a problem position now as the issues continue to mount for Red Devils boss Solskjaer.
Willian masterclass reasserts Chelsea’s pole position in the race for the top four
Chelsea’s all-round efforts during their convincing victory over Spurs were exemplary and worthy of winning any football match, however, this result was signed, sealed and delivered by their veteran Brazilian maestro Willian.
The 31-year-old was in inspired form at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. His opener, a superb curling effort, silenced the home crowd and gave the visitors control of proceedings. The Chelsea number 10 duly took the reigns as he orchestrated a midfield masterclass before notching his second from the penalty spot.
He created five chances for this teammates as well as picking out eight wonderful forward passes into the opposition penalty area. In big games, you always need your big players to step up, and that is exactly what Frank Lampard’s men got on Sunday afternoon.
Arsenal left with mounting problems after Everton stalemate
Mikel Arteta would have been left under no illusions about just how massive a task he has on his hands at Arsenal as he watched on from the stands of Goodison Park on Saturday. During a match bereft of quality, the Gunners were able to collect a rare clean sheet on the road but their staggering lack of quality and creativity should have the club’s fans suitably concerned about the second half of the season.
It took Arsenal 44 minutes to register a shot in anger, their longest wait to do so in a Premier League fixture since 2015. In fact, they registered just two attempts on target all game as their youngsters floundered despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession against a team threatened with relegation. Arteta has one hell of a rebuild on his hands at the Emirates.
Wolves show their strength in depth as they find a way to three points yet again
For a significant chunk of their clash with Norwich, Wolves found themselves under the cosh and staring down the barrel of dropping crucial points in the quest for European football. However, their victory at Carrow Road proved that they have the required quality all over the park and remain far more than just a dangerous dark horse in this league.
Between the sticks, Rui Patricio was outstanding, making six big saves to keep his side in the game despite trailing. At the other end, Raul Jimenez and Joao Moutinho combined to punish their hosts with ruthless efficiency.
First Moutinho, registering his eight assist from a corner situation since the start of last season, swung in a dipping, dangerous ball for Romain Saiss’ equalizer before Raul Jimenez notched his seventh Premier League goal of the season as Wolves climbed to within just two points of Chelsea on Saturday night.
With this kind of quality and more traditional teams faltering, the way is paved for a side of Wolves’ quality to elbow their way into the top six this season.