Boxing Day fixtures turned out eventful in the Premier League on Saturday as Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal stunned Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium. Manchester City cruised past Newcastle United 2-0 to go fifth in the league table. Chelsea would have gone second with a victory. Arsenal bagged their first win in the EPL in eight games. Three points on Saturday gave them breathing space from the relegation zone as they now sit at 14.
Arsenal vs Chelsea
Going into the Boxing Day clash against Chelsea at home, Arsenal sat just three points above the relegation zone but they hammered Chelsea’s hopes of picking up 3 points, let alone the hopes of a draw. The Gunners produced their best performance this term to out-class their London rivals. Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty opened the scoring before Granit Xhaka’s superb free-kick doubled Arsenal’s lead before half-time. Bukayo Saka bagged Arsenal’s third goal after the break as they won in the Premier League for the first time in eight games. Tammy Abraham converted Hudson Odoi’s cross in the 85th minute but it was too little, too late. Jorginho came close to score the second from a penalty but he missed.
Arteta commented post-match, “It’s a really big win for us. We were really disappointed and frustrated with the results. The players and fans were suffering and today is a really special day. It doesn’t get any better; Boxing Day, playing a London derby at the Emirates, and winning the way we’ve done it. Hopefully, this is a turning point and will elevate the confidence of the team because I know that they can play at this level.”
Manchester City vs Newcastle United
In another Boxing Day fixture, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City picked up three points as they drubbed Newcastle 2-0 to go fifth in the EPL table. Their title contention got a massive boost, thanks to goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres. The home side, on a cold night at the Emirates Stadium, opened the scoresheet in the 14th minute when Gundogan calmly fired home Raheem Sterling’s pass from close range. Newcastle’s Federico Fernandez blocked a cross from the right only to deflect it at the feet of Torres, who stroked in a finish in the 55th to seal City’s win.
Pep quipped at the post-match address, “It was a tough game, with the weather conditions and an opponent who we have struggled to score against. That is the tempo we need to play. Today our positional game was perfect, unfortunately, we could not score more goals but it is a good result and three more points. We cannot think much, the schedule is a game every three days. The players are committed and focused. We are far away from the top, last week we were 10th in the table, all the season is up and down. There are weird results for everyone, this season you have to be calm in the good and the bad moments.”