After a hiatus of 40 days for the World Cup in Qatar, Premier League play resumed with a full slate of games on Boxing Day. There were a whopping 25 goals scored over Monday’s seven matches, with league leaders Arsenal continuing their hot streak with a 3-1 victory over West Ham. After a disappointing loss at home, Southampton is currently in last place in the league. Also, Everton’s late goal against them has left them in despair. Arsenal put an end to any concerns that the World Cup break may slow their momentum in the final game on Monday.
Premier League returns: Arsenal extends advantage, Southampton sinks
With goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Eddie Nketiah, Mikel Arteta’s team overcame an early deficit to overcome the Hammers and increase their advantage to seven points. The Gunners have a seven-point lead over Newcastle, but Pep Guardiola’s City is only three points back and can tie the game with a win against Leeds on Wednesday (kick-off 20:00 GMT). Newcastle’s excellent win at Leicester propelled them to the second position in the Premier League, one point ahead of City, who don’t play again until Wednesday. After only 32 minutes, the Magpies had already built a 3-0 lead.
Boxing Day for the visitors has been remembered thanks to a Chris Wood penalty and goals from Miguel Almiron and Joelinton. New Premier League managers like Julen Lopetegui, Nathan Jones, and Unai Emery had mixed outcomes in their first games on Boxing Day. Wolves rallied from a goal down to defeat Everton 2-1 in a thriller at Goodison Park, Lopetegui’s first game in charge. Rayan Ait-Nouri scored the game-winning goal. The win for the Spanish manager moved his team up one spot to 18th in the rankings, one point behind Frank Lampard’s Toffees.
When Brighton beat Southampton 3-1, the visiting fans cheered for Lopetegui while the home fans jeered for Nathan Jones, who was managing the Saints for the first time at St. Mary’s Stadium in the Premier League. After losing to Wolves, Jones’ team is currently at the bottom of the league, making the fight against relegation much more difficult. Emery’s first league loss as Villa manager came on Christmas Day when Liverpool won 3-1 on the road. The result dampened holiday spirits at Villa Park.