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Liverpool and Spurs held, Foxes sniff top-spot as Arsenal implode

Liverpool and Spurs held, Foxes sniff top-spot as Arsenal implode

FOOTBALL: Liverpool and Tottenham were both held to 1-1 draws yesterday (Dec 13) as Leicester edged ever closer to the summit and Arsenal imploded in a home defeat to Burnley.

FootballPremier-League
By Ben Tirebuck

Monday 14 December 2020, 11:21AM


Bobby Decordova-Reid celebrates as his wonder-strike gives Fulham a deserved 1-0 lead against champions Liverpool at Craven Cottage yesterday (Dec 13). The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Photo: AFP.

Bobby Decordova-Reid celebrates as his wonder-strike gives Fulham a deserved 1-0 lead against champions Liverpool at Craven Cottage yesterday (Dec 13). The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Photo: AFP.

Spurs took the lead in the 23rd minute at Crystal Palace thanks to captain fantastic Harry Kane in a thoroughly entertaining game that saw the hosts draw level courtesy of a scrappy Jeffrey Schlupp goal late in the second half.

Although he was at fault for Kane’s goal, Palace had goalkeeper Vicente Guaita to thank after he produced a number of truly world-class saves to deny the visitors and ensure his team a valuable point.

Palace arguably had the better of the game in the second half and Spurs had to demonstrate a strong resilience that has become very much a hallmark of their side under Jose Mourinho this season.

“At half-time, I told the players exacty the opposite that we did in the second half, but if they didn’t, it was because they couldn’t do it,” Mourinho told the BBC post-match.

“It was because they were not able to do it. I give credit to Palace for that,” he added.

Exquisite strike

Fellow league leaders Liverpool were unable to overcome an impressive Fulham team in a game where the reigning league champions were often second best.

Bobby Decordova-Reid gave the Cottagers the lead with an exquisite strike in the 25th minute and Liverpool then had Alisson Becker to thank for a series of crucial saves in the Liverpool goal to ensure the score remained at just 1-0 going into the break.

A late Mohammed Salah penalty earned Liverpool the draw after Fulham’s Aboubakar Kamara blocked Georginio Wijnaldum’s free-kick in the box with his arm although Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will be ruing the missed opportunity for his team to take top-spot outright going into the mid-week crunch clash with Spurs.

“In the first 30 minutes we were just not good. We could have lost the game in that period,” Klopp said.

“It doesn’t help with the number of games that we have to play the same players. There was a push definitely - 100%.

“We move on. Tottenham is the next challenge.”

Gunners booed off

Arsenal’s torrid season goes from bad to worse after a 0-1 home defeat by Burnley, their fourth straight home loss for the first time in 61 years.

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Granit Xhaka was dismissed for violent conduct after he grabbed the throat of Burnley midfielder Ashley Westwood in the 58th minute and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finally broke his goal scoring drought although unfortunately it was at the wrong end and ultimately was the difference between the teams.

The Gunners were booed from the pitch by their limited number of fans as their side remain in 15th place in the table, only five points off the drop zone.

Leicester City are quietly going about their business under the radar and registered a comfortable 3-0 home win against Brighton.

All the goals, courtesy of James Maddison (2) and Jamie Vardy, came in the first half and saw the team move into 3rd place in the league, only a point behind Spurs and Liverpool.

“The second half was about controlling the space and playing a bit more on the counter,” Foxes manager Brendan Rogers said afterwards.

“We controlled the game well and showed our maturity. Our focus was very good and it’s a professional job.”

Blades blunted

In the day’s early game, Southampton gave the returning fans to St Mary’s a treat as they breezed past Sheffield United 3-0, a result which sees them now occupy 4th spot in the league.

Che Adams, Stuart Armstrong and substitute Nathan Redmond scored the goals in a game that was more akin to a practice match for the hosts.

Sheffield United remain in grave danger of being cut adrift at the bottom with a solitary point from 12 games the worst start for any Premier League team on record.

Manager Chris Wilder admitted his team were second best in all departments but refused to show any signs of completely crumbling.

“I get on with my job,” he said post-match.

“I get up in the morning, have a shower, come in bright and do my work to the best of my ability. And that’s what we all do.”

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