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Saturday Premier League wrap: The things you might have missed

Liverpool 1-0 Man City

Before this game, Liverpool had won their last three matches against Manchester City, scored in their last 19 home games against them, and were on their way to enjoying a best year for goals ever (one behind 1985’s haul of 87). Meanwhile, Manchester City’s last – and to date only – victory at Anfield was back in May 2003, when Nicolas Anelka bagged a brace in a 2-1 win over his old side. 

So perhaps this slender victory for the hosts was somewhat inevitable – but above all crucial, what with Chelsea winning again earlier in the day to temporarily run nine points clear at the top of the table. Gigi Wijnaldum’s eighth-minute header was enough for Jurgen Klopp’s side to claim a fourth win on the spin, and consign City to another miserable loss which leaves them 10 points adrift of the leaders. 

Not even the return from suspension of Sergio Aguero could inspire the limp visitors, who struggled to breathe life into a turgid game and have now kept only four clean sheets in their 19 Premier League games under Pep Guardiola. Is it all over for their title tilt already?  

7 - Adam Lallana has made seven assists in the Premier League this season (in 17 apps); his most ever in a single campaign. Revitalised.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2016

Burnley 4-1 Sunderland

Gray days at Burnley – but of the bright, goalkeeper-bothering kind. A hat-trick for Clarets' hitman Andre gave Sean Dyche's side a fifth win in six at Turf Moor, and drags them even further away from the bottom three (now nine points). After nine games without a goal the ex-Hinckley United striker has now bagged in back-to-back matches, suggesting that Burnley do indeed have the firepower to keep their heads above water this term. Ashley Barnes added No.4 to secure the victory, and Jermain Defoe added Sunderland's consolation.

This was a day where everything went wrong for the Black Cats and their injury woes worsened. Star centre-back Lamine Kone limped off in the first half, then Victor Anichebe just after the break, who join *deep breath* Jordan Pickford, Jan Kirchoff, Duncan Watmore, Lynden Gooch, Paddy McNair and Lee Cattermole on the sidelines. With it, Kone automatically becomes a doubt for Ivory Coast's imminent Africa Cup of Nations campaign. That noise you're hearing is David Moyes weeping gently into the New Year. 

3 - Andre Gray is the first Burnley player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League. Treble.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2016

Chelsea 4-2 Stoke

Chelsea levelled Arsenal's record of 13 consecutive Premier League victories in a season with an entertaining 4-2 win over Stoke at Stamford Bridge which kept their lead at the top to six points after Liverpool's win over Manchester City. 

This result was in doubt, though, as Bruno Martins Indi and Peter Crouch goals twice hauled Stoke back level, after Gary Cahill put Chelsea ahead in the first half and then Willian nudged them back ahead after the break. But the Brazilian was on hand to ensure Antonio Conte's side march on at the top, striking back immediately after Crouch's conversion. Diego Costa made sure of the three points with his 14th top-flight goal of the campaign.  

Next up: Tottenham on Wednesday, and the chance to equal Arsenal's 14 straight wins set over two seasons from 2001/02 to 2002/03. 

100 - Cesc Fabregas is the 4th player to assist 100 Premier League goals after Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard & Ryan Giggs. Century.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2016

Leicester 1-0 West Ham

Relief for Leicester, who secured only their second win in 10 matches with a hard-fought win over a Hammers side that had succeeded in each of their last three Premier League games. In a hugely entertaining end-to-end scrap it was Islam Slimani's first-half header that dragged Leicester six points above the relegation zone, meaning five of his six Foxes goals have been netted with his noggin. 

Claudio Ranieri's defence got their reward for a gritty display at the King Power Stadium, but the Italian will be satisfied that his own tactical tweaking worked after switching to a 4-2-3-1 with Riyad Mahrez in behind compatriot Slimani. It was the Foxes' first league clean sheet since October 10's goalless draw against Southampton. 

15 - Islam Slimani has scored 15 of his 33 league goals since the start of 2015-16 from headers (45%). Bombardment.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2016

Man United 2-1 Middlesbrough

Well wasn't that a load of fuss for nothing? Bums were a-squeakin' when Grant Leadbitter put Middlesbrough ahead in the 67th minute at Old Trafford, but then Manchester United suggested that maybe they really are back after all with two late strikes from Anthony Martial (85th minute) and Paul Pogba (86th minute) to seal a 2-1 win.

Perhaps the most relieved man will be referee Lee Mason, though, who disallowed a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal just before half-time – quite ludicrously, you'll agree – for an alleged high foot. But no matter for the man in the middle – those goals from Martial and Pogba gave United a fifth straight Premier League win to turn up the heat on fourth-placed Arsenal.  

30 - @ManUtd failed to score with their first 30 shots vs Middlesbrough today, but have now scored two in a row. Turnaround.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2016

Southampton 1-2 West Brom

West Brom halted a run of back-to-back defeats with a come-from-behind win against 10-man Southampton at St Mary's, who had Virgil van Dijk sent off for two yellow cards. Shane Long and Matt Phillips swapped goals inside two minutes of one another to leave the score level at half-time, but Hal Robson-Kanu won it for the Baggies with his first goal – and a brilliant one at that – since that effort for Wales against Belgium at Euro 2016.

In fact, this was the ex-Reading man's first start for West Brom – before this game he'd been the most substituted-on player in the top flight, but accrued only 96 minutes' worth of action. Thanks to his terrific goal, West Brom leapfrog Southampton into eighth to keep their impressive season going. Boing boing indeed. 

1:47 - There was just 1:47 between Shane Long's goal for Southampton and Matt Phillips' equaliser for WBA. Backlash.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2016

Swansea 0-3 Bournemouth

More misery for rock-bottom Swansea, who suffered a 12th defeat in 15 despite the sacking of Bob Bradley last week. Caretaker boss Alan Curtis made seven changes from the side that were trounced 4-1 by West Ham last time out, but it didn't make much difference as Benik Afobe and Ryan Fraser had Bournemouth two up by half-time. Josh King added the third two minutes from time, having also netted in both games against the Swans last season. The big bully.

It was a welcome road win for the Cherries, who'd lost eight of their previous 11 Premier League away games and conceded three goals in five of their last six. As for Swansea – well, let's just say that nobody is envying whichever poor sap takes the reins next. 

0:30 - Ki Sung-yueng's yellow card for Swansea City v Bournemouth today is the quickest in the @PremierLeague this season (0:30). Keen.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2016

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