Saturday Premier League wrap: The things you might have missed
Tottenham 1 - 0 Middlesbrough
- Tottenham have won 26 of their last 28 Premier League games against newly promoted sides, since losing 1-0 to QPR in April 2012
Middlesbrough do not suffer under the bright lights of big Premier League grounds, as they showed against Manchester City and Arsenal earlier in the season. Aitor Karanka has built an obdurate defence which is difficult to breach and, for long periods at White Hart Lane, managed to suffocate the Tottenham threat.
Son Heung-min's quick feet undid their work, though, drawing a clumsy tackle from Bernardo and allowing Harry Kane to score nervelessly from the spot. Spurs' attacking phases were generally quite muddled, missing the natural width Danny Rose provides from full-back, and they grew increasingly profligate as the game became more open. This should have been more comfortable.
Nevertheless, winning is winning and Mauricio Pochettino will now take a handy four-point cushion to Anfield next weekend. There will be concerns, not least the imbalace created by the injuries to Rose and Jan Vertonghen, but Tottenham remain encouragingly efficient and have now won seven of their last nine league games.
Goals: Kane (pen, 58')
Chelsea 3 - 1 Arsenal
- Arsenal have conceded in each of their last 12 Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge; their longest run at an away venue.
The more things change, the more they stay the same: Arsenal recoiled in a familiar pose on Saturday lunchtime, curling up into a ball at Stamford Bridge and allowing Chelsea to trample them. Marcos Alonso set the tone, thundering over the top of Hector Bellerin to head home the opening goal and, regrettably, ending the Spanish full-back's game early.
But this was about Chelsea: N'Golo Kante was metronomic at the base of the home midfield, grinding Arsenal's sporadic threat to dust and Eden Hazard, full of life and purpose, framed an excellent performance with a weaving dance through the visitors' defence for the game's second goal. Late on, Cesc Fabregas apologetically lobbed a feeble Petr Cech clearance into an unguarded net to make it 3-0, before Olivier Giroud planted a consolation header past Thibaut Courtois in stoppage-time. Chelsea performed with both a feverish intent and admirable execution, overwhelming Arsenal for long periods and locking them within their own third. The 3-1 scoreline sounds conclusive, but was only vaguely illustrative of the difference between the two sides.
Goals: Alonso (13'), Hazard (53'), Fabregas (85') - Giroud (90').
Crystal Palace 0 - 4 Sunderland
- Sunderland scored four times in the first half for the first time since December 1999 (vs Chelsea).
Quite extraordinary. Crystal Palace, so resolute at Bournemouth in midweek, collapse inside 45 bizarre first-half minutes. Lamine Kone stabbed them in front early, Didier Ndong doubled their lead with a superb arcing effort, and Jermain Defoe finished the contest with a quick jab and hook before the break. Sunderland win for the first time in over six weeks (1-0 vs Watford) and score four in 45 minutes for the first time... since anyone can remember.
Given what Tuesday night superficially represented to Sam Allardyce and the promise it offered, this will be a shattering blow. Sadly, it will also be a game remembered for the ugly encounter between Damien Delaney and an irate fan at the interval. Not good and not an incident we've heard the last about.
Goals: Kone (9'), Ndong (43'), Defoe (45' & 45+1')
Everton 6 - 3 Bournemouth
- Romelu Lukaku scored the 300th hat-trick in Premier League history.
It should be allowed to detract from the overall work he's done, but Eddie Howe is now facing some pressing issues at Bournemouth. His players look dreadfully short of confidence with the ball and increasingly frail in their own half – and this was another defeat for a team yet to win a game in 2017. Three goals scored – a positive given recent results – but six conceded; Howe's team really do look flimsy.
Better news for Ronald Koeman, however, as his Everton team extended their unbeaten run to seven Premier League games, having last lost to Liverpool back in mid-December. Romelu Lukaku set the tone early, helped to create James McCarthy's goal, and then added a third of his own, albeit courtesy of some charitable defending. Two late goals secured his hat-trick, his second in the league this year, and put an end to Bournemouth's late flurry.
Goals: Lukaku (1', 29', 83', 85'), McCarthy (24'), Barkley (90') - King (60', 70'), Arter (90')
Hull 2 - 0 Liverpool
Very quietly, Hull have been improving. Marco Silva may not have tasted victory since the win over Bournemouth, but his players have clearly responded to his coaching – they are more disciplined, more aggressive in their pressing and, as Liverpool found out this afternoon, far harder to play against. Alfred N'Diaye capitalised on a Simon Mignolet error to give the hosts the lead before, of all people, Everton loanee Oumar Niasse doubled the lead and secured the points late on.
For Jurgen Klopp, a familiar feeling. A rotten January has cost him any realistic hope of a title and, once again, he will spend his Saturday night fielding questions about Liverpool's goalkeeping situation.
Goals: N'Diaye (44'), Niasse (84')
Southampton 1 - 3 West Ham
A result to calm West Ham hearts: they were brutalised in midweek and carved apart at the London Stadium by a far superior side. Andy Carroll's methodical finish cancelled out a ferocious debut goal from Manolo Gabbiadini, before Pedro Obiang and Mark Noble both benfitted from favourable deflections to secure the points. From the crisis days of August, September and October, West Ham are starting to enjoy this post-Payet world.
A third straight loss for Southampton, though, who might just be falling victim to a League Cup curse; since their resolute display at Anfield, they've conceded 10 goals in just three games. It's not quite time to panic, but this was another limp display against a talented-but-fragile side.
Goals: Gabbiadini (12') - Carroll (14'), Obiang (44'), Noble (52')
Watford 2 - 1 Burnley
- Jeff Hendrick's red card was the quickest in the Premier League since March 2015.
There is always the fear of a downturn after a big result so, having beaten Arsenal in midweek, Watford could have been forgiven for failing to rise to this more mundane occasion. To their credit, however, they gave an extremely professional performance. Jeff Hendrick's red card certainly helped their cause (the Irish midfielder was dismissed for his lunge on Jose Holebas), but goals from the talismanic Troy Deeney and a smart finish from new loan signing M'Baye Niang helped to further ease the pressure on Walter Mazzarri.
For Burnley: Same old. Ashley Barnes's late penalty couldn't disuguise that they are half the team away from home that they are at Turf Moor.
Goals: Deeney (10'), Niang (45') - Barnes (pen, 78')
West Brom 1 - 0 Stoke
- Marko Arnautovic has had a hand in 40 Premier League goals for Stoke (19 goals, 21 assists) - 11 more than any other since his debut.
Seven points from the last available nine has Tony Pulis's team in good shape. James Morrison's neat opening goal was enough to beat Mark Hughes's travelling Stoke, in a game that came with all sorts of Saido Berahino-shaped caveats but a narrative which never materialised.
In light of recent revelations and prompted by the fractious relationship which developed between Berahino and the Black Country natives, he was given a fierce reception at The Hawthorns, but that was the extent of the melodrama. Pulis's Baggies roll on, now up to eighth in the table and flying in the face of those pre-seaon doom-prophecies.
For Stoke, the news was less encouraging: Hughes's players managed over 60% of the possession and have now only beaten Sunderland and Watford since the turn of the year.
Goal: Morrison (6')