Xavi challenges Barcelona to qualify for Champions League in style


Even numerous coronavirus-imposed cancellations couldn’t stop the Premier League’s Boxing Day schedule from delivering a mountain of goals.

Manchester City managers demolished Leeds United 7-0 earlier in December ahead of a 4-0 loss to Newcastle and followed that up with a nine-goal thriller against Leicester City.

Arsenal in form Mikel Arteta continued their quest for a Champions League spot by beating five struggling Norwich City, while reinvigorated Tottenham overtook London rivals Crystal Palace.

Remaining in the capital, West Ham’s poor form continued in a 3-2 home loss to Southampton before Chelsea came back from behind to defeat Aston Villa on the road.

After a lot of festive cheers through Sunday’s high-level action, Stats Perform takes a look at the Opta data selection.

Tottenham 3-0 Crystal Palace: Conte’s murderous trio vs sorry Eagles

Spurs had lost just one of their last 12 top-tier home games to Palace and continued that impressive streak of forms as Harry Kane tied another record in a dominant 3-0 victory.

Kane opened the scoring in the first half following the introduction of Lucas Moura, scoring his sixth consecutive Boxing Day game as he tied Robbie Fowler’s Premier League record nine goals on Boxing Day.

Lucas added a second as he scored and assisted for the first time in the same top-level game, the Brazilian recording five goals in his last five league games, as many as in his previous 23 appearances in the competition.

Wilfried Zaha’s sacking in the first half for two bookable offenses made Palace’s misery worse, the winger’s fifth red card for the Eagles in all competitions – three more than any other player at the club since his debut in 2010.

Son Heung-min went on to score his sixth goal in six top-level home games against Palace, as Antonio Conte became just the third Spurs boss to go undefeated in their opening six league appearances after Jacques Santini in 2004-05 and Tim Sherwood in 2013-14.

Manchester City 6-3 Leicester City: Citizens beat foxes in record-breaking Boxing Day thriller

City lost 5-2 in that game last season but triumphed in a classic 6-3 this time around, despite a heated second-half response from Leicester, in the Premier League opener the day after Christmas to see up to nine goals.

Kevin de Bruyne scored the first and has now scored in five of his last six league starts at the Etihad Stadium, before Riyad Mahrez scored in his fourth consecutive appearance for the first time since moving to England in 2014 while he was converting on the spot.

Raheem Sterling, who won the most penalties of any player in Premier League history (22), scored another shot on goal, while Ilkay Gundogan was on target as Leicester lost 4-0 in 25 minutes for the first time in the lead. flight since Watford did against City in 2019.

Leicester reduced the deficit after the break as James Maddison found the net for the fourth time in his last five top-flight appearances before moneylender Ademola Lookman finished ahead of Ederson.

Those two previous goals were scored by Kelechi Iheanacho, who assisted twice in a top-level game for the first time before adding his own goal to make it 4-3.

However, Pep Guardiola’s side confirmed the win with a header from Aymeric Laporte and Sterling’s second, City’s 112th goal in 2021, the most goals a team has scored in a year since Arsenal also scored 112 in 1963.

Norwich City 0-5 Arsenal: Saka to double as Gunners tie away record

Bukayo Saka netted a brace as top Arsenal tripped in a 5-0 win over Norwich, who have played more Premier League games on Boxing Day without ever winning than any other side in the competition (eight).

Saka struck his first after just six minutes before his second came after the hour mark. At 20 years and 112 days old, he is the second youngest player to score more than 10 Premier League goals with Arsenal, after Nicolas Anelka (19 years 225 days).

Kieran Tierney doubled the Gunners’ lead between Saka’s two goals, with Martin Odegaard providing his second assist of the game – the Norway international has been involved in six goals in his last six league appearances, two more than in of his first 25 appearances in the competition.

Alexandre Lacazette added a fourth, while Emile Smith Rowe scored after coming off the bench again – his third league-leading goal as a substitute. No top team has surpassed Arsenal’s five goals against substitutes this season.

Norwich couldn’t find a way to get past Aaron Ramsdale as the Gunners recorded their largest joint away margin of victory in a Premier League game, while also scoring more than four goals in consecutive league games outdoors for the first time since 2009.

Aston Villa 1-3 Chelsea: Jorginho’s double seals the Blues’ triumph

Chelsea have stuttered in recent weeks but returned to winning ways as a brace from Jorginho ensured they came back from behind to defeat Aston Villa 3-1.

Reece James inadvertently entered his own net as Villa was offered an own home goal by Chelsea in the Premier League for only the second time, after Frank Sinclair also passed his own goalkeeper in December 1994.

Jorginho quickly restored parity after Matthew Cash beat Callum Hudson-Odoi before substitute Romelu Lukaku led the Blues in the lead with his ninth top-flight goal in 10 appearances against Villa.

Jorginho concluded things by coming back from 12 meters, with his 17th Premier League goal on the spot. In fact, 89% of his 19 goals are the result of penalties, the highest ratio of anyone who has scored more than 10 goals in the history of the competition.

Since Thomas Tuchel’s first game in charge in January, the Blues have scored more penalties than any other club in England’s first competition (12), with Jorginho scoring 10 himself – more than any club besides Chelsea during of this period.


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