Peter Fitzpatrick·6 December 2023
Peter Fitzpatrick·6 December 2023
Wednesday night’s six Premier League fixtures did not disappoint as this exhilarating season took another twist.
Here is a lowdown on everything that happened.
The standout result of the night is undoubtedly Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory at home to Manchester City, which sees them leapfrog the champions into third place and continues Pep Guardiola’s winter of discontent.
Elsewhere, Liverpool moved back to within two points of leaders Arsenal with a less than comfortable 2-0 win at Sheffield United while Manchester United rebounded from Saturday’s nadir at Newcastle to beat Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Brighton were the comeback kings as they triumphed 2-1 over Brentford at the Amex Stadium.
You can catch up on all the results here.
Manchester United needed a hero tonight and they got one in their Scottish midfielder-cum-striker Scott McTominay, who once again delivered the goods and the goals for Erik ten Hag.
The Scottish international looked set to leave Old Trafford in the summer but now is the club’s top scorer in the Premier League this season with five goals.
His two goals showed what he is all about when it comes to in-box play, the first being a lovely touch and volley and the second a thunderous header from a brilliant Alejandro Garnacho cross.
A great night’s work all round.
It is a result that well and truly gives hope and belief that there might be a full-blown multi-side title race this season, the first in a decade.
Normally after a few trying results, Guardiola and Manchester City would click into gear and vanquish whatever side came up against them next. But Unai Emery’s Aston Villa are not just any side, particularly at home.
The Villains largely dominated City, restricting them to just two shots in total, as they displayed their incredible progress under the former Arsenal boss in just over a year of working together.
It is a 14th straight home league win for Villa and leaves them just four points off the top.
As mentioned, Villa were more than worth their 1-0 victory over City, with Leon Bailey’s 74th minute winner being their just reward for an elite team performance.
The Villains set out their stall early and did not let City get into any type of rhythm, which made life without the suspended Rodri all the more difficult.
A dominant first half was reflected in the 13 shots they had at Ederson’s goal (both on and off target) in the first half.
It sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Well in the world of Pep, it’s a first.
It is the most shots a Guardiola side have faced in a first half in his entire league managerial career, which totals 535 after tonight.
The empire is creaking, will it strike back?
If you aren’t already aware, this is shaping up to be one of the most exciting Premier League seasons in recent memory with it feeling like anyone can beat anyone on a given day – a welcome change from the very top heavy nature of recent seasons.
City will likely re-calibrate but all of Arsenal, Liverpool and even Villa will fancy their chances at a crack at the title, while somehow United are just three points off their cross-city rivals.
We could all be in store for a cracking Christmas and a mightily interesting New Year!
Tomorrow night sees Tottenham take on West Ham and Newcastle travel to Everton, before we do it all over again at the weekend.
The standout fixture sees Aston Villa host leaders Arsenal in a reunion between Emery and his old club.