Results: Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-3 Leicester City, AFC Bournemouth 2-0 West Ham United, Liverpool FC 4-3 Crystal Palace, Manchester United 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion, Newcastle United 3-0 Cardiff City, Southampton 2-1 Everton, Watford 0-0 Burnley, Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea, Huddersfield Town 0-3 Manchester City, Fulham 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool FC went into this Premier League weekend still holding a useful four-point cushion at the top of the table over champions Manchester City. They managed to maintain that advantage but only after a huge scare against Crystal Palace.
Palace had already won at The Etihad Stadium a month earlier and threatened to repeat the trick at Anfield when Andros Townsend put the visitors into a 34th minute lead. The Eagles had third-choice goalkeeper Julian Speroni guarding the posts because of injuries to Vicente Guaita and Wayne Hennessey. Unfortunately, the Argentine made a big mistake in allow Mohamed Salah to equalise. Salah added a second goal later in the second half but it was Sadio Mane who ultimately scored the decisive goal. His goal in the third minute of stoppage-time closed the match out at 4-2. Although James Milner was sent off and Max Meyer pulled a goal back, Palace were bravely beaten 4-3 and Liverpool’s advantage at the top of the table would be maintained.
A day later, Manchester City responded with a comfortable 3-0 victory away at Huddersfield. The Terriers had seen David Wagner resign from his position six days earlier and were no match for their illustrious opponents. The game was probably best remembered for an awkward moment when Sky Sports touchline reporter Patrick Davison approached a man in the crowd believing he was the incoming boss, Jan Siewert. It turned out it was just a guy called Martin from Wakefield who looked like Siewert. The real Siewert was eventually appointed two days later.
The weekend started with one of the best games of the entire season at Molineux as for the second time in Premier League history, Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Leicester City 4-3 at Molineux. Wolves made a dream start, racing into a 2-0 lead inside 12 minutes through Diogo Jota and Ryan Bennett. Leicester came back into the game in the second half, twice equalising when skipper Wes Morgan headed home in the 87th minute to make it 3-3. However, there was a final sting in the tail when Jota was picked out by strike partner Raul Jimenez in the 93rd minute to score the winning goal. It completed a stunning hat-trick for the Portuguese and saw Nuno Espirito Santo race down the touchline to join in the celebrations. For Claude Puel, it was a tough result to take as he buried his head in his hands at the dramatic late twist against his side.
Nine points behind Liverpool, Tottenham’s title hopes looked slim but the north Londoners were still harbouring an outside shot at catching the top two. Missing Heung-Min Son to international duty and Harry Kane to a recent injury, things got harder at Fulham. Kane’s replacement, Fernando Llorente scored an unfortunate own goal and Dele Alli limped off injured with a damaged hamstring. Alli had equalised before departing but it was an unlikely hero who won the points as Harry Winks scored an injury-time header for the Lilywhites. It left Fulham seven points off safety and with just one win in 10 matches. The magic Claudio Ranieri had brought to Leicester was not transferring in his reign at Craven Cottage.
Chelsea remained fourth but put in a tepid display in a London Derby, losing 2-0 to Arsenal at The Emirates. The win for the Gunners came at a cost as Hector Bellerin suffered a season-ending knee injury which kept the Spaniard out for nine months. Afterwards, a furious Maurizio Sarri told journalists he was finding Chelsea players “extremely difficult to motivate” and they were lacking “ferocity” in their game.
At the wrong end of the table, Newcastle United and Cardiff City swapped positions in the table after the Magpies produced a clinical display against the Bluebirds, beating them 3-0 on Tyneside. Fabian Schar scored twice for the home side. For Cardiff though, football paled into insignificance days later when recent club-record signing Emiliano Sala was onboard a plane that disappeared over the English Channel.
What else happened in January 2019?
- Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement proposal is rejected by a massive 230-vote margin in the House of Commons. It is the biggest defeat for a government motion in over 100 years.
- Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately tables a vote of no-confidence in May’s government. 24 hours later, the Conservatives survive this motion, winning by just 19 votes.
- An aircraft carrying Cardiff City’s new club-record signing Emiliano Sala disappears over the English Channel on its way to Cardiff. His body is found on 7th February.
- The Duke of Edinburgh is involved in a car crash outside The Queen’s Sandringham estate. He is shaken but unhurt in the accident.
- Tensions rise between the US and China after the Chinese technology firm Huawei is charged with multiple counts of fraud by the US Justice Department.
- UK café chain Patisserie Valerie falls into administration after rescue talks to save the firm collapse.
- Ex-Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle decides to take legal action against the programme makers of Channel 4’s winter programme The Jump. She suffered fractured vertebrae whilst taking part on the programme three years earlier.