Mourinho jibe obscures inability to claim maximum points at Southampton
Despite Jose Mourinho’s insistent claims to the contrary, there is no “campaign” against Chelsea after Cesc Fabregas procured a booking instead of a penalty in the 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s on Sunday. It is, however, quite timely for the Chelsea manager to launch that sort of broadside after Chelsea lacked the incisiveness in the second half to dispatch Southampton. Consider it another moment of subterfuge from a manager always trying to play the angles and protect his players.
Getty ImagesMichael Steele
City squander gilt-edged chance to close gap on Chelsea
Manchester City stood to benefit from the stalemate between Chelsea and Southampton, but Manuel Pellegrini’s men once again allowed careless work inside their own half unravel greater ambitions. Burnley pounced on slack defending and summoned a second-half display full of resolve to snatch a 2-2 draw. It is the sort of misstep City simply could not afford in the title race.
AFP/Getty ImagesPAUL ELLIS
Width provides key as Liverpool unlocks Swansea City
This festive period brought joy to Anfield as Liverpool continued its recent resurgence. Most of the credit for the 4-1 victory over Swansea City on Monday rested with the ability to stretch the field horizontally in that 3-4-3 setup and use that space well with drifting runs from the midfielders. The contributions of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana with the latitude afforded underscored the utility of moving the ball quickly and switching the play frequently.
Getty ImagesClive Brunskill
Poor pressure piles the scrutiny on Everton
Everton can only blame their own failings for their current three-match losing streak. Their troubles in the 3-2 defeat to Newcastle on Sunday stemmed from a lack of attentiveness inside their own defensive third and a reluctance to close down the ball consistently. Not even the often-compelling play moving forward can compensate for the soft underbelly currently in place.
AFP/Getty ImagesIAN MACNICOL
Newcastle may rue its pliability as Alan Pardew inches toward the exit
Newcastle supporters spent much of Pardew’s tenure trying to push him out the door. Crystal Palace may finally grant them their wish after receiving permission to meet with Pardew on Monday night. Pardew’s apparent interest to swap Newcastle for Palace is a peculiar one given the considerable disparity between the two clubs. Newcastle can only hope his imminent departure does not close the gap.