Barclays Premier League Review – December 2015

CREDIT: AP/KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH
CREDIT: AP/KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH

With five sets of games in December, last month was always going to be the most exciting yet in this Premier League season. We saw plenty of shocks, with surprise packages climbing the table and giants of this country tumble down. Relive all the action below – the goals, star players, managerial departures. You name it and as always I’ve got it. Happy New Year!

The table on December 1st
The table on December 1st
The table on January 1st
The table on January 1st

What We Can See From The Table

  • Arsenal go into 2016 top of the table after picking up twelve points from five games – the most out of any side in December.
  • Leicester City continue to surprise everyone and remain in second, with Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur not far behind.
  • Manchester United picked up just two points in December and drop to sixth.
  • Aston Villa had an equally poor month and remain bottom of the pile, and are joined by the North East sides Newcastle United and Sunderland.
  • Kudos must go to to the likes of Watford, Stoke City, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace who surprised many people last month to beat some of the big boys and climb the table.

Player of the Month

Odion Ighalo – Watford

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

Six goals in five games in December means that Odion Ighalo is the top scorer in English league football in 2015 with 30 goals in total – three ahead of Harry Kane. He netted in every game in December, as Watford claimed 10 points to climb to an impressive ninth. At the start of December, Ighalo scored in the 2-0 win against Norwich as well as setting up Troy Deeney for the other goal. A week later he scored the winning goal in the Hornets’ 1-0 at Sunderland before grabbing a brace in the surprise 3-0 win over Liverpool. The Nigerian international clearly suffered no Christmas hangover, as he scored again in the 2-2 Boxing Day draw at Chelsea before ending the year with a goal against Tottenham in Watford’s only defeat of the month. Having now scored in six consecutive games, he’s coming for your record Jamie Vardy!

2nd – Romelu Lukaku (Everton)

3rd – Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)

Note: I think this month was the toughest player of the month decision I have had to make since I started these Premier League reviews as there were so many worthy players!

Manager of the Month

Eddie Howe – Bournemouth

CREDIT: PA/ANDREW MATTHEWS
CREDIT: PA/ANDREW MATTHEWS

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth started December in the bottom three, but a run of three wins in a row means that they go into 2016 three points clear of the drop zone. The first of those three victories was a 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a game which Howe described as the greatest in the club’s history. Fellow big boys Manchester United were next to be historically beaten, as former Red Devil Josh King netted the winner in a 2-1 victory. The Cherries then beat West Brom by the same scoreline before picking up a respectable point against high-flying Crystal Palace. They may have ended the month with a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, but losing to the league leaders shouldn’t be looked upon with disgrace. It was a month which capped off the year brilliantly for 38 year old Howe, who earnt promotion to the top flight in April for the first time in Bournemouth’s history.

2nd – Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)

3rd – Mark Hughes (Stoke City)

Note: Again, I think this month was the toughest manager of the month decision I have had to make since I started these Premier League reviews as there were so many worthy bosses!

Goal of the Month

Cuco Martina vs Arsenal

2nd – Xherdan Shaqiri (second) vs Everton

3rd – Chung-Yong Lee vs Stoke City

Game of the Month

Everton 3-4 Stoke City

_87405503_shaqiriscores

Xherdan Shaqiri scored one of the goals of the season as Stoke earned a thrilling win at Everton through Marko Arnautovic’s injury-time penalty. The Potters led through Shaqiri early on and after Romelu Lukaku levelled from eight yards, the Swiss looped a stunning half-volley over Tim Howard. Lukaku struck again after the break and Gerard Deulofeu tapped Everton ahead. But Joselu volleyed his first Premier League goal and Arnautovic won it after being brought down by John Stones in the box. Read the full BBC report here.

2nd – Southampton 4-0 Arsenal

Read the full report here.

3rd – Watford 3-0 Liverpool

Read the full report here.

Managerial Departures

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
  • Garry Monk sacked by Swansea City (09/12) – yet to be replaced (Alan Curtis is the temporary manager going into January)
  • Jose Mourinho left Chelsea by mutual consent (17/12) – Guus Hiddink appointed manager until the end of the season on 19th December

Games To Look Forward To In January

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/LAURENCE GRIFFITHS
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/LAURENCE GRIFFITHS
  • Sunderland vs Aston Villa (02/01)
  • Liverpool vs Arsenal (13/01)
  • Liverpool vs Manchester United (17/01)
  • Arsenal vs Chelsea (24/01)
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