Premier League MANual - 19th December

Aside from tonight's Merseyside derby, the final round of fixtures before Christmas are over and done with after a weekend of routine results. With Arsenal faltering against the big guns, City moved up to second and Spurs came creeping up behind. Another Noble penalty saw West Ham climb a little higher and the Swans will be the unlucky team to sit bottom at Christmas. A mixed bag for strikers this weekend saw Ibra hitting a double and Costa continuing to bang them in, but last seasons best two, Kane & Vardy, both drew blanks against teams they should have buried. 

5. Vardy Goes From Hero to Zero

What a week for Jamie Vardy. Having seemingly rediscovered his form during last weekend's hammering of City, the Leicester frontman got himself a deserved red card at the weekend. Whilst he’s always been a little bit on the feisty side, he’s better known for his goalscoring than his suspensions. A strong two-footed challenge in the 28th minute left little to be desired and Vardy got his marching orders.

4. Zlatan Attack

Aside from a rather short stay in Barcelona, Ibra has done it at every club he’s been at so why would it have been any different at Manchester United? After Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard heaped praise on a rival, Zlatan came back with another double to take his tally to 11 for the Red Devils. He puts the fear into the opposition like every good striker should, but having seen Lingard’s reaction on Saturday it’s safe to say he frightens his teammates too.

3. Sunderland’s Great Escape

Sunderland are back at it again. Each and every year they somehow manage to start picking important results up. Three points against Watford will send them to Old Trafford with a bit of confidence and if Moyes can get a result against his old side, the fight is well and truly on. It’s beginning to be a relegation story so common that we’re not even convinced that they should be favourites anymore. Take a bow, David Moyes.

2. Burnley’s Away Day Blues Continue

What is it about this East Lancashire club that makes them unable to get a result away from home? Another trip to the capital saw them lose again and taking only one point on the road this season does not look promising. They couldn’t even beat Accrington Stanley in the cup. The Burnley fans will be counting their blessings that they have the fortress that is Turf Moor.

1. Missing: Mesut Ozil

Arsenal have been in fine form so far this season, and having gone ahead through a fifth minute goal from Theo Walcott they looked to have taken it to their title rivals. Fast forward to the 90th minute and the game told a different story. Again Arsenal wilted against a bigger team, but what will be most worrying for the Gooners is how Magic Mesut went missing for the duration. Have you seen him? Alexis is pretty worried.