Win over Sheffield leaves Everton just 2 behind leaders Liverpool

Sports Desk, Dec 26 (efe-epa).- Gylfi Sigurdsson’s goal in the 80th minute was enough for Everton to beat hosts Sheffield United 1-0 on Saturday and climb to second place in the Premier League, just 2 points behind Merseyside rivals Liverpool.

Abdoulaye Doucoure exploited Sheffield’s only major defensive lapse, getting the ball to the Icelander for an easy goal against keeper Aaron Ramsdale, who turned in another stalwart performance for a team that has the worst record through the first 15 matches of the season in the history of the English top-flight.

Still without the injured James Rodriguez, the Toffies posted a fourth successive victory to amass 29 points and push Leicester City down to third place.

Winless Sheffield remain bottom of the league with 2 points.

Manchester City moved up to the fifth spot with a comfortable 2-0 triumph over visiting Newcastle United.

The Magpies were missing Allen Saint-Maximin and Jamaal Lascelles, both recovering from Covid-19, while City’s Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker had to be excluded after testing positive for the virus.

The home side had 76 percent possession and outshot Newcastle 6-2 and only a lack of precision in the final third stopped them from winning by a bigger margin.

Ilkay Gündogan opened the scoring in the 14th minute with an assist from Raheem Sterling. The 2-0 came 10 minutes into the second half courtesy of Ferran Adria, who sent the ball into the bottom corner after a botched clearance by the Newcastle back line.

Twelfth-place Newcastle have only a point to show from their last three matches.

Arsenal, traditionally one of the “big clubs” in the Premier League, started Saturday in 15th after a disastrous run, but a derby on Boxing Day against Chelsea turned out to be just the tonic coach Mikel Arteta was seeking.

The Gunners prevailed 3-1 to return to the win column for the first time since Nov. 1.

Playing with the ball most of the time, the Blues failed to trouble Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno and fell behind in the 34th minute when Alexander Lacazette converted a penalty after Reece Jones brought down Kieran Tierney in the box.

With a minute left in first-half regulation, N’Golo Kante fouled Bukayo Saka on the edge of the area and Granit Xhaka delivered a magnificent free kick to put the Gunners up 2-0.

Saka made it 3-0 in the 56th minute off a pass from youngster Emile Smith Rowe.

Chelsea had yet to put a shot on target in the 85th minute when Tammy Abraham used his chest to nudge Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross past Leno.

The flag was up, but a VAR review showed Abraham was onside and the goal stood.

The Blues got a chance to narrow the deficit to one when Arsenal’s Pablo Mari tripped Mason Mount in the area and the referee pointed to the spot.

Jorginho’s effort was poor and Leno stopped it to secure all 3 point for the Gunners, who edged up to 14th on 17 points. Chelsea’s third straight away defeat dropped them to seventh.

A late own goal saw Leicester City bag a point against Manchester United in the Boxing Day opener.

It looked like the goal would be credited to Foxes top scorer Jamie Vardy, but a subsequent review by league officials concluded that it was an own goal from United defender Axel Tuanzebe.

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