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Biggest EPL Winners and Losers from Matchday 12, 2020
League leaders Tottenham and Liverpool both dropped points on Matchday 12, while chasers Leicester, Southampton, West Ham, and Everton all won.
Chelsea suffered just their second defeat of the season on Saturday before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s own goal saw struggling Arsenal lose to Burnley on Sunday.
A late Anwar El Ghazi penalty helped Aston Villa claim the West Midlands bragging rights against Wolves, although the Manchester Derby failed to live up to the hype.
Here are the biggest EPL winners and losers from Matchday 12 of the 2020/21 Premier League season.
Winner: West Ham
What has happened to West Ham this season?
Last term, the Hammers avoided relegation by five points. As things stand, they find themselves five points behind frontrunners Tottenham and Liverpool.
The Londoners went behind to an early Mateusz Klich penalty against Leeds on Friday, but Tomas Soucek’s towering header saw David Moyes’ side equalize midway through the first half.
West Ham faced a barrage of attacks from Marcelo Bielsa’s men, yet Angelo Ogbonna popped up with the winning goal on 80 minutes, leaving the club sixth in the table.
I believe Moyes must be given huge credit for West Ham’s impressive start to the campaign. His team has now won four of their last five EPL outings, while four teams in the league have won more games this term.
The Hammers have gone from relegation strugglers to European challengers in a matter of months.
Loser: The Manchester Derby
I remember when the Manchester Derby was exciting.
From United’s dramatic 4-3 win in 2009 to City’s 6-1 thrashing in 2011, the two rivals have created countless classic encounters over the years.
However, Saturday’s goalless draw was arguably one of the dullest Premier League games so far this season.
There was a time when neither Manchester club would be happy with a draw. During the Alex Furgeson era, both sides gave everything they had to win. But it felt like both teams were afraid to lose this time around.
There were only four shots on target at Old Trafford on Matchday 12, with both sides lacking a cutting edge in attack. Let’s hope the cross-city rivals produce something better in the reverse fixture.
Winner: James Maddison
It is no secret that 2020 has been a difficult year for James Maddison. Throughout 2019, the midfielder was one of the EPL’s standout performers, yet he has struggled to find his best form in recent times.
But Maddison reminded everyone of his undoubted ability with a stellar solo display against Brighton on Sunday.
The 24-year-old gave Leicester the lead with a somewhat fortunate deflected shot on 27 minutes, but there was definitely nothing fortunate about his second goal.
After Jamie Vardy had made it 2-0, Maddison produced a moment of individual brilliance, bamboozling Seagulls defender Dan Burn with a series of step-overs before curling a left-footed strike into the top corner of Matt Ryan’s net.
If Maddison can continue to shine on a weekly basis, the Foxes will almost certainly keep themselves in the title race.
Loser: Granit Xhaka
I’m sure the Gunners would have viewed Sunday’s home match against Burnley as the ideal opportunity to get their season back on track. Mikel Arteta’s men have made a dreadful start to the campaign, yet the Clarets have also struggled.
But Granit Xhaka pretty much singlehandedly ruined his side’s chances of getting anything from the game.
The teams went into the break with the score at 0-0. Ten minutes into the second half, Xhaka was shown a straight red card for grabbing Ashley Westwood by the throat!
Are Arsenal really in a relegation fight?— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 14, 2020
We all know that Xhaka’s relationship with the Arsenal supporters isn’t great, but it will surely be even worse now. This isn’t the first time that the fiery midfielder has let his team down, and it probably won’t be the last.
The Gunners went on to lose the game 1-0. More on that later.
Southampton put in another dominant display on Matchday 12, extending their run to seven wins in ten EPL matches with a 3-0 victory over Sheffield United.
Of course, the Blades are rock bottom of the league. But the manner with which the Saints brushed them aside was hugely impressive.
Goals from Che Adams, Stuart Armstrong, and Nathan Redmond saw Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men claim a comfortable 3-0 victory. Southampton finished the game with 69% possession and 16 shots, while Sheff Utd failed to register a single attempt on target.
The south coast side currently sits fourth the table – one point shy of third-place Leicester and two points behind Liverpool and Spurs.
With Danny Ings back from injury and James Ward-Prowse continuing to shine, the Saints must be viewed as a top-six contender.
Loser: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Sorry, Arsenal supporters. You know your team has had a bad weekend when two of your players make it into the “loser” section of this post.
Following five games without a goal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finally hit the net on Sunday. Unfortunately, the struggling forward hit the wrong net.
Less than 20 minutes after Xhaka was sent off, Aubameyang headed in an own goal from a Burnley corner.
The Gabon international has only scored twice in 12 Premier League appearances this term, with many believing that his dip in form is largely to blame for the Gunners’ woeful start to the season.
Aubameyang is clearly low on confidence at the moment. Needless to say, an own goal isn’t going to make him feel any better about his recent performances.
Winner: Vicente Guaita
It could be argued that Vicente Guaita was at fault for Tottenham’s goal at Selhurst Park. Harry Kane hit a relatively tame long-range shot at the Crystal Palace goalkeeper, yet he was unable to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
However, there is no denying that Guaita was the Eagles’ Man of the Match by the time the final whistle blew on Sunday.
Following his mistake, the Spanish shot-stopper made a series of world-class saves to deny Spurs. He kept out Kane from point-blank range before producing a flying stop to prevent Eric Dier from scoring a free-kick.
Jeffrey Schlupp equalized on 81 minutes to earn Palace a point against the league leaders, but this game will always be remembered for Guaita’s heroics.
Don’t get me wrong – Fulham deserve massive praise for their efforts on Matchday 12. Scott Parker’s men battled extremely hard to draw with Liverpool, but Sunday’s match ultimately felt like a missed opportunity for the defending EPL champions.
The Reds went behind to a scorching strike from Bobby Reid midway through the first half. Fulham was then bombarded with waves of attacks from Jurgen Klopp’s side, before finally conceding to a Mohamed Salah penalty on 79 minutes.
Liverpool racked up 12 shots, six of which were on target. The Merseysiders also finished the game with a whopping 76% possession, yet they were unable to come away with all three points.
Klopp was visibly angry with his team’s performance. The German was screaming at his players on the touchline, but the Reds just weren’t at their best at Craven Cottage.
Liverpool remains level with Tottenham on 25 points at the top of table. Still, Klopp’s men will feel that they should be two points ahead of Spurs.
After missing last weekend’s match against Aston Villa due to coronavirus issues, Newcastle bounced back with a 2-1 victory over West Brom on Saturday, despite missing a number of key players.
Remarkably, the Blades STILL have just one point to their name this season. Sheff Utd’s loss to Southampton means Chris Wilder’s side remains five points adrift at the bottom.
With just five points separating the top eight teams in the table, it feels like we are set for one of the closest title races in EPL history.
There is a full round of Premier League fixtures in midweek, meaning I will be looking at the biggest winners and losers from Matchday 13 on Friday.
You can find free betting tips and predictions for all the top midweek games in our EPL picks section.