All 20 teams played on the first day of the new year. Chelsea suffered a 5-3 drubbing at the hands of London rivals, while Manchester City grinded out a 3-2 win against Sunderland at the Etihad. The results sees the two teams tied at the top of the table, having equal points and goal difference, with Chelsea leading the charge thanks to alphabetical advantage alone.
We take a look at the best combined XI of the games commenced on Thursday :
Goalkeeper : Hugo Lloris
While the 5-3 scoreline might reflect a poor performances from the two men at the either side between the sticks, Hugo Lloris was hardly at fault for any of Chelsea’s three goals. Infact it was the France captain who prevented leaking further goals, helping his side to a much important win. A brilliant save off Cesar Azpilicueta at the death capped off a wonderful outing for the former Lyon man.
Right-back : Ahmed Elmohamady
Marauded forward with ease everytime he had the opportunity, and was adept at defending too. Opened the scoring for The Tigers with a header, intelligently losing his marker in Leighton Baines.
Sturdy at the back and sniffing out every possible danger, Southampton captain José Fonte led his side from the front. The Saints maintained their surge for a Champions League spot with a 2-0 victory against Arsenal.
Another captain who had an outing worth remembering was Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross. Playing against his former side in Manchester United, the Englishman marshaled The Potters’ defence, and also opening the scoring just in the second minute, with the game ending 1-1.
Left-back : Erik Pieters
Dutchman Pieters was also a vital cog in Stoke’s defence, as the former PSV man thwarted the likes of Ashley Young on the left hand side.
Central midfield :
After a relatively poor start to the season, Yaya Toure has slowly started to hit his peak again. The Ivorian scored his sides’ first goal with a 25 yard belter, and looked dangerous in possession with his direct running.
England U-21 international James Ward-Prowse has been a revelation since returning from injury for his side. The 20-year old put in a stellar performance at the heart of The Saints’ midfield alongside Victor Wanyama and Steven Davis. Sent Sadio Mané through on goal, which the Senegalese calmly chipped over the onrushing Szczesny
Attacking midfield :
Newcastle’s best player on the field, the former Toulouse man looked to have sealed all three points for the Toons, only for a late George Boyd equalizer to ruin their party.
One man who didn’t deserve to lose against Spurs was Eden Hazard. Busy throughout the match causing the defense all sorts of problems with his direct running and trickery, the Chelsea no. 10 was at his best against their London rivals. Scored one himself and laid off one for Diego Costa’s opener.
Its been an eventful festive period for Southampton’s Sadio Mané, who scored his third in as many games. Delightfully chipped Arsenal goalkeeper Szczesny to give his side the lead, but was unfortunately injured in the process.
The headline maker on the new year’s day, Harry Kane put in a performance which could arguably be the best of his career. Instrumental in the 5-3 demolition of Chelsea, the England U-21 man was involved in as many as four Spurs goals. The former Norwich loanee scored two brilliantly taken goals, was fouled in the box, with the resulting spot kick converted by Andros Townsend, and laid one for Nacer Chadli
Image Courtesy : SKY SPORTS