Premier League Roundup: Spurs, Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea win big on New Year’s Day

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Is there anything better than seeing in 2014 with a full slate of Premier League games?

If there is, I can’t think of it…

On New Year’s Day there were 10 PL games on the docket, with huge wins for Tottenham away at Manchester United, Chelsea away at Southampton, Man City at Swansea and a last gasp win for Arsenal over Cardiff leading the way.

With some big relegation scraps thrown into the mix too, it was certainly a day to remember.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Now we have a break in PL action for 11 days, after a hectic period that’s seen 40 games played in just 12 days over the festive period. But before you take a rest from all of the action, here’s a recap of the 10 dramatic games that took place on the opening day of 2014.

Wrapped nicely for you to unravel are all the recaps, news and video highlights from the opening

Arsenal 2-0 Cardiff City

It took 88 minutes for the breakthrough at Emirates, but when it came the stadium erupted. Nicklas Bendtner struck to break Cardiff’s hearts and keep Arsenal top of the table, while Theo Walcott added another in stoppage time to seal a late win for the Gunners.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Norwich City

The Eagles fought back to grab a point at Selhurst Park, after Norwich went ahead through Bradley Johnson’s cool finish. Right on the stroke of half time Jason Puncheon scored a penalty for Crystal Palace as Tony Pulis’ men were handed a lifeline. Leroy Fer was sent off in the second half as Palace pushed for a winner, but the Canaries hung on.

Fulham 2-1 West Ham

A rambunctious London derby played out at Craven Cottage as the home side took all three points thanks to goals from Steven Sidwell and Dimtar Berbatov, after Mohamed Diame had given West Ham an early lead. Kevin Nolan’s sending off changed the game, as the Hammers skipper saw red for a petulant kick out.

Liverpool 2-0 Hull City

Another week, another home win for Liverpool, as the Reds created plenty of chances and could’ve beaten Hull more convincingly. Daniel Agger headed home superbly, then Luis Suarez curled in a wonderful free kick after half time to make it 2-0. Steven Gerrard returned for Liverpool late on, as Hull didn’t have a shot on target.

Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

A massive win for Tottenham’s new boss Tim Sherwood, as Spurs won for the second-straight season at Old Trafford. Emmanuel Adebayor put them 1-0 up in the first half with a great header, before Christian Eriksen made it 2-0 with another header midway through the second half. Danny Welbeck struck back almost instantly too make it 2-1, but Spurs held on for a landmark victory.

Southampton 0-3 Chelsea

The Saints held Chelsea back until the 59th minute… then Jose Mourinho’s men turned on the style as Fernando Torres headed them in front. Substitutes Willian and Oscar both grabbed late goals to add gloss to the scoreline, as Chelsea remain in the title hunt. What a tremendous squad Mourinho has, does he need to add players in January? The ‘Special One’ doesn’t think so.

Stoke City 1-1 Everton

Stoke went ahead through Ossama Assaidi’s goal just after half time but they were pegged back right at the end of the match, as Jermaine Pennant was adjudged to have tripped Leon Osman. Leighton Baines stepped up to slot the penalty home in stoppage time, to grab the Toffees a late point but Roberto Martinez wasn’t happy.

Sunderland 0-1 Aston Villa

Villa sealed a massive victory on the road thanks to Gabriel Agbonlahor’s early strike at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland tried everything they could to get back into the game, but the defeat was a damaging one for the Black Cats as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Swansea 2-3 Manchester City

A great clash at the Liberty Stadium as City went 1-0 up thanks to Fernandinho’s opener but Wilfred Bony equalized before the break. City then went 3-1 up as Yaya Toure and Kolarov scored before Bony grabbed a late goal to make it seem closer than it actually was. City recorded back-to-back wins away from home for the first time this season.

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Newcastle

The Magpies came unstuck down at the Hawthorns, as managerless West Brom bagged a crucial victory with Saido Berhaino’s spot kick giving them all three points. Mathieu Debuchy was sent off with 30 minutes to go for Newcastle, as West Brom stretched their unbeaten run to four games.

Brighton nabs club record signing Jurgen Locadia

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Brighton & Hove Albion have secured a new striker for the stretch run of the Premier League season, signing Jurgen Locadia from PSV Eindhoven for a club record fee.

Locadia cost Brighton $19.3 million, breaking their old transfer record, set just last August when they brought Jose Izqueirdo from Club Brugge, by about $500,000.

The 24-year-old Dutchman has nine goals and six assists this season in 15 Eredivisie appearances for PSV, although he’s missed their last three games reportedly with a hamstring injury. He scored four goals in one game against FC Utretcht back in late September.

“We are delighted to have signed Jurgen, and pleased to welcome him to the club,” said Brighton manager Chris Hughton in the official club release. “He is a player we have been aware of for sometime, and it’s been no secret we have wanted to add a striker of his type. He is a strong, powerful and quick center-forward, with a real eye for goal and will increase our attacking options in the second half of the season.”

Locadia made his Eredivisie debut with PSV in style back in 2012, scoring a hat-trick against VVV Venlo in a 6-0 win. He would go on to score a career-high 13 goals in his first full season in 2013/14, eventually racking up 62 goals for PSV across all competitions in 176 appearances.

A PSV youth product, Locadia has been in the national team picture, riding the bench for a pair of World Cup qualifiers in October, but has not received a cap for the Netherlands. He was in the national youth setup as well, making appearances for the U-17 and U-21 sides.

Jupp Heynckes calls Aubameyang, Dembele behavior “unacceptable”

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Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes has labeled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s and Ousmane Dembele’s behavior at rival club Borussia Dortmund “unacceptable” and suggested such players would not be signed by Bayern Munich.

“It’s unacceptable how certain players act in professional football,” Heynckes said speaking to the media ahead of Bayern’s on Sunday against Werder Bremen. “It’s just not right. These situations have always happened, but now they have reached a whole new dimension.”

Aubameyang has not yet left Borussia Dortmund, but reports all over Europe suggest he is pressing the club to leave, with Arsenal linked, as well as a move to China. The Gabonese international has been suspended by the club for missing meetings and training, and reports say he has handed in a transfer request.

Dembele left for Barcelona back in the summer, and was similarly suspended for missing training in hopes of forcing a move. The 20-year-old later admitted that he intentionally missed training with the intent of pushing the club to sell him.

“The Dembele and Aubameyang situations have to be viewed in a critical light,” Heynckes added, also hitting out at former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who the Reds insist they did everything in their power to convince him to stay before he ultimately left for Barcelona. “I am very critical of this because players are very privileged. The Coutinho transfer was similar but solved more elegantly.”

The 72-year-old, in his fourth stint as Bayern Munich manager, said he would not sign these players if up to him, and suggested that Bayern Munich has a higher standard.

“Ethics and morals form part of our job and we have to look at the bigger picture and what’s happening in society. You have to consider how difficult it is for others to earn their monthly income. Clubs signing these players have to expect that this behavior will continue at their club. I don’t want to speak of solidarity, but it’s a team sport where you cannot afford to set your own individual targets. Clubs should think twice about signing these players. Honestly, I would reject it.”

Heynckes said that clubs shouldn’t take a hard stance with a player, instead hoping to placate them with a softer touch.

“Banishing the player to the stands is not the way,” Heynckes said. “You have to work at it, communicate and care for the player. You need a clear direction and I think we have that at Bayern Munich.”

Van Persie moves back to hometown club Feyenoord

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Former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie has signed with his boyhood club Feyenoord after being released from his contract at Fenerbahce, the Dutch club confirmed.

The 34-year-old has only made two league appearances this season due to a knee injury, and since returning to full health in early December, he has been left out of the squad. Van Persie’s switch is a free transfer after his Turkish club allowed him to terminate his contract. It was reported back in November that the Dutchman was no longer wanted at Fenerbahce and that they would let him rot on the bench if he did not find a way out himself.

[ MORE: Friday Transfer Rumor Roundup ]

“Nothing stands in the way of a return of the 102-cap international to De Kuip,” Feyenoord wrote in an official statement, “now that he has come to an agreement with his current club Fenerbahce about the dissolution of his contract. The club and the player have reached an agreement regarding personal terms and related details for the move.”

A Rotterdam native, van Persie began his career in Feyenoord’s youth academy and made his first club appearance off the bench in a February, 2001 Eredivisie match against Roda JC. His first professional start, a KNVB-Bekker match against AGOVV Apeldoorn, saw him score an incredible five goals in a 6-1 win. Van Persie would go on to score 21 goals in 76 matches across all competitions for the club before moving to Arsenal in the summer of 2004, where he would spend the next eight seasons, arriving just after the Invincibles season and leaving in 2012 after 131 goals for the Gunners.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chelsea still pursuing Roma duo, and more

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Chelsea is looking to make a big transfer splash as it searches for potential replacements for Michy Batshuayi and David Luiz.

According to multiple reports, Chelsea is attempting a double signing from AS Roma, forward Edin Dzeko and midfielder Emerson Palmieri. The Brazilian left-back is rated by Roma at $30.5 million but he could join Chelsea on loan. However the interest in Dzeko is much newer, and it’s unclear whether Roma would allow Dzeko to leave, especially in the middle of the season.

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With Roma preparing to face Inter Milan this weekend, talks between the two clubs have been put on hold until next week.

Dzeko’s agent confirmed that Conte is interested in the Bosnia and Herzegovina international but stated Dzeko’s desire is to remain at Roma.

After failing to beat out Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup for Manchester City, it would be interesting to see Dzeko give the Premier League another go, although he’d likely play second-fiddle again, this time to Alvaro Morata.

Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe and the Premier League:

(more…)