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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.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.