Arsenal stay hot, hammer Bournemouth (video)

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  • Arsenal stay fourth
  • Ozil, Mkhitaryan score, grab assists
  • Bournemouth lose fourth-straight away game

Arsenal smashed Bournemouth 5-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, as the Gunners were dominant from start to finish.

Mesut Ozil started the scoring, then set Henrikh Mkhitaryan up to make it 2-0. After Lys Mousset made it 2-1 in the first half, Laurent Koscielny scored early in the second half to make it 3-1 and late goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette put some extra gloss on the scoreline.

With the win Arsenal remain fourth on 56 points, while Bournemouth sit in 12th on 34 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Gunners took an early lead after dominating the play, as Ozil was played in free on the left side of the box and dinked a lovely finish over Artur Boruc to make it 1-0.

Arsenal kept pouring forward early on but Bournemouth had a rare chance as Josh King headed just over.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Bournemouth had an ever better chance moments later as Josh King played in Ryan Fraser by Bernd Leno saved well. Arsenal doubled their lead before the break as a slick passing move ripped open Bournemouth’s defense and Ozil was on hand to tee up Mkhitaryan to slot home.

But soon after Bournemouth halved the deficit as Arsenal played around with the ball at the back and Matteo Guendouzi ran into Dan Gosling. He played it to Mousset who stroked home to make it 2-1.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

At the start of the second half Arsenal sealed the victory with Mkhitaryan free on the inside right channel, then pulling the ball back for Koscielny to slot home and make it 3-1.

Arsenal turned on the tricks and flicks in the closing stages as Ozil hit the post as Boruc made a fine stop, and Emery’s men eased to victory with Bournemouth in damage limitation mode.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The Cherries did hit the bar from distance through Dan Gosling, but moments later Arsenal scored their fourth. Mkhitaryan played in Aubameyang who rounded Boruc and finished with ease.

Lacazette scored a fifth late on from a free kick to rub salt into Bournemouth’s wounds, as the Gunners turned on the style to keep their place in the top four.

Liverpool back on track with Bournemouth blowout (video)

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  • Reds dominant in return to win column
  • Wijnaldum scores beauty (video)
  • Liverpool puts nine shots on target

Liverpool hammered Bournemouth for the fourth-straight time, scoring a 3-0 defeat to go back ahead of Manchester City on the Premier League table on Saturday at Anfield.

Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Mohamed Salah scored in the win, as all four matches have finished 3-0 or 4-0.

Liverpool and Man City are currently even in matches played, with City playing tomorrow.

Bournemouth sits 11th with 33 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Mane has been performing well in Liverpool’s lull, and made it 1-0 when he darted in front of Dan Gosling to put a header inside of the near post.

The goal made Anfield explode, a week of title consternation eased by the stadium’s heroes.

Wiljnaldum spun a classy chip over the top of Boruc to make it 2-0, an exquisite bit of work.

Mohamed Salah nearly put the match out of reach in the 45th minute, an inventive half volley nearly dipping over Boruc.

He would end it early in the second, with Roberto Firmino backheeling a Naby Keita set-up to Salah for a left-footed finish inside the 18.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

PL Sunday preview: Litmus test time for Spurs, Man United

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures will see a pair of top-four hopefuls do battle head-to-head, as Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.

[ MORE: What we learned in the Premier League, Week 22 ]

Everton v. Bournemouth — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

With just one win in their last eight PL outings, Everton will be hoping that their narrow victory over League Two side Lincoln City in the FA Cup last weekend will help to right the ship once back in league play. Marco Silva‘s fingers crossed it does the trick after slipping to 11th in the league table.

“Winning matches is the best way to win confidence and to start playing at our best level,” he said this week. “The best way to show (our quality) is by the results and the wins. We achieved the main thing against Lincoln and we have to work strongly again to achieve a good result in the next match.”

INJURIES: Everton — OUT: None | Bournemouth — OUT: Lewis Cook (knee), Simon Francis (knee), Adam Smith (knee), Dan Gosling (knee), Dominic Solanke (hamstring)


Tottenham Hotspur v. Man United — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Sunday’s showdown at Wembley will serve as a litmus test for both Tottenham and Man United, as well as their respective managers. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will put his unblemished record as United boss on the line against Mauricio Pochettino, who might just replace him at Old Trafford in the summer.

With all due respect to the likes of Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town, third-place Spurs will pose a challenge Solskjaer’s side has not yet seen since Jose Mourinho was fired following a humbling defeat to Liverpool last month. United didn’t fare so well the first time these sides met this season, as the Red Devils suffered a thoroughly embarrassing 3-0 defeat that home in August. While Solskjaer has restored the attacking intent at United, he will be without a number of key defensive figures on Sunday, with Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian all reportedly unavailable or left out of the squad.

Along the same lines, Spurs are enjoying their best run of results all season, despite experiencing a rash of injuries — particularly to the midfield, where Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko have, somehow, become an irreplaceable duo. Finally, Eric Dier (appendectomy) is expected to return, as is defender Jan Vertonghen (thigh), thus affording Pochettino a majority of first-choice midfield and defensive options. Son Heung-min, who has amassed seven goals and five assists in his last seven games (all competitions), will play on Sunday before departing to join up with South Korea at the Asian Cup. It was agreed between the two side that Son remain with his club until after the game against United, missing the first two group games in the process.

INJURIES: Tottenham —  OUT: Mousa Dembele (ankle), Victor Wanyama (knee) | Man United — OUT: Eric Bailly (suspension), Chris Smalling (foot), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed)

Bournemouth, Watford draw in six-goal thriller

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  • 5 goals scored in 13 first half minutes
  • Bournemouth fight back from 2-0 down
  • No win in three for Watford, Bournemouth

Bournemouth and Watford drew 3-3 at the Vitality Stadium Wednesday, as the Cherries and Hornets shared six goals in an incredible first half.

Watford went 2-0 up as Troy Deeney scored twice, but Bournemouth then scored twice through Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson to make it 2-2. Soon after Ken Sema put Watford 3-2 up, but then Ryan Fraser made it 3-3 with five goals scored in just 12 first half minutes.

The second half saw both teams have chances to win it, but a draw was a fair result in an entertaining encounter. With the point Bournemouth are in 12th on 27 points, while Watford climb to eighth on 29 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Jefferson Lerma lashed a shot over from the edge of the box as Bournemouth started well, but Watford were soon ahead. Abdoulaye Doucoure surged forward from midfield and found Sema on the right. His cross was attacked by Deeney who sent a header into the net.

David Brooks then went close to an equalizer as Junior Stanislas and Callum Wilson combined to set him up, but Ben Foster kept out Brooks.

Watford then went 2-0 up as Dan Gosling gave it away to Gerard Deulofeu and the Spaniard then went on a rampaging 40-yard run. Eventually the ball found its way to Deeney who slotted home his and Watford’s second of the game.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Doucoure then curled a shot inches over as the Hornets dominated, but Bournemouth pulled two goals back quickly. Steve Cook‘s header across goal was headed on target by Gosling and despite Foster saving, Ake was on hand to make it 2-1. Game on.

Then Wilson nodded home another set piece to make it 2-2. But there was time for another few goals before half time, as Sema drilled in a low shot for his first PL goal to make it 3-2. But moments later Stanislas squared for Fraser to slot home and make it 3-3.

Josh King almost made it 4-3 right on half time but headed wide, as both teams looked like scoring every time they went forward. Amongst all of that Doucoure should have been sent off for lunging in on Fraser as Watford were lucky to keep 10 men on the pitch.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

In the second half the scoring inevitably slowed down, but Wilson almost scored from another set piece.

A long free kick into the box found the Bournemouth striker and his powerful head was right at Foster who acrobatically pushed the ball over.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Foster then denied King brilliantly as Bournemouth pushed hard for the winner, and at the other end Cook lunged in for a wonderful last-ditch tackle as Roberto Pereyra was in on goal.

Deulofeu then curled just wide as Watford cranked up the pressure late on, as Tom Cleverely wanted a penalty kick after his the ball was handled by Ake in the box but nothing was given.

The game ended 3-3 after a thrilling first half blitz.

PL Sunday preview: Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd all in action

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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Sunday sees four final fixtures, featuring top-four hopefuls Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, to round out the 2018 calendar year in the Premier League…

[ MORE: Liverpool go nine points clear with dismantling of Arsenal ] 

Crystal Palace v. Chelsea — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

With one giant slaying already to their name in the last week, Crystal Palace now turn their attention to Sunday’s visit from Chelsea. Following their unlikely upset of Manchester City a week ago, the Eagles suffered an abrupt come-down in the form of a 0-0 draw with Cardiff City on Wednesday. Despite taking 32 shots, just five were on target and not a single one found the back of the net — an all too familiar tale for a side with just 17 goals scored this season (third-fewest in the PL).

Chelsea themselves were on the wrong side of a giant slaying of significantly lesser proportions last weekend when Leicester City turned the Blues over. It’s been relatively tough sledding for Chelsea of late, as they’ve lost three of their last seven league games after going unbeaten in the season’s first dozen.

INJURIES: Crystal Palace — OUT: Christian Benteke (knee), Martin Kelly (groin) | Chelsea — OUT: None


Southampton v. Man City — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The math is simple for Man City these days: nothing short of a victory — followed by another victory, and another victory, and lots more victories — will do, if they are to stay in the title race with current leaders Liverpool. Heading into Sunday’s trip to St. Mary’s Stadium, the defending champions trail the runaway Reds by 10 points. With defeats in three of their last four games, Pep Guardiola‘s side is reeling and needs not only a victory, but a resounding response and performance, to re-establish themselves and set the table for a chase-down in the second half of the campaign.

Southampton, on the other hand, have largely enjoyed the busy festive period thus far as they won back-to-back games last week and climbed out of the relegation zone, where they remain with a game in hand.

INJURIES: Southampton — OUT: None | Man City — OUT: Benjamin Mendy (knee), Fernandinho (thigh), Fabian Delph (suspension), Claudio Bravo (achilles)


Burnley vs. West Ham — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Speaking of the relegation zone, that’s where Burnley begin their second half of the 2018-19 season — in 19th place following Fulham’s victory on Saturday. With just one victory in their last 12 games — and just two draws during that period — it’s been a dire three months for Sean Dyche‘s relegation-threatened side.

Unfortunately for the Clarets, West Ham head into Turf Moor riding a wave of optimism and point — five wins in their last six games have seen them climb all the way to 11th place in the table. Another win on Sunday would see them go seventh. Felipe Anderson has been the danger man of late and has begun to repay a hefty chunk of the $48 million spent to bring him to the London Stadium this summer with seven goals in his last eight games.

INJURIES: Burnley — OUT: Aaron Lennon (knee), Stephen Ward (knee), Steven Defour (knee),  | West Ham — OUT: Marko Arnautovic (hamstring), Manuel Lanzini (knee), Winston Reid (knee), Andriy Yarmolenko (achilles), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Ryan Fredericks (ankle)


Man United vs. Bournemouth — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

As for clubs enjoying better days following a poor start to the season, no one has done a sharper U-turn than Man United. Since firing Jose Mourinho and installing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as interim manager nearly two weeks ago, the Red Devils have won both games they’ve played, victories over Cardiff and Huddersfield Town, by a combined score of 8-2. Paul Pogba, more than anyone else, is enjoying his new lease on life and turning in the type of performances expected of a former world-record signing.

As for Bournemouth, the Cherries’ season has largely moved in reverse of United’s, as their strong start has been undone by recent struggles (seven losses in their last nine games). Losing captain Simon Francis to a torn ACL — just weeks after midfielder Lewis Cook to the same injury — has left Bournemouth thin at the back and on the leadership front. Manager Eddie Howe has made no attempts at downplaying the loss.

“He’s been our leader on the pitch and a role model and a big miss in the dressing room. As a team it’s a big loss and a big gap to fill. He didn’t deserve that, but it’s happened and now we’ll do our best to support him through this process.”

INJURIES: Man United — QUESTIONABLE: Alexis Sanchez (hamstring), Chris Smalling (foot) | Bournemouth — OUT: Lewis Cook (knee), Simon Francis (knee), Adam Smith (knee), Dan Gosling (knee)