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PL braced for three-horse race

Premier League action comes thick and fast this month with the halfway mark of the 2021/22 season quickly approaching. Chelsea, Liverpool & Manchester City are a class above the rest and the trio look set to contest a three-horse race for the coveted league crown.


The English top-flight continues to prove the superior league in club football with three world-class teams battling it out for the Premier League title. All of the last five PL titles have been captured by one of these three clubs and that trend is all but certain to continue for at least another year.


Chelsea were steadily leading the pack until they faltered at their cross town rivals this past weekend, as West Ham ended the Blues’ 12-match unbeaten run across all competitions.


The Hammers came from behind twice to take all 3 points from the European champions, with David Moyes’ boys now having claimed the scalps of Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester and Tottenham all at the London Stadium, and have lost just twice in eight home games this season.

Ahead of a heated London stand-off, Chelsea had conceded 6 goals in 14 league games but went on to let in 3 goals for only the second time under Thomas Tuchel.


Liverpool and Man City capitalised on Chelsea’s hiccup at West Ham, as Jürgen Klopp’s and Pep Guardiola’s charges both leapfrogged the Blues in the table with the fixture list approaching its most congested portion of the campaign.

Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah is in the driver’s seat for both goals (13) and assists (9) in the Premier League, the 29-year-old winger averaging a direct goal contribution every 61 minutes of league action.


The Citizens sit top of the pile on 35 points after 15 games with Liverpool breathing down their necks, trailing the defending champions by a single point. Liverpool have scored a league-high 44 goals – averaging 2,9 goals per game – while Man City and Chelsea have conceded the fewest with 9 goals apiece.


With three of the coveted top four spots reserved, the fight is on for the final berth for Champions League football. West Ham are staking a serious claim for regular European football, currently in 4th place and 2 points ahead of Spurs but have played a game more than Antonio Conte's men.


Man Utd axed Ole Gunnar Solskjær after a run of 1 win in 7 league matches, with United since going four games unbeaten across all competitions after the Norwegian was dismissed.

Michael Carrick stepped in as caretaker manager for 3 games where the Red Devils retrieved a point at Stamford Bridge and took all three at home to Arsenal.

Ralf Rangnick has taken charge on an interim basis until the end of the season, thereafter the 63-year-old will continue in a consultancy role at Old Trafford.


Steven Gerrard has had a sublime start to life as Aston Villa manager with three wins from his first four matches in charge. After a run of five consecutive losses which signified the end of Dean Smith’s tenure, Villa have scored wins over Brighton, Crystal Palace and Leicester – the latter managed by Gerrard’s former boss Brendan Rodgers – and the Villains next visit Gerrard‘s old stomping ground for a vital clash with Liverpool at Anfield.


Arsenal have dipped out of form with three losses in their last four, the latest a defeat at Goodison Park where Everton prevailed despite VAR’s interventions.


At the foot of the table lie Norwich City who have conceded more (31) and scored fewer goals (8) than any other team in the league this term.

Newcastle earned an elusive first win this season as Eddie Howe looks to get the Magpies flying high again after emerging victorious over fellow strugglers Burnley.


Premier League, selected results:

Aston Villa 2-1 Leicester

Aston Villa 1-2 Man City

Chelsea 1-1 Man Utd

Everton 2-1 Arsenal

Everton 1-4 Liverpool

Leicester 0-3 Chelsea

Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal

Man City 3-0 Everton

Man City 2-1 West Ham

Man Utd 3-2 Arsenal

Watford 4-1 Man Utd

West Ham 3-2 Chelsea


Premier League, selected fixtures:

11 Dec - Liverpool vs Aston Villa

15 Dec - Arsenal vs West Ham

16 Dec - Leicester vs Tottenham

19 Dec - Tottenham vs Liverpool

26 Dec - Man City vs Leicester

28 Dec - Leicester vs Liverpool


Premier League standings:

P W L PTS

1. Man City 15 11 2 35

2. Liverpool 15 10 1 34

3. Chelsea 15 10 2 33

4. West Ham 15 8 4 27

5. Tottenham 14 8 5 25

6. Man Utd 15 7 5 24

____________________________

18. Burnley 14 1 6 10

19. Newcastle 15 1 7 10

20. Norwich 15 2 9 10


The FA Cup 3rd Round draw was made on 6 December as holders Leicester City will take on Watford in one of just three all-PL ties, meanwhile runners-up Chelsea entertain fifth-tier Chesterfield.

Liverpool host third-tier team Shrewsbury, whilst Man City travel to fourth-tier Swindon Town. Man Utd welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford.

14-time FA Cup winners Arsenal visit Championship outfit Nottingham Forest.


FA Cup 3rd Round draw, selected fixtures:

(8-9 Jan 2022)


- Chelsea vs Chesterfield

- Leicester vs Watford

- Liverpool vs Shrewsbury

- Man Utd vs Aston Villa

- Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal

- Swindon Town vs Man City

- Tottenham vs Morecambe

- West Ham vs Leeds Utd



The UEFA Champions League group phase wraps up tonight and tomorrow evening, with five spots remaining in the Round of 16.

Barcelona are at risk of missing out on the UCL knockouts for the first time since the 2001/02 season, with La Blaugrana needing to register a win at Bayern Munich on Wednesday if they are to have any chance of progressing from Group E into the last 16.


UCL, selected results: (MD5)

Atlético Madrid 0-1 AC Milan

Chelsea 4-0 Juventus

Liverpool 2-0 Porto

Man City 2-1 PSG

Sporting CP 3-1 Borussia Dortmund

Villarreal 0-2 Man Utd


UCL, selected fixtures: (MD6)

7 Dec - AC Milan vs Liverpool

7 Dec - Ajax vs Sporting CP

7 Dec - Porto vs Atlético Madrid

7 Dec - Real Madrid vs Inter Milan

8 Dec - Atalanta vs Villarreal

8 Dec - Bayern Munich vs Barcelona

8 Dec - Wolfsburg vs Lille



AC Milan narrowly lead the charge in the Italian Serie A, edging city rivals Inter by a solitary point with Napoli a further point adrift.

Lazio striker Ciro Immobile and Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic top the scoring charts, each with 13 goals.


Serie A, selected results:

Inter 3-2 Napoli

Juventus 0-1 Atalanta

Lazio 0-2 Juventus

Napoli 4-0 Lazio

Napoli 2-3 Atalanta

Roma 0-3 Inter


Serie A, selected fixtures:

18 Dec - Atalanta vs Roma

19 Dec - AC Milan vs Napoli


Serie A standings:

P W L PTS

1. AC Milan 16 12 2 38

2. Inter Milan 16 11 1 37

3. Napoli 16 11 2 36

4. Atalanta 16 10 2 34

5. Juventus 16 8 5 27



Real Madrid hold an 8-point advantage at the summit of LaLiga, with attackers Karim attackers Karim Benzema and Vinícius Júnior both in sparkling form.

Benzema has bagged 12 goals and made 7 assists while 21-year-old teammate Vinícius has netted 10 goals.


LaLiga, selected results:

Barcelona 0-1 Real Betis

Granada 1-4 Real Madrid

Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla

Real Sociedad 0-2 Real Madrid

Sevilla 1-0 Villarreal

Villarreal 1-3 Barcelona


LaLiga, selected fixtures:

12 Dec - Real Betis vs Real Sociedad

12 Dec - Real Madrid vs Atlético Madrid

18 Dec - Sevilla vs Atlético Madrid

21 Dec - Sevilla vs Barcelona


LaLiga standings:

P W L PTS

1. Real Madrid 16 12 1 39

2. Sevilla 15 9 2 31

3. Real Betis 16 9 4 30

4. Atlético Madrid 15 8 2 29

5. Real Sociedad 16 8 3 29


7. Barcelona 15 6 4 23



Bayern Munich top the Bundesliga by a 4-point margin following a 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund in the latest instalment of Die Klassiker derby.

The evergreen Robert Lewandowski scored twice at his former side Dortmund and has 16 league goals to his name, four more than Patrik Schick of Bayer Leverkusen.


Bundesliga, selected results:

Augsburg 2-1 Bayern

Dortmund 2-3 Bayern

Leipzig 1-3 Leverkusen

M'Gladbach 0-6 Freiburg

Wolfsburg 1-3 Dortmund


Bundesliga, selected fixtures:

17 Dec - Bayern vs Wolfsburg

19 Dec - Freiburg vs Leverkusen


Bundesliga standings:

P W L PTS

1. Bayern 14 11 2 34

2. Dortmund 14 10 4 30

3. Leverkusen 14 8 3 27

4. Freiburg 14 7 3 25



Ajax Amsterdam again appear a force to be reckoned with under Erik ten Hag, as de Godenzonen have a slender lead atop the Eridivisie having lost just once and conceded 2 goals in 1,350 minutes.


Eredivisie, selected results & fixtures:

Ajax 5-0 PSV


19 Dec - Feyenoord vs Ajax


Eredivisie standings:

P W L PTS

1. Ajax 15 11 1 36

2. PSV 15 11 2 35

3. Feyenoord 15 11 3 34



In Portugal, Porto and Sporting Lisbon are inseparable at the head of the table with both teams unbeaten after 13 matches.

Porto winger Luis Díaz has scored 10 goals, more than any player in the league.


Primeira Liga, selected results & fixtures:

Benfica 6-1 Sporting Braga

Benfica 1-3 Sporting CP


30 Dec - Porto vs Benfica


Primeira Liga standings:

P W L PTS

1. Porto 13 11 0 35

2. Sporting CP 13 11 0 35

3. Benfica 13 10 2 31



Paris St-Germain hold an 11-point buffer over 2nd-placed Stade Rennais in the French Ligue 1.

Lille striker Jonathan David has scored 11 goals and PSG attacker Kylian Mbappé has delivered a league-high 8 assists.

Ligue 1 standings:

P W L PTS

1. PSG 17 13 1 42

2. Rennais 17 9 4 31

3. Marseille 16 8 3 29

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