Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United all win on EPL Boxing Day
The 2016 Boxing Day slate in the EPL may have lacked big-time matchups, but it had plenty of goals as the big clubs asserted their dominance. Manchester United got another goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a Zlatan-like goal from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pedro scored a stunner for Chelsea, and Olivier Giroud headed Arsenal to a win as well.
Full results and recaps from the day below:
Chelsea wins record 12th straight match, 3–0 vs. Bournemouth
LONDON (AP) — Chelsea achieved a club record 12th straight English Premier League victory as it beat Bournemouth 3-0 Monday.
Two goals from Pedro and Eden Hazard's penalty ensured Antonio Conte's side bettered a run of 11 wins set in 2009.
Chelsea overcame the absence of suspended duo N'Golo Kante and Diego Costa for its 10th clean sheet of the 12-match winning run.
The hosts struggled to create chances early on but, after a moment of magic from Pedro unlocked the Bournemouth defence in the 24th, the Blues didn't look back.
Hazard and the recalled Cesc Fabregas combined to find Pedro on the edge of the Bournemouth box, before he created space and curled a precise left-foot effort into the top corner.
Jack Wilshere, on loan from Arsenal, had Bournemouth's two best chances to level at Stamford Bridge as he was first denied by Chelsea 'keeper Thibaut Courtois, before Cesar Azpilicueta crucially blocked Wilshere's volley after a poor clearance from Marcos Alonso.
Fabregas almost doubled the lead 10 minutes before halftime with a free kick.
Thriving as he deputized in a centre forward position, Eden Hazard all but ended the match in the 49th, as he won a penalty after beating Bournemouth captain Simon Francis.
Hazard coolly rolled his penalty past the deceived Artur Boruc to score his 50th Premier League goal for Chelsea.
The Blues wasted a number of chances to extend their lead before Pedro added a deserved third in stoppage time.
The Spanish forward picked the ball up in the center circle before driving at the Bournemouth defence and seeing his shot take a deflection off Steve Cook.
Chelsea took a nine-point lead ahead of Manchester City's game at Hull later Monday.
Bournemouth slipped to 13th.
Watch: Henrikh Mkhitaryan's outrageous finish vs. Sunderland
Henrikh Mkhitaryan added an outrageous goal to put Manchester United up 3-0 against Sunderland on Monday.
Mkhitaryan flashed a little scorpion kick behind his own back for a backheel goal in the 86th minute of the game.
Watch the goal below:
Less than five minutes earlier, Zlatan Ibrahimovic made it 2–0 .
Giroud strikes late to give Arsenal 1-0 win vs West Brom
LONDON (AP) — Olivier Giroud headed home an 86th-minute winner as Arsenal avoided another Christmas stumble in the English Premier League to beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 on Monday.
The visitors limited the Gunners to only a handful of chances at Emirates Stadium, with goalkeeper Ben Foster on top form.
But Giroud, making his first league start of the season, headed home Mesut Ozil's cross to secure a much-needed triumph for the hosts, who snapped a two-game losing streak in the league.
It was Giroud's sixth goal of the season as Ozil celebrated his 100th league appearance.
Alexis Sanchez, starting out wide, flashed a shot wide with 15 minutes gone as West Brom's defensive unit kept their hosts at arm's length in the early stages.
A last-gasp challenge from Jonny Evans prevented Giroud getting through on goal as Arsenal continued to pressure without testing Foster.
Tony Pulis' side almost took the lead as Salomon Rondon flicked on Nacer Chadli's cross, only for Petr Cech to save in the Arsenal goal.
Arsenal went straight down the other end and finally got a shot on target as Sanchez stung the palms of Foster with a drilled effort from the edge of the box.
The Gunners trudged off frustrated at the break but should have been ahead soon after the restart only for Foster to pull off a great double save, parrying Alex Iwobi's strike and then keeping out Sanchez's follow-up.
Foster could do nothing as Sanchez thrashed an effort goalward from the resulting corner, but the shot hit the woodwork and stayed out.
Giroud was the next man to be denied by Foster, who used his feet to divert the Frenchman's low shot away from goal.
West Brom should have snatched the lead with a little over 20 minutes remaining but Claudio Yacob could only flash a shot high and wide when a corner dropped to him at the far post.
Arsenal substitute Lucas Perez almost had an immediate impact as his low cross flashed across goal with Giroud close to tapping home from almost on the goal line.
The win keeps Arsenal nine points behind leaders Chelsea.
West Ham beats Swansea 4-1, adds to Bradley's woes
SWANSEA, Wales (AP) — Swansea's woes deepened under American coach Bob Bradley with a 4-1 loss at home to West Ham in the English Premier League on Monday.
Andre Ayew — sold by Swansea in the offseason — got West Ham's first goal against his former club, tapping home in the 13th minute after Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski flapped at the ball following Andy Carroll's header.
Winston Reid, Michail Antonio — with his eighth of the season — and Carroll added further goals for the visitors in the second half, plunging Swansea further into relegation trouble. Substitute Fernando Llorente scored Swansea's goal in the 89th, making it 3-1 at the time.
While West Ham has now won its last three games to move clear of the bottom three, Swansea has lost its last three and conceded 10 goals in the process.
Since Bradley joined in early October as the first American coach in England's top flight, Swansea has lost seven of its 11 games. Nearly halfway into the campaign, the Welsh club is four points off safety and a chant of "We want Bradley out" reverberated around the Liberty Stadium.
Bradley acknowledged before the game that the fixture against West Ham, and Saturday's match at home to Bournemouth, could determine his future.
"We are our own worst enemy," Bradley said. "We are in such a rut."
Struggling Leicester loses 2-0 to Everton in EPL
LEICESTER, England (AP) — Deprived of the stars behind its improbable triumph last season, Leicester was beaten 2-0 at home by Everton on Saturday in the latest disappointing result of its Premier League title defense.
Belgium internationals Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku scored breakaway goals in the second half to earn Everton its first away win since September and move the team into seventh place.
The last time the Foxes hosted Everton, they lifted the Premier League trophy after the game. At the final whistle this time, Leicester is just three points above the relegation zone after 18 of 38 games.
Leicester, which has won just two of its last 13 games in all competitions, was without suspended players Jamie Vardy, Christian Fuchs and Robert Huth, while manager Claudio Ranieri started with Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater on the bench.
Vardy's loss was felt in particular, after his red card against Stoke last time out. Leicester appeared to protest at that decision by handing out around 30,000 masks depicting the face of Vardy to supporters. Leicester failed in its bid to overturn the red card.
The England striker was himself wearing one of the masks as he sat alongside some teammates in the stands.
Mirallas made it 1-0 in the 51st when he ran onto a long clearance by goalkeeper Joel Robles that dropped between Wes Morgan and Marcin Wasilewski, Huth's replacement. Mirallas split the defenders with his run and, as Morgan slipped, the winger's shot clipped Wasilewski before spinning over Kasper Schmeichel's trailing leg and into the corner.
Everton finished off Leicester in injury time when Lukaku latched onto Ross Barkley's clearance, held off Morgan's challenge, cut inside and slipped the ball under the advancing Schmeichel.
Allardyce denied opening win as Watford, Crystal Palace draw
WATFORD, England (AP) — Former England coach Sam Allardyce was denied victory in his first game back in club management, with his Crystal Palace team conceding a second-half penalty to draw 1-1 at Watford in the English Premier League on Monday.
Troy Deeney scored from the spot in the 71st minute for his 100th goal for Watford, earning the hosts a point after their second-half rally at Vicarage Road.
Allardyce took over at relegation-threatened Palace on Friday — three months after losing his England job — as a replacement for the fired Alan Pardew and he was given the ideal start when Yohan Cabaye scored in the 26th minute.
In what proved to be a game that hinged on two penalties, Palace wasted a chance to go 2-0 ahead in the 37th when Christian Benteke had a penalty saved by Heurelho Gomes after being fouled by the Watford goalkeeper.
Deeney made no mistake when he got his chance from the spot after Sebastian Prodl was bundled over by his marker, Damien Delaney, at a corner. Defending at set pieces was a problem for Palace under Pardew and Allardyce hasn't been able to rectify that issue in his very short time in charge.
"Two points dropped, for me, which is in some ways encouraging away from home in my first game," Allardyce said. "We played very well today and it's our own fault we didn't win three points."
Palace started the game only one point above the relegation zone.
Allardyce spent 67 days in charge of England — and had just one game in charge — before losing his dream job because of unguarded comments he made to undercover reporters in a newspaper sting.
Given his pedigree for keeping teams in the Premier League, he was never likely to be out of management for too long and Palace — on a downward slide under Pardew — soon came calling.
Allardyce didn't make too many changes to Palace's typical lineup over Pardew, but might do so if he dips into the January transfer market.
Allardyce has a history of making fast starts to his coaching stints and he had one here, with Palace on top early and deservedly going ahead when Cabaye beat the offside trap to run onto a reverse pass from Andros Townsend and score with an angled shot from inside the area.
Prodl was at fault for the first penalty, under-hitting a back pass that Benteke latched onto by nicking the ball away from Gomes as the goalkeeper swung his leg to clear. Benteke was taken out but got up to take an over-relaxed penalty kick, only for Gomes to guess the right way and save low down to his left. The acrobatic Gomes has saved nine of the 30 penalties he has faced in the Premier League with Tottenham and Watford.
Palace went more defensive in the second half, allowing Watford more of the ball.
Odion Ighalo went close when he pounced on defensive uncertainty by Delaney and shot wide. But Delaney wasn't so lucky minutes later, losing Prodl at a corner and then dragging back the defender. Deeney, in contrast to Benteke, rammed the penalty down the middle and became the fifth player to score 100 goals for Watford.
Deeney was one of two players to come on as a substitute for Watford in the first 14 minutes, after muscle injuries to right back Daryl Janmaat and center midfielder Valon Behrami.