Burnley's superb first half was canceled out as Jesse Lingard played hero in Manchester United's 2-2 draw with Burnley. Chelsea keeps pressure on United. 

By 90Min
December 26, 2017

An injury-time strike from Manchester United's Jess Lingard ensured that the spoils were shared at Old Trafford as it had looked like a major upset was on as Burnley's incredible season of results continued. 

Both sides came into the fixture in decent, rather than spectacular, form. Jose Mourinho's Reds had won four of their last six league games but were still a distant second behind runaway league leaders Manchester City. 

Burnley, who have had a terrific season so far, were 7th and only two points outside the Champions League places. They had only lost two of their last six games, although their last match had seen Tottenham Hotspur dispose of the Clarets 3-0 at Turf Moor.

Mourinho made four changes to the United side that disappointingly drew against Leicester City with Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all starting in a 4-4-2 formation. For Sean Dyche he kept to his tried and tested personnel with one enforced change for Burnley being Ashley Barnes replacing the injured Chris Wood in attack in a slightly more defensive 4-5-1 formation.

To the surprise of the boisterous home crowd, Burnley started brightly and earned a free kick after a foul by Marcos Rojo on Jeff Hendrick within the first few minutes. A terrifically flighted ball by Johann Brag Gudmundsson into the United penalty area was clinically fired home by the recalled Ashley Barnes after United were unable to clear the first header. 

The early goal sparked United into life and they began to impose themselves, but Burnley remained undaunted. Gudmundsson was causing the hosts problems and delivered yet another quality ball into the penalty area that Scott Arfield deftly volleyed on to United's bar, which left David De Gea in United's goal stranded, but it sympathetically bounced away for a goal kick. 

United were picking up the pace and created a few opportunities in a short space of time; Juan Mata had a shot blocked, Romelu Lukaku almost got on the end of an Ashley Young cross and then Young himself brought a first save of the match from Nick Pope with a rasping shot from 25 yards out - but the Clarets remained unbreached

Sustained pressure continued from United with Paul Pogba dictating in midfield, a couple of free-kicks punched clear by Nick Pope, followed by a flurry of corners. Burnley showed their dogged resistance which has served them so well this season, although they remained a threat on the counter-attack.

Burnley extended their lead in the 35th minute after earning a free kick on the edge of the Reds' area, 25 yards from goal. Belgium international Steven Defour stepped up and sublimely curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner, past De Gea's despairing dive. Temporarily, Old Trafford descended into a deafening silence. 

The half drew to a close with United pressing, but Dyche's side worked tirelessly to maintain their priceless lead. 

United tactically reshuffled for the start of the second half as Nemanja Matic started at center back partnering Phil Jones as Rojo and Ibrahimovic were replaced by Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but the Reds continued to press.

A wonderful Ashley Young cross along the six-yard line was guided purposefully towards goal by Jesse Lingard, which Pope did magnificently to deflect on to the crossbar and away to safety. 

Within minutes, United hauled themselves back into the match as Young crossed again and Lingard cleverly backheeled into the corner of the net which sent the Theatre of Dreams into an eruption of noise.

United continued to work both flanks well with Shaw and Young looking threatening. The Reds were encamped in Burnley's half, but the Clarets had numbers back to repel the waves of attack as they peppered Pope's goal. 

United had a free kick in a similar position to Defour's in the first half after Bardsley had lunged at Mkhitaryan. Pogba stepped up and went for the same corner of the goal too, but his effort was slightly too high and flew disappointingly into the Stretford End rather than the net.

As the game wore on, United seemed to run out of ideas and their approach became more direct than using the subtle play they had adopted earlier, to try to break down the resistance of the Burnley's defensive rearguard. Ultimately, the pressure told as a late free-kick from Juan Mata in stoppage time was converted by Lingard on the half-volley for United's equalizer and the England international's second of the match. 

For all United's possession and continued pressing it is hard to begrudge Dyche's men at least the draw as they tenaciously got through many challenging spells during an enthralling contest. 

 

Liverpool stretched their undefeated Premier League run to 11 games, after they thrashed a helpless Swansea side 5-0 at Anfield. Coutinho's sixth minute stunner was followed by a second-half blitz; with two goals from Firminio, and one each from both Alexander-Arnold and Oxlade-Chamberlain. 

The three points ensure that Liverpool remain 4th in the Premier League table, while Swansea remain bottom, now five points off safety.

Jurgen Klopp made four changes to the side that drew 3-3 to Arsenal. Trent Alexander-Arnold replaced Joe Gomez at right-back, Joel Matip returned from injury to replace Dejan Lovren at centre-back, Georginio Wijnaldum came in for the injured Jordan Henderson in midfield, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returned to the starting lineup in place of Sadio Mané

Swansea handed Oliver McBurnie his first Premier League start, leaving Tammy Abraham on the bench. Kyle Naughton and Leroy Fer, who were both injury doubts ahead of the game, started for the Swans. Jordan Ayew and Wayne Routledge also made their returns to the starting eleven. 

Liverpool scored the first goal of the game with their first shot after just six minutes. Ayew lost possession midway in his own half to Firminio, the Brazillian then passed to it to Salah who fed it to Coutinho on the edge of Swansea's box, Liverpool's skipper took a touch before curling a sumptuous right-footed effort into the top corner, leaving Fabianski with no chance. 

Ayew nearly made amends up the other end just three minutes later but his header lacked power, and Mignolet got down low to gather easily. 

Robertson was close to extending Liverpool's lead a few seconds later. Firminio was again involved, the Brazilian's cut back found the onrushing Robertson who powered his shot just wide of Fabianski's net. 

Despite their dominant start, Liverpool were struggling to create many opportunities thereafter, and as their intensity dropped Swansea started to gain more time on the ball, much to the frustration of the Anfield faithful. 

Nevertheless, the Swans rarely looked threatening around Liverpool's box, and it was the Reds who should have scored the second goal of the game just before half-time. 

Salah won the ball in midfield and sent Firminio away, the Brazilian did well initially getting past the challenges of both Mawson and Fernandez, however, he then dallied on the ball for too long and screwed his shot wide of Fabianski's goal. 

Liverpool had the first real opportunity of the second-half in the 50th minute. Firminio fed Salah on the right, before the Egyptian cut onto his favoured left foot and released a low shot, but it was straight at Fabianski and the Pole made a routine stop. 

Just a minute later and Jurgen Klopp's side finally extended their lead. Coutinho's free-kick from the left sailed to the back post and found the unmarked Firminio who volleyed in his first goal of the game. 

13 minutes later and Alexander-Arnold scored his first Premier League goal. The 19-year-old reacted first to Mawson's clearing header, running onto the ball inside the Swans' box before thundering a shot in off the crossbar. 

Just a minute later and Firmino scored his second and Liverpool's fourth of the game. Salah found space inside Swansea's box and selflessly rolled the ball to an unmarked Firmino who was left with a simple finish. 

Soon after and Jurgen Klopp decided to take of the instrumental pairing of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for Dominic Solanke and Adam Lallana.

Liverpool compounded Swansea's misery in the 82nd minute. This time it was Oxlade-Chamberlain's turn to add his name to the scoresheet. Once again, Swansea's defense was nowhere to be seen, as the 24-year-old reacted first to Alexander-Arnold's blocked pass to caress his finish into the top corner from 12 yards out. 

The result was never really in doubt after Coutinho had curled Liverpool into the lead in the first-half. Swansea struggled to create any meaningful opportunities throughout the 90 minutes, and their defense could not deal with Liverpool's scintillating attacking play, especially after they had tired in the second-half. Jurgen Klopp will be ecstatic with both the performance and the result which lifts his side back up to fourth in the league. 

Chelsea beat Brighton 2-0 on Boxing Day, with goals on the day coming from Spanish duo Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso.

Chelsea began the game the better of the two sides, but despite looking dangerous they failed to create any clear-cut chances in the first half. Cesc Fabregas was at the heart of everything that the Blues created, and in the 18th minute his side nearly broke the deadlock.

A great cross from Fabregas picked out Antonio Rudiger at the back post, who headed the ball back down to Tiémoué Bakayoko who missed from four yards out. It wasn't the easiest chance for the ex-Monaco man, due to the power of the knockdown, nevertheless, a player of his quality should have scored from so close in.

Chelsea continued to threaten, and in the 25th minute, they created another chance. It was Fabregas again who was the instigator. His chipped through ball found Victor Moses, who volleyed straight at Mat Ryan from only five yards out. 

Despite being on the back-foot for the majority of the first period, Brighton went into the break all square.

The home side came out of the traps quickly after the break, and in the 46th minute, they were ahead. 

It was a classic goal for the Blues, as Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Morata combined once again. It was a cross from Azpilicueta that picked out Morata who headed home from close range. 

The Blues kicked on after their goal, and in the 60th minute, they had their second. Spaniard Marcos Alonso scored with a glancing header from a Fabregas corner, and at this point, Chelsea had full control of proceedings.

Along with Fabregas, Eden Hazard was one of Chelsea's best players, and in the 65th minute, he nearly scored his side's third. 

After a fantastic break from N'Golo Kante, Hazard found himself one on one with Ryan, but despite beating the Seagulls number one, Brighton captain Lewis Dunk cleared the ball off the line.

Chelsea finished the game as winners, and the win keeps them third and in touching distance of second place Manchester United. As for Brighton, it was another defeat on the road. 

West Bromwich Albion and Everton have laboured to a 0-0 draw in the Midlands as both clubs looked to have had too much Christmas turkey for dinner.

An oft-turgid match saw the Baggies record a rare clean sheet while the Toffees extended their unbeaten run to seven matches under Sam Allardyce, albeit with a second stalemate in as many games.

The draw also saw the away side make it 12 Boxing Day clashes without defeat as both outfits stayed 19th and ninth in the Premier League standings respectively.

Salomon Rondon spurned a glorious chance to get the hosts up and running inside six minutes - the Venezuelan flicking Jay Rodriguez's inswinging cross wide of the upright.

Rodriguez put a good effort the wrong side of goal as the Baggies dominated early on, while Yannick Bolasie - back in the starting lineup for the first time in more than a year - fired a high and handsome effort over the bar in Everton's best chance after 25 minutes.

A dire affair was lacking in genuine quality and, Jordan Pickford's save from Chris Brunt's drive and Ahmed Hegazi's wayward header aside, both sides headed into the interval all square.

Mason Holgate was inches away from connecting from Morgan Schneiderlin's low centre just after the restart before the youngster was given the slip by Rondon down the opposite end - the striker, however, blazed wildly wide from a one-on-one with Pickford.

Ashley Williams saw his header from Gylfi Sigurdsson's corner held by Ben Foster in a rare shot on target, while Jonjoe Kenny superbly charged down Brunt's fierce strike as the sides traded blows.

Rodriguez and Tom Davies put efforts wide down opposite ends of the field, Matty Phillips missed Rodriguez's cross on the stretch and Sigurdsson wasted an Oumar Niasse cutback as the profligacy count mounted up.

Phillips and Brunt skied shots from promising positions while Foster thwarted Niasse twice late on, but neither team deserved to steal all three points at the Hawthorns.

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Eagle (-2)
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