Premier League round-up: Carvalhal makes instant impact at Swansea, Salah double rescues Liverpool
Chelsea put five past hapless Stoke while Newcastle v Brighton and Huddersfield v Burnley both end goalless
Carlos Carvalhal made an immediate impact at Swansea City as his new club climbed off the bottom of the table with a dramatic 2-1 win at Watford.
Carvalhal was the surprise choice to replace the sacked Paul Clement just days after the Portuguese had been dismissed by second-tier Sheffield Wednesday on Christmas Eve.
Carvalhal’s first game got off to a bad start when Andre Carrillo nodded home in the 11th minute.
But Carvalhal was heard lambasting his players at half time and they responded to his words with four minutes when left Ghana striker Jordan Ayew equalised.
In a remarkable finale, Luciano Narsingh won it for Swansea in the 90th minute with a close-range finish.
“We tried everything to win,”Carvalhal told BBC’s Match Of The Day. “Watford are very strong. We felt a little lucky in moments, but Watford were lucky also.
“The game is like this, but we prepared very well, changed the formation and had just two training sessions with the team.
“With two attackers, we were more open to try and create problems for Watford.
“I must give congratulations to my players. They are better players than they are showing. They need a plan and a dynamic. During the game they were better and better.”
Swansea are now two points from safety after their first win in five games.
At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea made the perfect start when German defender Antonio Rudiger rose above three Stoke City defenders to head home from Willian’s free kick in the third minute.
Eden Hazard was rested on the Chelsea bench, but his replacement Danny Drinkwater did a passable impression of the brilliant Belgian, the midfielder bagging his first goal for the West London club with a blistering strike from the edge of the area in the ninth minute.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes’ decision to field a severely weakened team in the midst of the hectic festive fixture list was backfiring badly.
The visitors were three down by the 23rd minute when Pedro finished off Willian’s pass to put Chelsea on course for a fourth win in their last five league games.
- Pep Guardiola more worried about Zaha than bettering his own winning record
- January transfer window: Coutinho, Luiz, Mahrez and Barkley could be high-profile departures
- Ferran Soriano: Manchester City determined to find and develop talent in the UAE
- Premier League predictions: Chelsea thrash Stoke, Man City make it 19 wins in a row
Willian got on the scoresheet himself in the 73rd minute, stroking home a penalty awarded for a foul on the Brazilian, before wing-back Davide Zappacosta grabbed his first Premier League goal with two minutes remaining.
Chelsea goalscorer y Drinkwater to BBC’s Match Of The Day: “We’re doing well. The more wins we pick up in a row, the better it is for us.
“We managed the game well. We got off to a good start. I’m happy with my goal, it’s a nice feeling to score. We can take confidence from this into the Arsenal game - but it’s a totally different game.
“It [the title race] is not over until it’s over. So we have to keep on winning.”
Liverpool celebrated Virgil van Dijk’s arrival at Anfield by coming from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 thanks to a Mohamed Salah double.
Van Dijk, signed from Southampton for a world-record fee for a defender of £75 million (Dh369.6m), isn’t able to play for Liverpool until January, but the flaws the Dutch centre-back will be asked to fix were on display as Leicester took a third minute lead at Anfield on Saturday.
With Van Dijk watching from the stands, Liverpool defender Joel Matip carelessly conceded possession and Riyad Mahrez set up Jamie Vardy to slot past goalkeeper Loris Karius, selected in place of the dropped Simon Mignolet, for his 10th goal of the season.
Liverpool couldn’t find a first-half equaliser despite having 12 shots, but they were level seven minutes after the interval.
Egypt winger Salah took Sadio Mane’s brilliant pass and showed good footwork before drilling past Kasper Schmeichel for his 22nd club goal of an incredible debut season following his move from Roma.
Salah wasn’t finished yet and he won it for Liverpool in the 76th minute, turning away from Leicester defender Harry Maguire and firing in at the Kop end.
Liverpool, unbeaten in 12 league games, remain fourth and now hold a four-point advantage over fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the race to qualify for the Champions League.
Elsewhwere Huddersfield Town held Burnley to a draw at home while Newcastle United v Brighton & Hove Albion ended in a stalemate at St James’ Park.
Published: December 30, 2017 10:12 PM