Sun, 01 Oct, 2023

Boxing Day

By Sulav Prasaine

26th of December is known as Boxing Day in many countries and former British colonies. This day was for those servants and tradesmen who would receive gifts from their masters, employers or customers in a “Christmas Box”.

Boxing Day is nearly the halfway point of every football season, and it is always a tight situation for all the clubs. Leaders try to retain their reign and the bottom clubs try to avoid relegation. Boxing Day has always been a high score game week with lots of drama. We have seen some classics over the years like Chelsea VS Aston Villa 8 goals galore. So how did this year’s Boxing Day shape the season?

The Boxing Day had a huge effect on the Red Devils and the Gunners. They lost to Stoke and Saints respectively, with their opponents both ending on clean sheets. Talking about the games, Stoke city played really well against the Red Devils. They had nice attacks and accurate passes to beat David De Gea (GK) of Manchester United. The goal from Bojan, assisted by Glen Johnson, was from the center of the box in the 19th minute and following that in the 26th minute, a right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner by Marko Arnautovic during a set piece situation secured the three points for Stoke. Stoke city attacked while trying to defend their clean sheet by stopping the attacking plays of Manchester United. Thus, the game ended at Stoke City 2-0 Manchester United.

After the Stoke game, Aston villa and West Ham both played to gain the 3 points at Villa Park, but unfortunately they had to be satisfied with 1 point each. The goal from Aaron Cresswell was a left footed shot at the injury time of the first half. The penalty gotten by Aston Villa player Jordan Ayew, was from a foul by Rudy Gestede in the penalty area. The match ended 1-1 for them.

AFC Bournemouth and Crystal Palace also played a draw match without any goals. They both took 1 point each. Bournemouth were heavy in attacking with 3 shots on target and they defended well by not giving the chance the eagles any chances to get shots on target.

Another exciting draw for that day was between Chelsea and Watford. The Blues drew 2-2 with Watford. Costa hit the net twice, securing a point for Chelsea. The handball from Nemanja Matic on the penalty area gave Deeny the chance to score one of the goals for Watford and then later, Ighalo scored the next goal for Watford at 56’. Costa’s goal, assisted by the Brazilian, Willian, gave the blues an equalizer. Hence the match ended at a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester City were on fire that night when they welcomed the black cats Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium. They scored 4 goals and conceded 1 late goal. No clean sheets for Joe Hart again for the 8th successive home match. On the score line were Sterling, Yaya Toure, Bony and De Bryune. The Belgian had 2 assists and a goal and was also awarded the Man of the Match. Sunderland had a few chances but only managed to convert one into a goal. Ex-Liverpool player Fabio Borini scored from the black cat’s side, who conceded 3 goals early in the first half. Vincent Kompany again got a calf injury in the field so he was substituted. At the end of the match, the score was 4-1.

The league leaders Leicester city lost to Liverpool when Christian Benteke coming from the bench scored a goal and secured the 3 point for the Reds. However, many kopites were furious at Benteke for missing that open goal towards the end. Jamie Vardy and Rayad Mahrez were in Liverpool’s defender’s pocket the whole time. Liverpool played very well with their great attacks and were able to block some good shots from the foxes. Hence the match end up 1-0 with City dropping the points.

Swansea city got an early goal from Ki after a mistake by Myhill giving them the upper hand. A brilliant defense in the second half awarded them with a 1-0 victory over West Brom.

Spurs were also on fire. They netted 3 goals against Norwich City. Harry Kane scored 2 successive goals on the first half. Norwich couldn’t gain much possession against the Spurs or defend from their attacks in the field. Goal from Tom Carroll in the second half got them 3 up and secured 3 points with the 4th place in the league table.

At St.James Park Everton defeated Newcastle in their own home with a goal from Tom Cleverly headed clearly to the centre of the box during the 2nd half injury time, clearly giving them the 3 points.

During the late night match, the Saints thrilled the Gunners putting four past them. Peter Cech couldn’t stop 2 goals from Shane Long, a stunning header from captain Fonte and a stunning curling shot from Coca Martina who stunned the field and all the defenders. That goal shall echo through the years in the Premier league. The attacking of the Saints was forwarded when Tadic came in as a substitute in the field. So like always, this Boxing Day had mixed cheers and tears for all the Premier league teams.

Sulav Prasaine is a student currently studying in DWIT