Fresh blows for Leeds United's sinking rivals but huge Newcastle United boost before Whites game
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However, there were fresh blows for three of Leeds United’s sinking Premier League rivals as part of Boxing Day’s long-awaited return. Leeds will take on Newcastle at St James’ Park in a 3pm kick-off on New Year’s Eve and the Magpies climbed to second place with Boxing Day’s 3-0 success at Leicester City.
A third-minute penalty from former Whites striker Chris Wood was followed by further first-half strikes from Miguel Almirón and Joelinton as Newcastle jumped above Leeds United’s Wednesday night visitors Manchester City. City, though, who drop to third, are just a point behind second-placed Newcastle and have two games in hand.
Leaders Arsenal were then 1-0 down at home to Boxing Day’s visitors West Ham United in the day’s 8pm kick-off but Mikel Arteta’s side rallied to record a 3-1 victory that puts then seven points clear at the top of the pile. The Gunners also have a game in hand on Newcastle but have played one game more than City who are eight points behind with a game in hand.
But at the other end of the table, West Ham, Everton and Southampton have now lost nine games in a row between them after Boxing Day defeats. A sliding Everton side were dealt the hardest pill to swallow as they fell to a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at home to Wolves who hit lift off at the first time of asking under new boss Julen Lopetegui. Yerry Mina's strike put Everton ahead in the seventh minute but Daniel Podence equalised 15 minutes later and Rayan Ait Nouri then pounced for a 95th-minute winner.
Victory for Wolves in Lopetegui’s first league game in charge took them off the bottom of the division and up to 18th place, above Nottingham Forest on goal difference and a point clear of another sliding side in Southampton who now prop up the table following a 3-1 loss at home to Brighton.
The Saints have now now lost four games in a row whilst Everton have lost three games in a row. The Toffees are fourth-bottom, sitting just one point above the drop zone. Leeds remain in 15th place after 1th-placed West Ham fell to a third league defeat on the spin at Arsenal.
In Boxing Day’s other action, Fulham moved up to eighth with a 3-0 win at Crystal Palace for whom Tyrick Mitchell and James Tomkins were both sent off. Liverpool recorded a 3-1 triumph at Aston Villa while Brentford shared a 2-2 draw with visiting Tottenham Hotspur in the lunchtime kick-off.
There are just two games on Tuesday starting with Bournemouth’s clash at Chelsea in a 5.30pm kick-off. Forest then visit Manchester United at 8pm.