An early Christmas present arrived in the form of midweek festive football for Premier League fans and, as usual, there was drama to be seen in stadia up and down the country.
With plenty of games to focus on, it would have been easy to miss the quirks of the evening – here’s a reminder of what went on.
Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea
West Ham 1-0 Burnley
Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United
Manchester City 2-0 Watford
Stoke 0-0 Southampton
Tottenham 3-0 Hull
West Brom 3-1 Swansea
3 - Salomon Rondon is only the 2nd player to score a Premier League hat-trick of headers (Duncan Ferguson v Bolton in December 1997). Bonce.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 14, 2016
A perfect hat-trick is usually defined as left foot, right foot, header – well at West Brom it ain’t perfect unless it’s ALL headers, and Salomon Rondon delivered one tailor-made for Tony Pulis’s side against Swansea.
It took just 13 minutes for the big man to deliver his goals as well, notching between the 50th and the 63rd minute to put the Baggies 3-0 ahead, before the Swans pulled one back before the close of play.
A trio of headers? You don’t see that every day.
After some fine build-up play, the ball found its way to 35-year-old centre-back Damien Delaney, who produced the most outrageous of flicks to send the ball into the path of James McArthur, who gratefully slotted the ball home.
A Zlatan Ibrahimovic winner put paid to hopes of a Palace point, but their one goal demonstrated the creativity Alan Pardew’s side have to offer this season.
Furthermore, the Blues managed their 10th win in a row (the record is 14 in the PL) and recorded their eighth clean sheet in 10 games.
It’s looking ominous for the rest of the division, with Arsenal faltering, Liverpool looking short and Manchester City still in a Pep Guardiola transition stage. Chelsea – the floor is yours.
It all started with United’s opening goal, where Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s apparent handball went unnoticed, before Juan Mata had a goal controversially ruled out for offside, as well as a turned down penalty appeal for Jose Mourinho’s men.
A confusing night for Jose, whose side managed to claim a late winner, but who would presumably have been a little more vocal in his opinions on the night’s officiating had his team failed to win.