For Tottenham fans, finishing above Arsenal last season was a huge statement. Finally getting the better of their North London rivals was a big deal but Spurs have done more recently than just winning local bragging rights. Under the guidance of Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham have become one of the Premier League’s elite clubs. For many people, the change was first highlighted when Spurs beat Man City 2-1 at the Etihad in February 2016.
Alan Pardew isn’t exactly a shrinking violet. Whether it’s dancing during the FA Cup final, falling out with other managers or head-butting opposition players, Pardew knows how to grab the spotlight. He will, then, be a little frustrated that his move to West Brom has had relatively little coverage. While Sam Allardyce, David Moyes and Claude Puel have claimed big wins since taking over at their clubs, Pardew is yet to secure the win that gets his West Brom career going. He’s certainly got the chance to change that on Sunday afternoon when Man Utd visit the Hawthorns.
Claude Puel’s time at Leicester continues to get better and better. The Frenchman divided fans during his brief spell in charge of Southampton but the Leicester faithful are beginning to think they’ve got a world class manager on their hands after a strong start. Puel has already guided the Foxes to a series of impressive wins and he’ll be targeting another as Crystal Palace visit the King Power Stadium on Saturday. In stark contrast, the problems continue to mount for Palace boss, Roy Hodgson. The ex-England manager was furious after the Eagles’ draw with Bournemouth. Having seen his team awarded their second penalty of the match, Hodgson and the packed house at Selhurst Park watched on with disbelief as Christian Benteke demanded he take the penalty and not Luka Milivojević, the scorer of the first spot kick. Benteke took one of the weakest penalties of all time to cap off an incident typical of clubs who go on to be relegated.
The New Year is a time for looking forward to the future. Whether it’s committing to getting fit, doubling down on work or spending more time with loved ones, New Year’s resolutions give us a chance to look forwards with optimism. Generally speaking, the PDC World Darts Championship follows suit by crowning its world champion right at the start of the year. However, this year’s tournament is all about saying goodbye as Phil Taylor leaves professional darts.
Antonio Conte cut an incredibly frustrated figure at the London Stadium on Saturday. Chelsea knew that defeat against West Ham in the London derby would all but end their chances of defending the Premier League title and yet Conte watched in disbelief as his players turned in an insipid performance against the Irons. As well as landing a major to blow to Chelsea, West Ham’s 1-0 win over the Blues put the cat amongst the pigeons at the bottom of the table. Thankfully for David Wagner, his Huddersfield players rose to the challenge and secured three points of their own with a 2-0 victory against Brighton to give them a five point gap from the relegation zone. That win snapped a run of four straight defeats for the Terriers so they’ll be feeling a lot more confident about their chances when Chelsea visit the John Smith’s Stadium on Tuesday night.