Premier League grades: Liverpool and Tottenham shine on Boxing Day
Manchester City and Arsenal fail to impress
Last Updated: 27/12/18 6:09am
Which Premier League team was "sensational" on Boxing Day and who had "one of those days" after some "comical" defending?
Our writers ranked every team's performance from A-F to see who excelled and who will be hoping for improvements next time out.
Here are their verdicts...
Liverpool - A
Liverpool were relentless in their pursuit of victory, never letting a stubborn Newcastle defence frustrate them and constantly chipping away looking to add to Dejan Lovren's early goal. Their second-half performance was sensational, barely allowing Newcastle a sniff and scoring three goals without reply.
Whisper it quietly, as there is a long way to go, but this certainly looked a performance of potential champions. Liverpool became the first team to put four past Newcastle since Manchester United in November 2017, and most encouragingly, their chances came from all over the pitch. (Ron Walker)
Tottenham - A
Three days. Eleven goals. Not too shabby from the team that are now second in the Premier League table. They didn't have to be anywhere near their best to dispatch Bournemouth, who were still giving out Christmas presents a day after the big day. Kyle Walker-Peters made a telling contribution from full-back while Heung-Min Son just doesn't miss at the moment. He's scored 10 goals in his last 10 games. The Spurs go marching on. (Lewis Jones)
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Everton - A-
Marco Silva urged his players to show "quality, personality and character" after the 6-2 thrashing against Tottenham threatened to ruin Christmas on the blue half of Merseyside.
Everton were without a win in the whole of December, but there was plenty of grit and no shortage of class on display as Burnley were dispatched at Turf Moor.
Sean Dyche noted the fast early tempo of the visiting team, which led to Silva's men leading 3-0 inside 22 minutes, and the hosts were unable to build on Ben Gibson's reply before the interval.
Having demonstrated a mental fragility in the aftershock of their dramatic defeat to Liverpool on December 1, this was an important win for Everton, who have reignited hopes of finishing in a European position. (Ben Grounds)
Leicester - A
It helped that Manchester City had just lost, and equally that Leicester had just earned a confidence-boosting win at Chelsea, but not many would have expected this gargantuan performance from the Foxes.
Leicester defended from the front superbly; James Maddison and Jamie Vardy harried the centre-halves at every opportunity, and that set the tone throughout the side. Their defence, and Harry Maguire in particular, was simply superb, dealing with wave after wave of Manchester City attack at times, and reducing the champions to just a handful of half chances in the entire second half. City may lose on the rare occasion, but it's even rarer that they go through a game creating such a small number of opportunities.
Ricardo Pereira's stunner from outside the box came against the run of play, but will live long in the memory. (Gerard Brand)
Manchester United - B
Two wins in a week for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has certainly helped lift the gloom around Old Trafford, with eight goals in two games evidence that the attacking style of old could well be back in vogue.
Yet, the performance against Huddersfield was far from perfect. Yes they scored three goals, but Huddersfield missed some big chances at pivotal moments in the match, and had they have converted just one, the result could have been very different indeed. Another game without a clean sheet also helps ensure they are slightly marked down. (Pete Hall)
Chelsea - B
It was a solid performance from Chelsea. They did well to bounce back from disappointment against Leicester at the weekend and saw the game out well at Vicarage Road to keep themselves in the top four. Watford rarely tested them in the second half but they looked dangerous going forward with the counter-attack helping them massively.
But a lack of concentration at the end of the first half saw them concede which will be a sticking point for their Italian manager with the game also showing just how important Eden Hazard is to them. Most games do, but he scored both goals in the 2-1 win, won a penalty and more could have been on the cards. Arguably Chelsea's best business of the upcoming window would be tying him to a new deal. (Charlotte Marsh)
Fulham - B
Claudio Ranieri's side were within touching distance of what would have been a huge three points against Wolves on Saturday lunchtime, only to let in an 85th-minute equaliser.
That means the struggling west London club have now conceded in all but one of their last 23 Premier League fixtures, their only clean sheet coming at St James' Park last weekend. And the Fulham boss will need to remedy their defensive issues if they are to have any chance of beating the drop. (Richard Morgan)
Wolves - B
The visitors were not really at the races in the first half at Craven Cottage, before then falling behind to Ryan Sessegnon's strike with just 16 minutes to go.
However, Nuno Espirito Santo's team showed great resilience and character to get back into the game and avoid back-to-back league defeats in the process, while also continuing their trend this season of scoring the vast majority of their goals in the second half of games (75 per cent). (Richard Morgan)
Brighton - B
Brighton didn't start well against Arsenal and looked like they might be in for a difficult evening as Mat Ryan made a couple of sharp saves to deny Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, the hosts improved after half-time and had the better chances to win the match. After three defeats in a row, this performance should give Chris Hughton and his side some encouragement heading into the new year. (James Walker-Roberts)
Crystal Palace - B-
It was electric at times from Palace against Cardiff and 90 per cent of the time a team that registers 34 shots in a match takes three points. They came away with a draw and clean sheet, but not for the want of trying for more.
Palace are a team in form and with attacking players all over the park in the form of Wilfried Zaha, Aaron Wan-BIssaka and a rejuvenated Andros Townsend. If they can keep their shots on target, and continue playing with the same intensity they've found in December, they'll put more space between them and the relegation zone in 2019. (Frederick Clayton)
Newcastle - C+
Before half-time, Newcastle would have been happy enough to trail Liverpool 1-0 - they weren't out of the game by any stretch, and had a few chances they should have scored from. But after Mohamed Salah's penalty, just three minutes into the second 45, they seemed to lose any belief they could snatch a result.
Rafa Benitez's team don't often let their heads drop - especially considering the amount of defending they are often tasked with - but they were outclassed in the second half by Liverpool and 4-0 was not harsh on them. (Ron Walker)
Cardiff - C+
Cardiff were inept in attack in their goalless draw with Crystal Palace, but they deserve a solid grade here for some defensive heroics. Bruno Ecuele Manga matched Zaha for pace, Bamba was an ever-present nuisance, and Neil Etheridge a saviour between the sticks.
With more of the same, and a bit more luck, Cardiff will fancy their chances of staying in the Premier League throughout 2019. They are nothing but resilient! (Frederick Clayton)
Arsenal - C
Unai Emery's frustration told the story.
After giving up an early lead against Brighton, Arsenal laboured in the second half and were perhaps fortunate not to lose the game. With full-time approaching, Emery kicked a stray bottle in anger - an act that he apologised for afterwards.
The moment of frustration came after a failed attack, of which there were a few from Arsenal following an encouraging start. Emery's decision to remove Mesut Ozil at half-time did not pay off and the Arsenal boss will now be hoping to have some defensive reinforcements for the trip to Liverpool on Saturday. (James Walker-Roberts)
Watford - C
For most of the game at Vicarage Road, Watford matched Chelsea but the defining line was a marvellous display from Eden Hazard. They showed wonderful determination to equalise less than two minutes after going behind, but the penalty at the start of the second half certainly knocked the stuffing out of them.
They did not offer too much going forward afterwards although restricted Chelsea to just a few chances. There was also some questionable passing at times and they will wait to see the extent of the injury to Christian Kabasele. But it will not be seen as a disastrous performance, but more to work on for Saturday's fixture. (Charlotte Marsh)
Huddersfield - C
Signs of life for the basement boys. Their display at Old Trafford deserved more than a 3-1 defeat, but they gave it a real go against a team on the up, but lacked a real cutting edge when presented with clear goalscoring opportunities.
Six defeats in a row leaves them in real peril, but they have three games against teams in and around them in the coming weeks - after that they will know how well set they are for a relegation scrap. (Pete Hall)
Manchester City - D
As Pep Guardiola admitted after the game, there is a slight concern around how they replace Fernandinho when the Brazilian is injured, and perhaps more desperately, when he eventually leaves the club.
The 33-year-old's absence was felt in midfield as Leicester broke through the lines on several occasions in both halves, and though his replacement Ilkay Gundogan didn't have the worst of games, that defensive solidity was missing.
Despite this, they did see plenty of the ball, but Leicester's superb defensive showing meant no way through. City create most down the left, and even if Leroy Sane was left in space several times by Ricardo Pereira, the final ball was missing. Now it's all about winning the next game, Southampton away, before this becomes a crisis. (Gerard Brand)
Bournemouth - E
This performance was like a fragile piece of china that wasn't wrapped properly on Christmas Day. Put simply, Bournemouth went to pieces in the box. Granted, their first goal conceded to Spurs was an unlucky deflection but after that their defending was comical. They picked the wrong day and the wrong opposition to have "one of those days". (Lewis Jones)
Burnley - E
One step forward, two steps back. Despite the away defeats to Tottenham and Arsenal in recent weeks, it had felt like Burnley have rediscovered their identity under Sean Dyche.
A plucky 1-0 win over Brighton earlier this month now feels like a false dawn, with that slender victory their only three-point haul in their last 12 outings.
Dyche has lamented poor refereeing decisions in recent setbacks, but he and his side had nowhere to hide after a 5-1 home defeat to Everton - their heaviest loss at Turf Moor since losing to Manchester City 6-1 in April 2010.
The Clarets have now conceded more goals (41) than they managed in the whole of last season, and more slack marking was on display as Everton fed off the growing fear that Burnley's finest top-flight campaign since 1973/74 will be followed by relegation. (Ben Grounds)