Nicolas Pepe finally showed Arsenal fans why the club made a record investment to sign him from Lille in the summer. Pepe scored the opener to help the Gunners beat a tame Manchester United side 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on New Year’s Day.
The win was Mikel Arteta’s first as manager and moved Arsenal up to 10th in the Premier League. United are still four points ahead in fifth, but the Red Devils have major issues to fix, notably in defence, where Harry Maguire continues to struggle.
He’s the most expensive defender on the planet, but the former Leicester City man was clumsy and overwhelmed in north London.
United’s struggles were in stark contrast to those of neighbours Manchester City. The Citizens beat Everton 2-1 thanks to a pair of classy goals from Gabriel Jesus, who led the line superbly in place of Sergio Aguero.
It was a day to forget for a former United boss, with Jose Mourinho making headlines for the wrong reasons when Tottenham Hotspur slipped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Southampton.
Injuries to Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele, as well as run-ins with Saints’ coaching staff and the referee, only compounded Mourinho’s misery.
To top it all off, Mourinho received a booking from referee Mike Dean after the 56-year-old appeared to take a look at the tactical notes being written in the Southampton dugout.
Mourinho offered an acerbic response to explain his actions.
Leicester kept alive their faint hopes of catching Premier League leaders Liverpool as Ayoze Perez returned to haunt Newcastle in Wednesday’s 3-0 win at St James’ Park.
Spanish forward Perez put Leicester ahead nine minutes before the break with his fifth goal since swapping Newcastle for the King Power Stadium in the close-season.
James Maddison doubled Leicester’s shortly afterwards and Hamza Choudhury bagged the late third as Brendan Rodgers’ side made a flying start to 2020.
New Year Day’s EPL Results:
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Chelsea
Burnley 1-2 Aston Villa
Newcastle United 0-3 Leicester City
Southampton 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Watford 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Manchester City 2-1 Everton
Norwich City 1-1 Crystal Palace
West Ham United 4-0 Bournemouth
Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United