Luke Shaw‘s Manchester United future looks in doubt while Petr Cech fails to save another penalty – 10 things we learned this weekend
‘s record-breaking winning streak came to an end on Sunday, but they almost fell to their first league defeat of the season at Crystal Palace.
Elsewhere Chelsea leapfrogged into second place as ‘s side drew a third consecutive match.
RALPH ELLIS looks at 10 things we learned from the final fixtures of 2017…
1. Luke Shaw’s future at Manchester United must be in doubt as he continues to have a difficult relationship with manager Jose Mourinho.
The 22-year-old was no worse or better than most of United’s players in the lacklustre 0-0 draw with his old club Southampton but was still the target of constant angry shouting from the manager from the sidelines.
The four-year contract he signed when he joined for £33m ends in June, but it is believed the club have already taken up their option of keeping him for a further season.
2. For a goalkeeper who is one game short of recording 200 Premier League clean sheets, Petr Cech has a terrible record when it comes to saving penalties.
The Arsenal star had every right to grumble about Mike Dean’s appalling decision to penalise Luke Chambers, but he then dived to one side while Jay Rodriguez put West Brom’s spot kick down the middle.
Cech has failed to keep out any of the 13 penalties he’s faced in all competitions since moving from Chelsea in 2015. Only Brad Friedel at Aston Villa and Craig Gordon at Sunderland (both 15) faced more at a single club without saving one.
3. One of the reasons West Ham are so keen on trying to make a deal for Swansea defender Alfie Mawson happen is his outstanding disciplinary record.
The 23-year-old former Barnsley defender, a bargain £5m signing in August 2016, is the only defender to have appeared in every minute of every Premier League game this season and not receive a single yellow card.
He’s good on the ball too – no Swansea player made more successful passes than the 64 he accomplished in the 2-1 win at Watford.
4. Roy Hodgson showed a ruthless side by dropping goalkeeper Julian Speroni on the back of letting in three goals against Arsenal.
The 38-year-old who has been at Selhurst Park for nearly 14 years was on the bench for the 0-0 draw with Manchester City.
His replacement Wayne Hennessey, who had himself been demoted from his number one status after getting injured at the start of the month, took the chance as he made five saves to become the first Crystal Palace keeper to keep a clean sheet in 24 games against Manchester City since Nigel Martyn in 1993.
5. Lost in the debate over Stoke’s team selections at Chelsea, where Mark Hughes effectively ran up the white flag by resting players ahead of Monday’s vital clash with Newcastle, was that Saido Berahino played 90 minutes in a league game for the first time this season.
The 24-year-old at least had his side’s only shot on goal in the 5-0 drubbing, but a year after his £15m move from West Brom on a five-year deal worth £75,000 a week, Hughes has so far failed to put his career back on track in the way he’ d hoped.
6. The first warning signs are appearing for Brighton even though they go into the New Year in 12th place in the Premier League.
The 0-0 draw at Newcastle made it just two goals scored in nine games for Chris Hughton’s team compared to 13 in the previous nine.
What’s worse, they aren’t making chances. They’ve had just 23 shots on target during that nine game run, a fraction over 2.5 per match.
7. It’s strange that Bournemouth’s 2-1 win over Everton was only referee Lee Probert’s ninth top flight appointment of the season because he’s one of the most consistent of the officials on the Select Group list.
The unfussy 45-year-old had complete control of the game and his decision making was excellent – in complete contrast to Robert Madley’s hopeless display on the same ground on Boxing Day.
FIFA official Probert was the FA Cup final referee in 2014 but after missing most of the 2015-16 campaign with injury seems to have fallen out of favour.
8. Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is going to bring some controversy to the Premier League when his team inevitably get promoted.
The Portuguese, sent off for the second time this season, angered Bristol City directors by his wild celebrations in the stands when Ryan Bennett scored a 94th minute winner.
Nuno has upset any number of Championship managers with the antics on the bench of himself and his staff. Prepare for fireworks when he rubs up against the likes of Jose Mourinho or Sam Allardyce next year.
9. When Chris Lucketti goes back to Scunthorpe on New Year‘s Day you could forgive him if he wonders whether leaving to take his first managerial job at Bury was such a dream move after all.
The 46-year-old, assistant to Graham Alexander before he left at the end of November to take over from Lee Clark at the club where he made 235 League appearances, has now overseen four defeats in a row.
The 2-0 home loss to Fleetwood left the club stranded at the foot of the League One table and to make matters worse top scorer Jermaine Beckford, the only player to have scored more than twice this season, has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign following knee surgery.
10. Forest Green Rovers must keep striker Christian Doidge beyond the January window if they are to have any hope of staying in the Football League.
The former policeman is attracting interest after scoring 13 in his last 14 appearances for the tiny Gloucestershire club who stay rooted in 92nd after a 2-1 defeat at Lincoln.
Thankfully for Rovers they persuaded Doidge, who played basketball for Wales before becoming a footballer, to sign a deal until 2020 during the summer.