The glamour of the big boys was not there but the goals came aplenty on Tuesday as West Ham found the route to goal and Tottenham Hotspur spluttered once again during the Covid-ravaged winter schedule of the English Premier League.
Tottenham had been waiting to get back in action after but they dropped two precious points against 10-man Southampton on Tuesday and West Ham hammered Watford 4-1 to turn up the heat for a top-four spot.
Due to coronavirus postponements, Crystal Palace were the only other winners as they cruised past bottom side Norwich 3-0 with worrying ease ahead of the late game between Liverpool and Leicester.
Spurs may be unbeaten in the league since Antonio Conte took charge but they have done little to impress and could not find a way past Southampton at St Mary’s, despite having a man advantage for half the match.
The Saints took a deserved lead in the 25th minute with a stunning goal from James Ward-Prowse, who lashed home, leaving Hugo Lloris helpless.
Tottenham were limp in front of goal but the game was turned on its head when Mohammed Salisu brought down Son Heung-min in the penalty area shortly before half-time. Salisu was sent off for a second yellow card and Harry Kane made no mistake from the spot.
Despite some pressure and a couple of favourable decisions, Spurs could not take advantage. It is looking bleak again for Spurs.
West Ham bounced back at Vicarage Road to reassert their push for a Champions League place after a wobble in recent matches. Watford took an early lead but the Hammers eased away.
West Ham rise to fifth in the Premier League on 31 points after 19 games, four behind Arsenal and one ahead of Spurs, who have two matches in hand.
Crystal Palace made the perfect start at home to struggling Norwich, with Odsonne Edouard scoring from the penalty spot in the eighth minute.
Patrick Vieira’s men doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Edouard cut back for Jean-Philippe Mateta to fire into the bottom corner and Jeffrey Schlupp made it 3-0 four minutes later.
Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell will undergo knee surgery that could rule him out for the rest of the season.
Chilwell suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in Chelsea’s Champions League win against Juventus on November 23.
The Blues had hoped Chilwell could return to action without surgery, but the England left-back has been told he must have the ligament repair operation.
“After a knee injury in the match against Juventus the Chelsea medical department, in collaboration with their knee specialist, took the decision to attempt a conservative rehab approach,” a Chelsea statement said.
“Unfortunately Ben was unable to progress and so collectively the decision has been taken to proceed this week with a surgical repair.”
Given Chilwell is reported to be sidelined until the end of this season, Chelsea could look to the January transfer window for a replacement.
Everton’s Lucas Digne and Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico are said to be among Chelsea’s top candidates to fill the void.
Marcos Alonso is Chelsea’s sole senior left-back in Chilwell’s absence.