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Dhaka Tribune

Villa joint top of Premier League, City close in

Despite missing Haaland for a 7th consecutive game due to a foot injury, City were never troubled by the bottom-of-the-table Blades

Update : 30 Dec 2023, 11:35 PM

Douglas Luiz's late penalty took Aston Villa joint top of the Premier League with a 3-2 win over 10-man Burnley Saturday as Manchester City closed on the leaders by sweeping aside Sheffield United 2-0.

It looked like a festive season to forget for Villa was set to continue after dropping points at home for the first time this season to Sheffield and blowing a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at Manchester United on Boxing Day.

But Luiz's spot-kick that crept in off the underside of the bar sent Unai Emery's men level on points with Liverpool at the top of the table and break Burnley hearts.

Leon Bailey's opener for the home side was quickly cancelled out by Zeki Amdouni.

Moussa Diaby restored Villa's lead before half-time and they had a man advantage for the final 35 minutes after Sander Berge saw a second yellow card.

But Villa's high line is begging to be picked off by opponents and Lyle Foster timed his run to blast past Emiliano Martinez 19 minutes from time.

There was a final twist though as Jhon Duran was upended inside the box and Luiz fired home.

Despite missing Erling Haaland for a seventh consecutive game due to a foot injury, City were never troubled by the bottom-of-the-table Blades.

Rodri ended Sheffield's resistance after just 14 minutes when the Spanish midfielder surged forward and fired low into the far corner.

Julian Alvarez again ably filled Haaland's shoes as the Argentine tapped in his fourth goal in three games to make the points safe from Phil Foden's cross just after the hour mark.

City move alongside Arsenal on 40 points, just two points behind Villa and Liverpool, who are in action at home to Newcastle United Monday.

Chelsea snapped a run of four consecutive away defeats thanks to Cole Palmer's double but had to withstand a nervy finale to beat Luton Town 3-2.

Powerful strikes from Palmer and Noni Madueke gave the visitors a 2-0 half-time lead.

Mauricio Pochettino's men appeared to have ridden out a second half storm when Palmer's classy finish made it 3-0.

Former Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley sparked a Luton revival and Elijah Adebayo bundled home from close range to set up a thrilling finale.

"That is the Premier League. Luton are a team that fight until the end, you could see that from their games against Liverpool and Arsenal and City and Newcastle," said Pochettino.

"We controlled the game until the 65th minute. We needed to win and we deserved the result."

Luton remain just one point adrift of safety as Everton slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanders.

Max Kilman, Matheus Cunha and Craig Dawson were on target for Gary O'Neil's men, who secured a third win in seven days.

Any fears that Crystal Palace could be dragged into the relegation battle were eased by the Eagles first win in nine games as Brentford were beaten 3-1 at Selhurst Park.

The return of Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze from injury should ensure that Palace's Premier League status does not come under threat in 2024.

After Keane Lewis-Potter opened the scoring for Brentford, Olise struck twice either side of Eze's cool finish to secure just Palace's second home win of the season.

United are aiming to build on their stunning comeback against Villa when they travel to Nottingham Forest later Saturday.

RESULTS

Villa 3 (Bailey 28, Diaby 42, Luiz 89-P) Burnley 2 (Amdouni 31, Foster 71)

Palace 3 (Olise 14, 58, Eze 39) Brentford 1 (Lewis-Potter 2)

Luton 2 (Barkley 80, Adebayo 87) Chelsea 3 (Palmer 12, 70, Madueke 37)

Man City 2 (Rodri 14, Alvarez 61) Sheffield Utd 0

Wolves 3 (Kilman 25, Cunha 53, Dawson 61) Everton 0

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