Premier League review – December 2019

Premier League

Liverpool's procession towards the Premier League title gathered pace during December, while elsewhere there were four new managers in the division.

The month started with bottom-club Watford parting ways with their second manager of the season, with Quique Sanchez Flores’ return to the club lasting just 85 days – the fifth shortest reign in Premier League history.

Nigel Pearson was chosen as the man to replace Flores and he oversaw an upturn in form during the latter part of the month, most notably a 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Vicarage Road, as the Hornets finally lifted themselves off the bottom of the table, although not out of the relegation zone.

Everton were also in search of a new manager after parting ways with Marco Silva following their 5-2 derby defeat to Liverpool on December 5, a result that saw the Toffees slip into the bottom three.

Fans favourite Duncan Ferguson took over the reigns on an interim basis and he oversaw an impressive run of results that included a victory over Chelsea and a draw at Manchester United.

Ferguson’s final match in charge was the 0-0 draw with Arsenal on December 21, a game that was watched by incoming Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti, while the Gunners also had their new manager in the stands, with Mikel Arteta having finally been confirmed as Unai Emery’s successor at the Emirates Stadium.

The final managerial change of the month and decade was at the London Stadium, as West Ham parted ways with Manuel Pellegrini following a run of two wins in 13 games that had seen them slip to within a point of the relegation zone.

Former Hammers boss David Moyes was confirmed as the Chilean’s successor.

Liverpool ended the year having extended their lead at the top of the standings to 13 points, following another perfect month that saw Jurgen Klopp and Trent Alexander-Arnold scoop the Premier League manager and player of the month awards respectively, while the Reds also triumphed in Qatar at the Club World Cup.

Leicester remained second despite losing to both the Reds and Manchester City during the month, while the Citizens also came unstuck twice against Manchester United and Wolves – the latter completing the league double over Pep Guardiola’s side with their 3-2 win at Molineux.

At the other end of the table it was Norwich that had replaced Watford at the foot, after the Canaries failed to win any of their seven games during the month.

Aston Villa completed the bottom three, although they were just a point adrift of 17th-placed West Ham, while Bournemouth were also moving in the wrong direction following a run of seven defeats in nine games, the only bright spot being a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

December’s Premier League goal of the month award went to Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, who produced a superb individual effort as Jose Mourinho’s side thrashed Burnley 5-0 on December 7.