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This weekend not only marks the beginning of the second half of this season but sees the final 3pm Premier League kick-offs of 2018.

A total of five matches were played with the pick of the bunch being title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur entertaining the ever-improving Wolverhampton Wanderers at Wembley stadium.

Still, there were four other encounters – Brighton & Hove Albion vs Everton, Fulham vs Huddersfield Town, Leicester City vs. Cardiff City and Watford vs Newcastle United – here are six things you might have missed.

1. Rondon carrying the No.9 burden

There was some wisdom in Rafael Benítez leaving Salomón Rondón out of Newcastle United’s recent visit to Anfield.

Although they were punished 4-0 by a Liverpool side pushing to win a first championship since 1990 this was a game the Magpies were never going to get much from.

During a congested festive period, with games coming thick and fast, it makes sense to pick the right battles. Away to Watford, for example, is less daunting.

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Rondón returned and Benítez was vindicated. His goal, near the 30 minute mark, was his third in five appearances. In fact the Venezuelan marksman has been involved in six of Newcastle’s last eight goals.

2. Wolves immune on the road against ‘top six’

Wolves romped to last season’s Championship and in preparation for their forthcoming Premier League campaign spent mega to ensure Nuno Espírito Santo had all the tools to keep them up.

So far, so good. After their opening 20 matches they sit on 29 points; there have been some hiccups, but impressively they are unbeaten on the road against English football’s “big six” clubs.

A point at Old Trafford (1-1) in September was matched by another at the Emirates (1-1) in November.

Not many gave them a chance against Spurs, more so after Harry Kane put them in front, but a stunning second half comeback made it five points from nine with games at Manchester City (whom they already took a point off), Chelsea and Liverpool still to come.

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3. Spurs yet to draw…

A curious statistic continues. After their opening 20 league matches this season Spurs are yet to pick up a single point in any game. Pochettino’s side either win (15) or lose (5).

This latest setback, ending a five-match winning streak, will no doubt put those in north London in a foul mood.

4. Get in my son

Is there a player in better recent form than Son Heung-min? He’s now been directly involved in 11 goals across his last 10 Premier League outings.

National duty, representing South Korea in last summer’s Asian Games, meant he missed three of Spurs’ opening four league matches.

Since returning, after guiding the Taegeuk Warriors to gold, Son has been determined to make up for lost time. His recent exploits included a brace away to Everton before following that up with another two-goal effort against Bournemouth.

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Now set to leave for the upcoming Asian Cup, after Spurs entertain Manchester United, the mercurial forward is ensuring Mauricio Pochettino’s men are in a healthy position.

5. Terriers lack bite 

Huddersfield Town, who enjoyed a first top-flight campaign since the early 1970s last season, left it very late in maintaining their Premier League status.

David Wagner – no doubt with a bright career ahead of him – knows full well they’re in another battle. Huddersfield, at the halfway stage, are bottom and five points away from safety. They are currently the league’s worst scorers having registered 12 goals across 20 matches.

Their cause isn’t helped by those brought in to fire them to glory. Beninese centre-forward Steve Mounié, who finished last season with seven goals in 28 league outings, has yet to find his name on the scoreboard.

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He’s now gone 1,403 minutes in the Premier League without scoring a goal. It’s no better with Laurent Depoitre; the Belgian marksman’s own drought is 1,016 minutes and counting. If Huddersfield are to get out of this mess then it’s imperative both find their scoring boots fast.

6. Etheridge Penalty King

Next month’s Asian Cup sees a number of Premier League footballers making their way to United Arab Emirates including notably Heung-min Son.

One individual who is not taking part is Cardiff City’s goalkeeper Neil Etheridge who has won 62 caps with the Philippines to date.

He’s staying due to his importance to Neil Warnock’s cause and that belief was again paid off by saving a third penalty (from five faced) of the season against Leicester City.

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To put that in perspective: no ‘keeper in the Premier League has saved more.

7. Locadia strikes again

Manchester United were afforded more breathing room in sixth place when Everton fell off the pace on the south coast. Jürgen Locadia’s ultra-close-range effort was enough to sink the Toffees on Saturday. The Seaguls are now 11 points clear of the drop zone.

Jürgen Locadia has scored two goals in his last two Premier League games for Brighton, having failed to score in his first 12 league appearances of the season.

The post Six things you might have missed from today’s 3pm Premier League kick-offs appeared first on Squawka News.

Source : Hitng.info
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