Premier League round-up: Burnley heap more misery on Moyes and Sunderland
Meanwhile, Shane Long’s goal wasn’t enough for Southampton as they lost out to West Brom
Sunderland manager David Moyes looks dejected as his side were easily beaten by Burnley at Turf Moor. Photo: Lee Smith/Reuters
Andre Gray scored a hat-trick as David Moyes’ wretched Sunderland were battered 4-1 by Burnley at Turf Moor.
Gray, who netted the winner against Middlesbrough on Boxing Day, took advantage of some calamitous defending by Papy Djilobodji on three occasions to score the Clarets’ first-ever Premier League treble.
Ashley Barnes added a fourth from the spot before Jermain Defoe claimed a consolation as the Clarets moved nine points clear of their opponents with a seventh home win of the season to round off a fine 2016 in style.
For the Black Cats, who lost Lamine Kone and Victor Anichebe to first-half injuries and are facing a quiet transfer window, hope will be in short supply when the new year arrives.
Moyes had made three changes in a bid to claim a crucial year-ending three points and his plan had John O’Shea as a defensive-midfield shield in an attacking team.
The Black Cats started brightly too but the writing looked to be on the wall as soon as Kone picked up an injury when colliding with an advertising hoarding as he tried to stop Gray firing into the side-netting.
After initial treatment, Kone carried on but conceded defeat in the 24th minute and O’Shea dropped back to form a central-defensive partnership with Djilobodji that wilted when facing its first real test.
From Scott Arfield’s long punt, both Sunderland centre-backs went to challenge Barnes and the ball came off O’Shea’s shoulder, allowing Gray to run through and slot beyond a collapsing Vito Mannone, who was unable to keep out a shot directed virtually straight at him.
Burnley were buoyed and Stephen Ward should have registered a shot on target from Matthew Lowton’s deep cross while Arfield steered another attempt wide.
By half-time, Anichebe had also succumbed to injury, stretching to try and stop George Boyd, meaning Moyes’ team had suffered as many injuries as they had had shots on goal.
If their first half was bad, the opening eight minutes after the break were considerably worse.
Burnley doubled their lead with another routine ball down the middle, this one from Marney sent in Gray’s direction. Last-man Djilobodji was more interested in trying to wrestle Gray to the ground and the former non-league striker shook him off, went around Mannone — who had darted out to the edge of the box — and passed into the empty net.
Just over two minutes later, Gray had a hat-trick. Steven Defour’s scooped pass into Barnes was chested into Gray’s path, with Senegalese Djilobodji lethargically trailing him, and he finished past Mannone.
The 25-year-old held the match-ball aloft to the crowd, but his team-mates still needed Gray’s spoils to inflict further misery.
The travelling support angrily chanted ‘Are you watching, Ellis Short?’ at their owner, while Burnley’s fans serenaded ex-Manchester United boss Moyes with, ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’.
A fourth goal came in the 67th-minute as Sebastian Larsson barged into Arfield and Barnes stepped up to hammer the penalty into the corner.
Defoe’s 71st-minute consolation at least prevented it from becoming Sunderland’s biggest defeat of the season, but the chasm between them and one of their relegation rivals now stands at nine points.
Leicester 1 West Ham 0
Islam Slimani eased any growing relegation pressure at Leicester as the champions held on to beat West Ham 1-0.
The striker’s header sent the Foxes six points clear of the Premier League bottom three with just a second top-flight win since October.
Michail Antonio hit the bar for the Hammers who, despite dominating the second half, failed to find a way through to end their run of three straight wins.
The Foxes finished a year where they won a shock title on a high after a poor first half to the season which has seen them drift dangerously close to the drop zone.
Victory halted West Ham’s rise up the table and Leicester are now just two points behind the Hammers.
Boss Claudio Ranieri had urged his team to give him more and they delivered during a frantic first half before riding out second-half pressure from the visitors.
The recalled Riyad Mahrez forced Darren Randolph into a smart save after just 70 seconds before Slimani wasted a fine opening after four minutes.
Marc Albrighton and Danny Simpson combined to send Albrighton clear and his deep cross was met by Slimani, only for the striker to head against the outside of a post.
The Algeria international, with just two goals in his previous 11 games, should have scored and the Foxes briefly rode their luck when Antonio snatched at chances at the far post.
But Leicester were on top and had rediscovered the intensity which was so badly lacking in their 2-0 defeat to Everton on Boxing Day.
With Mahrez taking up attention behind Slimani, wingers Demarai Gray and Albrighton were given extra space and it was Albrighton who conjured the winner after 20 minutes.
A slick one-touch move saw Danny Drinkwater feed Albrighton on the right and his outstanding first-time delivery looped on to Slimani’s head and the forward gave Randolph no chance from six yards.
It was a lead Leicester deserved and one they almost doubled immediately, but Randolph denied Slimani from point-blank range.
With the threat of the bottom three real, the Foxes went about their business with an efficiency and tenacity which had not been seen enough this season.
Shades of last year’s title triumph shone through as they refused to allow West Ham time, with Gray again impressing on just his third Premier League start of the season.
But, rather than inspire the champions, their efforts roused the visitors, who nearly levelled, Kasper Schmeichel saving from Dimitri Payet and Andre Ayew failing to turn the ball in during the subsequent scramble.
Antonio then came the closest to equalising two minutes before the break when his smart volley from 15 yards rattled the bar.
Schmeichel saved Payet’s free-kick before Randolph was forced to do the same with a Mahrez effort in added time at the end of the half.
The break came at the right time for the Foxes and referee Anthony Taylor, who had begun to lose control with a series of questionable decisions throughout the half.
If the first half was played at breakneck speed, the second failed to live up to expectations as the Hammers tried to fight back.
But, with defences on top, neither side managed to maintain the excitement, with Randolph and Schmeichel under-employed until the Leicester keeper needed to be alert after 67 minutes.
Albrighton brought down Manuel Lanzini and Aaron Cresswell’s free kick deflected off Ben Chilwell to force the Dane into a fine low stop on the line.
The Hammers dictated play in the second period, but, with Andy Carroll and Payet misfiring, were too predictable and any attempt to break through was met by comfortable resistance from the Foxes.
When the visitors did threaten, Carroll headed wide with five minutes left before Chilwell and Shinji Okazaki almost made the game safe in injury time.
Southampton 1 West Brom 2
Hal Robson-Kanu fired his first goal of the season as West Brom clinched a 2-1 Premier League win over 10-man Southampton at St Mary’s.
Matt Phillips drove home West Brom’s first before playing in Robson-Kanu for a stunning winner — his maiden strike for the Baggies.
Former West Brom striker Shane Long had earlier ended a 21-match drought for his first goal for Saints this term, only for Claude Puel’s muddled strategy to trip up his side once more.
Home captain Virgil van Dijk was sent off for a second yellow card at the death to cap a wretched afternoon for the hosts.
Defender Allan Nyom had earlier been lucky to escape seeing red for West Brom, avoiding a second booking despite clumsily clattering Dusan Tadic.
West Brom boss Tony Pulis withdrew the 28-year-old shortly after half-time, pitching in midfielder James McClean and demanding a more attacking outlook.
The switch immediately paid off, with Robson-Kanu lighting up the south coast by unleashing a strike of the highest quality.
West Brom leapfrogged Southampton into eighth in the table with the win, leaving the Saints to rue their continued incoherence in attack.
Pulis had come under fire for his ultra-defensive strategy in consecutive 1-0 away defeats at Chelsea and Arsenal — but showed his more progressive qualities here as the visitors pulled off a solid victory.
Southampton bossed territory and possession from the off, but appeared rudderless in the final third.
That frequent lack of incision under Puel can account in part for Long’s troubles in front of goal.
The Ireland forward struck 13 goals under Ronald Koeman last term, but had since drawn a blank.
So after 21 appearances in all competitions without a goal, Long met his first-half header with palpable relief.
Tadic’s corner allowed Long to peel off and lose Nyom, then head past Ben Foster at the near post.
Just as Saints were toasting the breakthrough however, Chris Brunt fed Phillips - and the former QPR winger drilled in a fine equaliser.
The emboldened Baggies withdrew the troubled Nyom for McClean shortly after the break, switching their system in an aggressive bid to control the clash.
The dividends were immediate, as Phillips sent Robson-Kanu haring clear of Saints’ fast evaporating cover.
The Wales forward took just one touch before unleashing a pile driver that stunned Fraser Forster and wrestled the visitors into a 2-1 lead.
Southampton boss Puel threw Jay Rodriguez into attack in a bid to alter the outcome, but still the hosts appeared to be clutching at straws on the front foot.
And when Van Dijk upended the onrushing Salomon Rondon just outside the Saints box, the ignominy was all but complete for Saints.
The Dutchman was rightly given his marching orders for a second booking, as he collided with West Brom striker Rondon.
Replacement striker Rondon actually wasted two fine chances late on, but still West Brom eased home.
Managerless Swansea will welcome in the new year bottom of the Premier League after Bournemouth completed a comfortable 3-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium.
Benik Afobe and Ryan Fraser scored first-half goals before substitute Josh King added the gloss two minutes from time.
The Cherries inflicted a fourth successive defeat on Swansea who face a huge task to avoid the drop in 2017.
Swansea hope to have a new manager in charge for Tuesday’s trip to Crystal Palace — former Derby boss and current Bayern Munich assistant Paul Clement is the favourite — but it will need some rescue act to prolong the club’s top-flight stay.
Having sacked Bob Bradley after the Boxing Day drubbing by West Ham, Swansea were looking for an immediate lift under the caretaker charge of Alan Curtis. Hull’s draw with Everton on Friday night had dropped the Welsh side to the foot of the table.
It is not an unfamiliar task for club stalwart Curtis, who has held the fort in the past when times have been challenging, but Swansea have never had it so bad in the Premier League with only 12 points at the halfway point of the season.
For Bournemouth, however, it is indeed a happy new year with Eddie Howe’s easy-on-the-eye Cherries greeting 2017 in 10th place on 24 points and looking upwards, rather than below.
Curtis made seven changes from Bradley’s final team selection and, with the toxic atmosphere of Boxing Day having gone with the American, it seemed as if he had addressed one of the problems inside 30 seconds.
Swansea have regularly been accused of being too nice and not getting in the faces of opponents, but Ki Sung-yeung was booked inside 30 seconds for felling Fraser.
But Swansea’s customary failings were still evident, as they were easily bypassed in midfield and their soft centre of a defence proved unable to withstand pressure when it was applied.
Bournemouth were enjoying time and space in possession with the on-loan Jack Wilshere the heartbeat of a midfield which took a firm grip on proceedings.
Junior Stanislas had an early sighter which Lukasz Fabianski tipped over, but Bournemouth did not have to wait long for the lead with Swansea contributing to their downfall after 27 minutes.
Afobe shook off the attention of Alfie Mawson far too easily and Wilshere’s pass to Fraser sounded panic stations in Swansea ranks as Jordi Amat turned the Scot’s cross goalwards.
Fabianski produced an excellent point-blank to prevent an own goal, but Afobe was the first to react and strike the rebound home.
Amat’s embarrassment was compounded by a booking which rules him out of the Crystal Palace game, and there was was more misery for the Spaniard and his fellow defenders after Stanislas had seen his effort correctly ruled out for offside.
On the stroke of half-time Swansea stood like statues as Stanislas played a one-two with Wilshere and fed the ball across the six-yard box for Fraser to finish for his second goal in four games.
By then, Curtis had already introduced the pace of Modou Barrow to sharpen an attack which failed to muster a single on-target attempt in the first half.
But Bournemouth were rampant on the counter-attack and Stanislas and Afobe should have extended the lead.
However, as Swansea huffed and puffed, King scampered through in the closing stages to secure a scoreline which did not flatter Bournemouth in the slightest.