Welcome back to The Corner, our weekly programme dedicated to the world of football.
Point of view
To finish second is like finishing last.
For the fourth time in history, Chelsea are the top of the table at the end of the year.
Interesting fact: the last three times they were in this position, they went on to win the title at the end of the season.
But watch out for Manchester City who won’t give up without a fight.
Southampton VS Chelsea
Southampton hung on under pressure in their home tie against Chelsea this weekend.
They held the London side to a draw, meaning Chelsea missed out on a chance to widen their lead at the top of the table.
The Saints went into an early lead, thanks to a goal by Sadio Mane, but Eden Hazard scored a stunning equaliser just seconds before halftime.
The pressure was on, but Southampton put up a strong fight.
Manchester City VS Burnley
It was a draw for second in the table Man City this weekend, too.
They blew a 2-0 halftime lead, missing out on the chance to close the gap on Chelsea.
David Silva opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, followed ten minutes later by a curling shot into the back of the net by Fernandinho.
Straight after halftime, George Boyd scored a contentious goal for The Clarets. Ashley Barnes pulled them level in the 81st minute. The final score was 2-2.
Up and Down
Now, let’s take a look at last week’s protagonists. Who went up and who took a dive?
It’s been a good week for Fernando Torres. He’s making a return to his boyhood club Atletico Madrid. He was just signed on a permanent contract to AC Milan, but will be released on loan in exchange for Alessio Cerci.
Former Crystal Palace boss Neil Warnock goes down this week. He became the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season. He leaves Palace in the relegation zone after a home defeat against Southampton on Boxing Day.
Also down: Zlatan Ibrahimovic was reportedly less than gracious when named second on a list of Swedish sports people of all time. When congratulated, he allegedly said: “Thank you, but to finish second is like finishing last.”
Five-time Wimbledon winner Björn Borg earned the top spot.
On this day
Thirteen years ago Xabi Alonso made his full international debut. But he wasn’t wearing the Spanish shirt…
On December 29 2001, Xabi Alonso made his first appearance for the national team, but it wasn’t for Spain. Then in his second season for Real Sociedad, the 20-year-old midfielder had already played once – in 2000 – for Spain’s under-18s side.
But Alonso, who was born in the Basque city of Tolosa, also qualified to play for the Basque Country’s national team. And in 2001, manager José Ángel Iribar called him up to play in a friendly against Ghana at the Estadio San Mamés in Bilbao. The home side won 3-2.
We might be wrong
We’re now at the section where we predict next weekend’s results.
Last week, we guessed the winning teams in the Boxing Day matches. OK, so we didn’t predict the correct scores, but for us getting the winning teams right is not bad! We’ll keep trying…
Remember to send us your predictions via the social networks using the hashtag #TheCornerScores.
Tottenham will host league leaders Chelsea. We predict the Blues will hang on to their top spot:
Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea
We think Southampton will hold the Gunners to a 2-2 draw at St Mary’s:
Southampton 2-2 Arsenal
Moving away from the Premiership, we expect Real Madrid to beat Valencia 3-1 away:
Valencia 1-3 Real Madrid
Finally, we predict Besiktas will beat Galatasaray 2-0.
Besiktas 2-0 Galatasaray
Robinho and Neymar played a practical joke on fans last week during a friendly match organised by the Blaugrana striker.
Watch the video to see what they got up to.
If you find any funny videos on the Net, or fancy making one yourself, send them to us using the hashtag #TheCornerBloopers.