While many teams will be looking to Thursday’s transfer deadline, Wednesday brought more Premier League action.
Four games took place in total, with league leaders Liverpool looking to extend their lead over Manchester City when they welcomed Leicester City to Anfield. However, the Reds could only muster a draw to keep them five points clear at the top.
Elsewhere Chelsea were humiliated away at Bournemouth, Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to beat Watford and Southampton and Crystal Palace shared a point apiece.
But what did we learn from the night?
1. Higuain struggles in Premier League debut for woodwork-happy Chelsea
When Chelsea traded Alvaro Morata in for Gonzalo Higuain at the weekend, fans were hoping the Argentinian could bring in new luck in front of goal.
But, after a goalless debut against Sheffield Wednesday, it was more of the same from Higuain on his Premier League bow.
Gonzalo Higuaín’s Premier League debut by numbers:
0 chances created
Oh, Chelsea also lost 4-0. pic.twitter.com/NYUD1BfakA
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 30, 2019
Much like Morata had suffered in the first half of the season, Higuain was a victim of Chelsea’s poor attacking play, with the Blues not watching out for their forward’s runs.
In his first half of Premier League football, Higuain failed to have a single shot on target but was caught offside on two occasions – far too reminiscent of some of Morata’s performances.
To make matters worse for the Argentinian, he was subbed off after an hour for Olivier Giroud, much to the annoyance of those Chelsea fans in the ground who chanted at Sarri, “”You don’t know what you’re doing.”
But it could have been so different for Chelsea in the first half had Mateo Kovacic’s header not been pushed onto the bar by Artur Boruc. It was the 17th time Chelsea have hit the woodwork in the Premier League this season, five more than any other team.
If Chelsea were on top in the first half, they were anything but in the second. Bournemouth took the lead just one minute after half-time and went on to score another three – putting their opponents to the sword and making the most of horrific defending from the Blues back line. The defeat sees Chelsea drop out of the top four on goal difference, with Arsenal replacing them.
In a cruel case of deja vu for Chelsea, the Blues marked the end of January with a defeat to Bournemouth for the second season in a row – having lost 3-0 at home to the Cherries at Stamford Bridge on January 31, 2018. It was also Chelsea’s heaviest Premier League defeat since they lost 5-1 against Liverpool in 1996.
Sarri may just have a busy deadline day.
2. Son returns to save Tottenham
Oh how Tottenham have missed Son Heung-min.
Spurs have had a horrid past week, being knocked out of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup in their past two matches – having to face Chelsea and Crystal Palace respectively without Son, Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 30, 2019
Both Kane and Alli are injured and out for the foreseeable future, but Son’s absence was due to his participation in the Asian Cup with South Korea.
Spurs fans, then, would have undoubtedly been happy when Son and South Korea were knocked out of the competition earlier than expected as they fell 1-0 to Qatar in the quarter-finals.
If they were happy then, they would have been ecstatic to see Son in the starting XI and back on the scoresheet to equalise for Tottenham against Watford at Wembley.
Son’s goal then saw Tottenham find an extra gear against their opponents with Fernando Llorente, overcoming a poor miss to hand Spurs all three points.
The victory sees Tottenham now just two points behind second-placed Manchester City after their defeat to Newcastle United on Tuesday.
3. David Brooks’s brilliant Premier League season goes on
Although Chelsea may be cursing their luck in the first half, Bournemouth were excellent after half-time and led well by David Brooks.
Brooks is enjoying a marvellous first season in the Premier League having joined Bournemouth from Sheffield United last summer.
David Brooks has been directly been involved in 10 Premier League goals this season:
⚽️ 6 goals
🅰 4 assists
One of each this evening against Chelsea. 🔵 pic.twitter.com/30IN8Umu0d
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 30, 2019
Going into Wednesday’s game, the Welsh midfielder was Bournemouth’s joint-third highest scorer with five goals while also recording three assists.
But, in a fine performance, Brooks took his Premier League goal involvement to 10 with a goal and assist as Bournemouth put Chelsea to the sword.
The assist came first just moments after half-time as he made a good off-the-ball run into the box before neatly cutting back to Josh King for the opener.
Less than 15 minutes later, Brooks got his own name on the scoresheet, putting pressure on David Luiz before linking up well with King and doubling Bournemouth’s lead.
Unfortunately, the 21-year-old had to go off after 69 minutes having picked up an injury, though it did not look too serious as to worry Bournemouth.
4. Wilfried Zaha ends 18-game goal drought
There’s no denying Wilfried Zaha has had a quiet season by his own standards, but against Southampton, the Ivorian reminded fans just how dangerous he can be.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 30, 2019
Prior to Wednesday’s game, Zaha had scored just three goals in 20 Premier League games – all of which had come in his first four matches of the season. The forward had also failed to score in two FA Cup games, making it 18 in a row without finding the net.
Against Southampton, however, it all came to an end. Impressive from the off, it took Zaha 41 minutes to break the Saints’ defence bringing his fourth goal of the season.
Interestingly, it was also the fourth he had scored away from home during the current campaign – Zaha is yet to score at Selhurst Park with his last home goal coming on the final day of the 2017/18 season.
But, his day turned sour as he received two yellow cards in the space of a minute, one for a bad tackle and a second for dissent – his fourth red card for Crystal Palace.
5. Callum Hudson-Odoi will be scratching his head
What a bizarre past seven days Callum Hudson-Odoi has had.
On Saturday it was announced Hudson-Odoi had handed in his transfer request to try and force a move away to Bayern Munich before Thursday’s transfer deadline. A day later, the teenager started and scored in Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup fourth round win over Sheffield Wednesday before keeping quiet when quizzed over his future.
In the build up to Wednesday’s match against Bournemouth, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri confirmed the club would not be selling Hudson-Odoi in this window and likely the next, remaining firm on their stance of keeping the youngster.
“The club told me in this window he will remain with us for sure, and very probably also in the next. I am very happy with this,” Sarri told reporters.
“I don’t have the power to sign new contracts here. On the pitch I am really very happy with him. He is improving. He will be the future of our club, and the future of English future.”
But, despite Hudson-Odoi being the future of the club, the teenager had no space on Chelsea’s bench for the trip to Bournemouth with Pedro starting and Willian picked ahead of him on the bench.
Sitting behind the Chelsea bench, Hudson-Odoi had to watch on as his team-mates were embarrassed by the home side. With just one day remaining in the transfer window, and Chelsea adamant in keeping him, Hudson-Odoi may be finding himself watching from the stands a lot more.
6. The Premier League title race is still on
When Man City lost 2-1 to Newcastle on Tuesday, there were some fears the Premier League title race would be over with a Liverpool win against Leicester.
The Reds took the lead after just two minutes, bringing more groans among the City faithful and potentially those still eager to see a close title race for the remainder of the season.
But, just like City, Liverpool were unable to keep hold of their early lead with Harry Maguire equalising just before half-time.
Although the Reds would earn a point, extending their lead over Man City to five, Jurgen Klopp’s men will certainly feel it was an opportunity missed to put some distance between them and their title rivals.