Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been looking back and reviewing some of the key events to happen in the world of football during 2019. With 2020 officially with us, the month of December came to an end. So here’s our final 2019 football recap, where we look back to what happened in the last month of 2019 and the last month of the previous decade. If you would like to look at our previous recaps, click on the relevant title below.
2019 Football Recap - December
Marco Silva and Manuel Pellegrini are sacked
The Premier League managerial casualties continued into December as 2 more Premier League managers faced the axe. Marco Silva was many people’s favourite to be the first Premier League manager to face the axe, and despite him not being the first, the inevitable did happen when it was announced that he had left Everton on the 5th of December, the day after their 5-2 defeat at Anfield in the Merseyside Derby. Everton’s decision to sack Silva wasn’t a surprise, as in the run-up to the decision, Everton had lost 8 out of 13 games, with the defeat to Liverpool proving to be the final straw.
The second managerial casualty to take place during December involved West Ham as they decided to part ways with Manuel Pellegrini. Similar to Silva, the sacking of Pellegrini looked inevitable due to West Ham’s abysmal form where they had won only 3 out of 15 games, with a 2-1 defeat to Leicester at the London Stadium on the 28th of December proving to be the final straw for Pellegrini as he was sacked the same day.
Premier League managerial appointments
December saw 4 new managerial appointments in the Premier League, with former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson taking the job at Watford, Carlo Ancelotti replacing Marco Silva at Goodison Park, Mikel Arteta becoming the permanent manager of Arsenal, and David Moyes returning to West Ham.
In the eyes of many football fans, the busy festive period around Christmas is one of the best periods of the seasons, with the games coming in thick and fast.
Liverpool went into December with a healthy 8 point lead at the top of the table, but as a result of a perfect December where they won all 5 of their Premier League games, including a 5-2 win over Everton in the Merseyside derby and a 4-0 win over Leicester at the King Power Stadium, Liverpool increased their lead at the top of the table to 13 points, with Liverpool also having a game in hand due to the Club World Cup.
December also saw the first Manchester derby of the season, with Manchester City being heavy favourites for the win. That didn’t turn out to be the case as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial put United 2-0 up at half-time. Nicolas Otamendi pulled one back for City in the second half but they were unable to find an equaliser as United were victorious at the Etihad Stadium.
Find below some of the key Premier League results to take place during December:
- Manchester United 2-2 Aston Villa
- Norwich 2-2 Arsenal
- Burnley 1-4 Manchester City
- Liverpool 5-2 Everton
- Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham
- Arsenal 1-2 Brighton
- Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United
- Tottenham 5-0 Burnley
- Bournemouth 0-3 Liverpool
- Everton 3-1 Chelsea
- Aston Villa 1-4 Leicester
- Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth
- Manchester United 1-1 Everton
- Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City
- Manchester City 3-1 Leicester
- Everton 0-0 Arsenal
- Tottenham 0-2 Chelsea
- Watford 2-0 Manchester United
- Leicester 0-4 Liverpool
- Manchester United 4-1 Newcastle
- Chelsea 0-2 Southampton
- Bournemouth 1-1 Arsenal
- Wolves 3-2 Manchester City
- Norwich 2-2 Tottenham
- Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
Final Champions League group stage games
Gameweek 6 was crucial for Liverpool and Chelsea as they were yet to guarantee qualification to the round of 16. Saying that, both clubs had their fate in their own hands and as a win for them would advance them to the next round. Chelsea hosted French club Lille at Stamford Bridge in their final game and 2 first-half goals from Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta put them well on their way to the next round, and despite a tense end to the game after Loic Remy’s goal in the 78th minute, Chelsea saw the game out and qualified for the round of 16. Liverpool faced a tough test as they travelled to Austria to face RB Salzburg, but 2 second half goals from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah gave them a 2-0 victory meaning that they joined Chelsea in the round of 16.
Both Manchester City and Tottenham had sealed their places in the round of 16 before their final group stage games where both sides would face away ties, with Manchester City heading to Croatia to face Dinamo Zagreb, and Tottenham facing Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Despite having already qualified, Manchester City went for the win in Croatia, with a Gabriel Jesus hat-trick helping them to a 4-1 win, with Phil Foden also getting on the scoresheet for City. Not many would have thought that Tottenham would get anything in their game against Bayern Munich considering that the Germans were victorious in a 7-2 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium earlier in the season. Unfortunately for Jose Mourinho and Tottenham, they were once again on the wrong side of the result as Bayern were victorious in a 3-1 win. If you’d like a more in-depth look at gameweek 6 of Champions League group stage, the link below will take you to our round-up.
Final Europa League group stage game
The final Europa League group stage games also took place during December. Out of the British sides, only Manchester United and Wolves were victorious during gameweek 6, with Manchester United beating AZ Alkmaar 4-0 at Old Trafford to guarantee that they would be group winners, and Wolves beating Besiktas 4-0 at Molineux.
Both Arsenal and Ranger could only pick up a point in their final Europa League, with Arsenal drawing 2-2 with Standard Liege in Belgium, and Rangers drawing 1-1 with Young Boys at Ibrox.
The only British side who were unable to pick up any points during gameweek 6 was Celtic as they were beaten 2-0 by Romanian side Cluj. The defeat wasn’t an issue for Celtic however as they had already guaranteed qualification to the round of 32. In fact, all of the British sides qualified for the round of 16.
Carabao Cup - Quarter-Finals
The Carabao Cup reached the quarter-finals in December, with: Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Leicester, Aston Villa, Everton, Oxford and Colchester all fighting for a place in the semi-finals.
As a result of their participation in the Club World Cup finals, Liverpool had to play a weakened side in their tie against Aston Villa, causing them to field their youngest ever starting 11 for the game. The inexperience of the squad was shown as Aston Villa were victorious in a 5-0 defeat, to send them to the semi-finals.
Both Manchester clubs were also expected to pick up victories during the quarter-finals, as Manchester United hosted Colchester at Old Trafford, and Manchester City faced an away trip to Oxford. Naturally, both sides enjoyed comfortable victories, as Manchester United beat Colchester 3-0 and Manchester city beat Oxford 3-1.
The fourth quarter-final saw Everton host Leicester at Goodison Park, with the game looking like it could be over in the first half after goals from James Maddison and Johnny Evans gave Leicester a 2-0 lead going into half-time. Everton found their way back into the game and goals from Tom Davies and Leighton Baines and brought them level and took the game to penalties, with Leicester winning 4-2 in the shoot-out. Find all of the results for the Carabao Cup quarter-finals below:
- Aston Villa 5-0 Liverpool
- Everton 2-2 Leicester (Leicester win 4-2 on penalties)
- Oxford 1-3 Manchester City
- Manchester United 3-0 Colchester
FIFA Club World Cup
As a result of winning the Champions League during the 18/19 season, Liverpool had the opportunity to become world champions by competing in the Club World Cup. Liverpool had yet to win the trophy, as a defeat to Sao Paulo in the final back in 2005 meant that they had missed out.
After a semi-final victory over Mexican side Monterrey on the 18th of December, Liverpool sealed a place in the final where they would once again face Brazilian opposition in the form of Flamengo. After a goalless 90 minutes, the game was taken to extra time, with Roberto Firmino opening the scoring after 99 minutes. That goal turned out to be the only goal of the game and Liverpool were victorious in the final and became the second English club to win the Club World Cup.
Despite the window not being open until January, as a result of many European Leagues having winter breaks, clubs are capable of making signings during January. Find some of the transfers to occur during December.
- Erling Haaland to Borussia Dortmund
- Julian Weigl to Benfica
- Takumi Minamino to Liverpool