Man City fall behind in title race after Everton draw

Manchester City slipped off the pace in their bid to catch up with Premier League leaders Arsenal as they were held to a 1-1 draw by strugglers Everton in their final match of the year.

Erling Haaland made a positive start for Pep Guardiola’s men when he latched on to Riyad Mahrez’s pass to tap home his 21st league goal of the season.

After a number of stoppages early in the second half, with one taking over six minutes as the assistant referee’s communications headset was repaired, Demarai Gray levelled for the visitors.

The Everton winger surged up the left-hand flank in a rare counter-attack before cutting inside and unleashing a curling effort from the edge of the box which left City goalkeeper Ederson beaten.

The result left second-placed City four points behind Arsenal having played a game more, while Everton are 16th with 15 points. They are two points above the relegation zone.

Newcastle winning run comes to an end with Leeds draw

Newcastle United missed the chance to close the gap to leaders Arsenal at the top of the Premier League after they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Leeds United on Saturday.

Looking for their seventh successive league win against Leeds, Newcastle struggled to create clear openings in the first half, New Zealand striker Chris Wood going closest for the hosts.

Wood was again presented with a golden chance early in the second half, but was thwarted by a fine save from Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier, before Sean Longstaff fired over when put through on goal.

Chances continued to come and go for Newcastle, but they were unable to find a late winner despite creating plenty of pressure, leaving the hosts provisionally third in the standings, two points ahead of Manchester United in fourth. Leeds move up to 14th with the draw.

Southampton stay rock bottom after defeat by Fulham

Southampton will end the year rock bottom of the Premier League and facing a fight for survival after conceding a late goal to slide to a 2-1 defeat by Fulham on Saturday.

New manager Nathan Jones looked set to earn his first point in charge until Joao Palhinha’s powerful strike restored Fulham’s lead in the 88th minute.

Aleksandar Mitrovic then had a stoppage-time penalty saved by Southampton goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu but the damage was done as Saints suffered a fifth successive league defeat.

Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse’s superb free kick in the 56th minute looked like securing a draw which would have lifted his side off the foot of the table.

It made amends after he had scored at the wrong end in the 32nd minute by deflecting Joao Palhinha’s effort into his own goal, but it was to prove in vain.

Southampton have 12 points from 17 games while Fulham moved into the top seven with 25 points.

Set pieces give Crystal Palace away win at Bournemouth

Crystal Palace scored twice from set pieces in the first half to beat Bournemouth 2-0 away in the Premier League on Saturday, banishing their Boxing Day blues and finishing the year on a high.

Jordan Ayew and Eberechi Eze both converted from corners at a rain-soaked Vitality Stadium as Palace put aside criticism from manager Patrick Vieira after Monday’s 3-0 loss to Fulham and posted a third win in their last five league fixtures.

Ayew had Palace ahead after 19 minutes as he rose unchallenged to glance his header wide of goalkeeper Mark Travers with Bournemouth guilty of ball watching as the corner came across.

Eze’s effort in the 36th minute was just as simple as a corner was cut back to him on the edge of the penalty area and, with no defender anywhere near him, he hammered the ball home to double the visitors’ lead.

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