RECAP: BOXING DAY ACTION
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KENYA BROWN - Friday, December 27, 2019
Christian Pulisic came off the bench for Cheslea as they fell to Southampton while DeAndre Yedlin and Newcastle were throttle by Manchester United as the holiday schedule kicked off in England.

Chelsea 0-2 Southampton

Goals in both halves saw Southampton continue their march away from the relegation zone as they came away with the shock win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Christian Pulisic, who was rested in the Blues previous game, came off the bench to play 23 minutes as the team's struggles continue and the pressure mounts on them to hold on to fourth place with several teams just behind them.

After a morale-boosting win over Tottenham a few days ago, Chelsea had the chance to build on that against a Southampton team that is looking to as far away from the drop zone as possible after a rough few months.

And the Saints got the ball rolling when they broke the scoreless deadlock a minute past the half-hour mark when Michael Obafemi found the back of the net with a curling shot past Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa. The team pressured Callum Hudson-Odoi to turnover the ball, allowing Pierre Hojbjerg to play to the Ivory Coast international, who sped his way towards the area, cut inside Kurt Zouma before getting his on target.

After a sluggish first half, the host seemed to come to life at the restart when Mason Mount fed the ball to Tammy Abraham to have a shot at goal. However, his effort his the side netting.

The visitors seemed to have a spring in their step as they were not satisfied with the single goal. They would pressure the Chelsea backline with several counter-attacks, but the final ball would just come for them.

Pulisic would enter the games in the 67th minute for an ineffection Hudson-Odoi, but even his appearance could not help the host as Southampton finally found their insurance goal.

Nathan Redmond, who had threatened to score for some periods of the game, finally found the back of the net in the 73rd minute when Stuart Armstrong chipped the ball towards the foward and he was able to poke past Kepa.

Pulisic tried to pull one back for Chelsea two minutes later when Mount played the ball to him, but Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy just got his fingertips on it to push it wide of the goal.

A frustrating night for the Blues as their hopes of solidifying a place in the top four is now under serious threat.

Chelsea remains in fourth place in the standings with 32 points.

Manchester United 4-1 Newcastle United

Manchest United responded with a flurry of goals after falling behind early to seal the win over Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

DeAndre Yedlin entered the game in the second half to play 27 minutes as the Magpies are still not safe from the relegation zone despite being in the middle of the standings.

The visitors started things off right and gave the Red Devil supporters a shock 17 minutes in when Joelinton set up Matthew Longstaff to slot the ball into the goal.

However, that would be all Newcastle could do on the night, as the host responded and did not look back.

Anthony Martial leveled the score in the 24th minute when some excellent work on the left side saw Luke Shaw break through the Newcastle back line before passing the ball onto Andreas Pereira. The Brazilian then left for the French international to finish as he unleashed a curling shot at the near post that goalkeeper Martin Dubravka should have had no problems saving.

Manchester United took the lead 12 minutes later through Mason Greenwood as the pressured the Magpies to turn the ball over in their area, allowing the youngster to fire his shot over the outstretched hand of the goalkeeper.

Marcus Rashford added the host's third four minutes before halftime when he headed in a cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

That momentum of the game had totally shifted to the Red Devils and they kept their goal-scoring run going in the second half when Martial was on target again in the 51st minute with a delicate chip over Debravka to guarantee a comfortable win.

Newcastle remains in 10th place in the standings with 25 points.

Luton Town 3-3 Fulham

Bobby Reid's stoppage-time goal ensure Fulham would steal a point in a thrilling game against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.

Tim Ream started for the Cottagers and played the full 90 minutes in a game that they could have lost due to some costly errors.

The problems started for the visitors just five minutes in when goalkeeper Marek Rodak rolled the ball to Alfie Mawson well in their area. The center-back was put under pressure from Kazenga LuaLua, forcing him into a turnover that Jamie Collins would pounce on and then leave for the Democratic Republic of Congo international to finish off.

However, Fulham kept their composure to find the equalizer four minutes later when Ivan Cavaleiro's cross from the right side found Reid unmarked in the middle of the area, allowing him to head the ball home with ease.

Collins restored the host's lead in the 28th minute James Bree headed the ball into his path from a free-kick and he was able to get his shot past Rodak. Fulham players had pleaded with the referee for a handball as it appeared that Bree's arm made contact with the ball. But the goal stood in the end.

The back-and-forth continued in the second half, with the Cottagers once again tying up the score in the 77th minute. Aleksandar Mitrovic was on the spot to head a corner kick from Antony Knockaert.

It then seemed that Luton Town had scored the game-winner in the 84th minute when Harry Cornick found the back of the net after Ream played a weak pass to teammate Joe Bryan, leading to another turnover.

But in the end, with stoppage time already four minutes in, Reid would become the hero for Fulham as he was in the right place at the right time to put away the fumbled ball from Luton goalkeeper Simon Sluga.

Fulham has now dropped to fifth place in the standings with 39 points, still nine off the second automatic promotion spot currently held by Leeds United.

Notes

In the Championship, Eric Lichaj and Hull City's chance to gain further ground in their pursuit of a promotion playoff spot was thwarted by Nottingham Forest in a 2-0 defeat.

Antonee Robinson and Duane Holmes were involved in the game between Wigan Athletic and Derby County, with the Rams scoring a late equalizer to steal a point in the 1-1 tie.

Geoff Cameron played 68 minutes for Queens Park Rangers while Matt Miazga watched his Reading teammates from the bench as the Royals came away with a 1-0 win.

Down in League One, Lynden Gooch started his first game for Sunderland since returning from injury, playing 79 minutes, as the Black Cats settled for the 0-0 tie with Bolton Wanderers.

Matthew Olosunde went the distance for Rotherham United as a very late game-winner saw them beat Shrewsbury Town by a 2-1 scoreline.

Charlie Kelman made his return to the Southend United first team after recovering from an ankle injury, coming off the bench to play the final eight minutes 2-2 tie with Milton Keynes Dons.

Giles Phillips could only look on from the bench as league leaders Wycombe Wanderers went down to Portsmouth in a 2-0 defeat to allow the chasing pack to gain some ground on them.
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Pellegrino Matarazzo and VfB Stuttgart got their Bundesliga campaign off the ground on Saturday with a win over Mainz.
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