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Boxing Day: Mkhitaryan scores wonder-strike, Chelsea continue streak

Has Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the goal of the season?

SNS | New Delhi |

Henrikh Mkhitaryan came off the bench to score a wonder goal in Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Sunderland while Chelsea romped to their 12th win in a row, easing past Bournemouth 3-0 as goals flowed on Monday’s fixtures in the English Premier League.

The Boxing Day holiday is an annual fixture in the English top-flight and Manchester United sure gave their fans plenty of holiday cheer with a comprehensive victory.

Starting the game firmly on the front foot, despite missing their injured captain Wayne Rooney, the Red Devils looked slick in the final third as they looked for their fourth win in a row.

Despite dominating in every section of the pitch, the hosts had to wait for Daley Blind’s 39th minute strike, the defender overlapping brilliantly to and finishing well to ensure the Red Devils went ahead at the break.

And after the break, United simply stepped it up a notch, but again due to some narrow misses and gritty defending from the Black Cats, were unable to get a two-goal cushion.

United manager Jose Mourinho threw on Anthony Marital and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to go and finish the game and within minutes of their introduction, they were celebrating yet again.

Paul Pobga was alert to a loose ball near the halfway-line, and immediately set off towards goal, causing the Sunderland defence to panic even as Ibrahimovic was running beside him in support.
The Swede checked his run perfectly to avoid any calls of offside, receiving Pogba’s deft ball and calmly finished past Jordan Pickford to seal the result for United, eight minutes before the end of regulation time.

Mkhitaryan then fashioned a brilliant goal in the 86th minute, one which will be seen on highlight reels for the longest time to give the Mourinho’s side an unassailable three-goal lead. Ibrahimovic sent in a whizzing cross from the right but the Armenian found it a little behind him, so he improvised with a back heel flick which was in the goal before Pickford could even react. Replays suggested United’s no 22 was offside but the goal stood and had many looking on in sheer disbelief.

Sunderland then against the run of play scored a brilliant goal, Fabio Borini’s superb volley from the edge of the box leaving David de Gea stranded as the Black Cats got themselves a consolation goal.

United are still some way off league leaders Chelsea, who won yet another game, thanks to a brace from Pedro and an Eden Hazard penalty.  Playing without the suspended duo of Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante, the Blues were utterly dominant in a win that sends a warning message to the rest of the chasing pack.

Arsenal left it late to beat West Brom at the Emirates, Olivier Giroud’s looping header enough to eke-out a 1-0 win to snap their two-game losing streak.

Defending champions Leicester crumpled at home to Everton, with the Belgian duo of Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku getting on the scoresheet in a rare away win for the Toffees.
And in the late game of the day, Manchester City bottom-placed Hull City 3-0, thanks to goals from Yaya Toure, Kelechi Iheanaacho and an own goal by Curtis Davies.

Chelsea lead the standings with 46 points, with Manchester City a distant second on 39 while Manchester United are way back on 33 in sixth place. Arsenal are now level on points with third-placed Liverpool, who have a game in hand.