LONDON                -                Republic of Ireland international Conor Hourihane breathed fresh life into Aston Villa’s survival hopes as his goal earned a crucial 1-0 win over Norwich in the Premier League on Wednesday.

The substitute struck in the second half to seal the victory and strike a huge blow to the Canaries’ own hopes of staying up. Villa had lost seven of their previous nine top-flight games and, while victory failed to lift them out of the Premier League relegation zone, they head to Watford on Saturday with renewed hope, now a point from safety. Norwich slumped to the bottom of the Premier League after a 10th defeat in 14 games and were again left to rue missed chances. Norwich full back Sam Byram nearly opened the scoring for the visitors in the 18th minute with a header from an Emi Buendia corner, only to see it come off the woodwork with goalkeeper Tom Heaton well and truly beaten. Anwar El Ghazi had two good chances to put Villa ahead in the opening period. But he first failed to sort out his feet when attempting a shot from Trezeguet’s header across the box, before another first-time effort from a Matt Target cross went wide. Villa finally made the breakthrough when skipper Jack Grealish and second-half substitute Hourihane combined in the box for the latter to sweep a left-footed strike past Tim Krul into the far corner.

Carlo Ancelotti enjoyed a winning start as Everton manager with an 80th-minute Dominic Calvert-Lewin header earning a 1-0 win over Burnley at Goodison Park. Burnley had been typically resilient in defence, while posing few questions of Everton, and it took a high-quality finish to separate the sides. Djibril Sidibe whipped in a cross from the right which Calvert-Lewin met with a superb angled diving header which flew in off the inside of the far post. Sidibe had gone closest to breaking the deadlock with a low drive in the 32nd minute which Burnley keeper Nick Pope did well to keep out with his leg. Burnley’s best opening came three minutes later when an Ashley Westwood free kick found Chris Wood at the back post but the New Zealander headed over the bar from a promising position. Italian Ancelotti, a Champions League winner with AC Milan and Real Madrid was appointed by Everton on Saturday to replace the sacked Marco Silva.

A second-half equaliser from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Mikel Arteta a point in his first game as Arsenal manager as his side came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Bournemouth. The two sides came into the game in poor form, with Bournemouth having lost six of their last seven and Arsenal only winning once since beating Bournemouth 1-0 at the Emirates on 6 October. Arteta restored Mesut Ozil to the starting line-up and the German forward looked sharp in the opening exchanges, but despite Arteta energetically encouraging his team from the sidelines, they failed to create many chances. Arsenal’s sloppiness was punished when they gave the ball away cheaply on the left wing and Bournemouth sliced through them quickly, midfielder Dan Gosling stabbing home Jack Stacey’s centre from close range to give the home side the lead. The Gunners equalised in the 63rd minute as Reiss Nelson’s shot deflected into the path of Aubameyang, and he swivelled to rifle the ball home before a wild celebration with the travelling fans that earned him a yellow card. Both sides created opportunities in the pouring rain, but neither could grab a winner and the draw left Arsenal in 10th place on 24 points, with Bournemouth four points further back in 15th.

Jordan Ayew’s magnificent late solo goal earned Crystal Palace a 2-1 come-from-behind home win against West Ham United in a lively festive derby at Selhurst Park. It looked as though honours would be even but Ayew produced an incredible moment of skill, pirouetting on the edge of the area, jinking past a West Ham defender and dinking a cool finish over West Ham keeper Roberto Jimenez.

results

Aston Villa 1-0 Norwich

Bournemouth 1-1 Arsenal

Southampton 2-0 Chelsea

Crystal Palace 2-1 West Ham

Everton 1-0 Burnley

Sheffield United 1-1 Watford

Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Brighton