As the world winds down for the festive period, the football nation comes to life.
The festive period is one of the most exhilarating and enjoyable times on the football calendar and fans have already been treated to plenty of fun this past weekend.
Spoils were shared by some of football’s heavyweights as champions were crowned and the big dogs flexed their muscle at the expense of helpless opposition.
A Socceroo made history in Japan, while a poor season exacerbated for a struggling Serie A side.
Ulsan Hyundai capped off its stellar Asian Champions League campaign by becoming the continents champions for the second time.
The Korean giants conquered all before them throughout the tournament – scoring a plethora of goals and being an incredibly exciting watch.
Despite coming into the final as favourites, Ulsan was forced to do it the hard way.
Persepolis forward Mehdi Abdi gave the Iranian champions a shock lead in the 45th minute after a well-worked counter-attack.
Albeit celebrations were cut short as Ulsan pulled one back just minutes later which would see both teams go into the break even. Despite having his initial penalty saved, Ulsan forward Junior Negrao was quick off the mark and slotted home the equaliser past Persepolis goalkeeper Hamed Lak.
Negrao’s services from the penalty spot would be called upon a second time ten minutes into the second half. The Brazilian had no issue putting this one away, with Ulsan then doing enough to hold on and record a famous win.
The Socceroo kept a 17th clean sheet at the weekend – becoming the first goalkeeper in J1 history to do so.
Langerak’s Nagoya Grampus recorded a 1-0 win over Sanfrecce at the weekend – the clubs fourth consecutive clean sheet – and end the season in third with a chance to qualify for next season’s Asian Champions League.
This renaissance comes as no surprise for Australian football fans who know how good Langerak is. After stints in Germany with Borussia Dortmund and Stuttgart, the 32-year-old has found his feet in Japan and has become a staple in Nagoya side.
With Mat Ryan currently out of favour at Brighton, Langerak has quickly become a fan-favourite to return to the Socceroos line-up as the first choice goalkeeper.
Ole is at the wheel and he is not going anywhere – or at least that’s what the results suggest.
Believe it or not, Manchester United is sitting third and five points off top with a game in hand.
The Red Devils put six past a helpless Leeds in their first meeting for some time in a dominant display which saw Scott McTominay scoring a double in the first three minutes. Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof joined in the fun to give United four goal lead 37 minutes in.
It was a ruthless display Manchester United fans had come to expect each and every week under Sir Alex Ferguson. Not only did they score heavily but each one was executed with immense conviction which nonetheless consolidates the club’s billing as contenders this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will walk away as the happiest man in Manchester, with the pressure on him now surely set to ease ahead of a busy Christmas period.
It has not been a happy start to the festive period for Tottenham.
Spurs have now lost their last two and have dropped out of the top four as a result – just days after sharing top spot with Liverpool – failing an early test on their drought breaking quest.
It appears Spurs are forging the same old tale as they once again come up short in a big six-pointer, which could have significant implications on where they finish this season.
Tottenham travel to Wolves next week before hosting Fulham on New Year’s Eve, with six points separating them and first-placed Liverpool.
Genoa’s season continues to go from bad to worse.
A 2-0 loss away to Benevento extends the side’s winless run to 12 matches and sees them drop deeper into the relegation zone.
The Genovese currently sit 19th with Crotone being the only side with a worse record.
The road does not get any easier for Genoa, who is set to meet Lazio and Sassuolo in the coming weeks.
In Crystal Palace’s defence – this was the club’s third match in six days.
But alas not even this can justify us not putting them on this week’s loser list.
To concede seven at home is never pretty – especially when the opposition made it look so easy.
Aside from one failed Jordan Ayew cutback to Wilfred Zaha, Palace never looked like threatening let alone scoring on a dark day for the club.
Thankfully, this was played in front of empty stands and Palace sits eight points clear of the relegation zone. Matches against Aston Villa, Leicester and Manchester City await over the next few weeks and you can be sure Roy Hodgson will be doing everything he can to avoid another heavy defeat.