Brad Smith faced one of the biggest tests of his club career when he lined up for AFC Bournemouth against Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The left back was tasked with shutting down the likes of Victor Moses and Willian and while the 22-year-old more than held his own the Cherries were beaten 3-0.
Smith was replaced with 13 minutes to play by fellow former Liverpool player Jordan Ibe as Eddie Howe’s side chased the game, while goalkeeper Adam Federici was again on the bench.
Aaron Mooy continues to earn plaudits for his form in the Championship this season, helping Huddersfield Town to a comeback 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest.
Mooy was named man of the match for his influential performance in the centre of the park, which helped the Terriers move back up to fourth in their quest for an EPL promotion.
The 26-year-old came close to grabbing an equaliser on the half-hour mark after Huddersfield had fallen behind to a Nicklas Bendtner strike, but was on set-piece duties when they eventually squared the ledger. An own-goal saw the home side bank all three points and they’ll next welcome Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve.
Mile Jedinak took the points in his midfield battle with Jackson Irvine as Aston Villa claimed a 2-1 win over Burton Albion at Villa Park. The Caltex Socceroos skipper was substituted with 15 minutes to play, while Irvine, who is his club’s leading scorer this season put in another full shift.
The win sent Villa up to tenth and they’re now just two wins from the play-off places while the Brewers have lost four on the trot and are just two points clear of the relegation zone. Mass Luongo was also in midfield and played a full match as Queens Park Rangers were soundly beaten 3-0 away to league leaders Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Hoops are on a losing streak of their own having now lost six in a row and will be hoping to kick start 2017 with a change in fortunes when they face Wolverhamption on New Year’s Day. Lastly Valencia goalkeeper Mat Ryan got into the spirit of the season by using the break in La Liga to travel home, surprising his Mum and putting his reliable hands to work with some big hugs all round.
Football Federation Australia