By Ryan Moran
- Jamie Vardy breaks Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record with 11 goals in 11 consecutive games.
- Chelsea and Tottenham drew a blank in the London derby.
- Manchester City return to the top of the Premier League with their win over Southampton.
Manchester, UK- From Stocksbridge Park Steels striker to Premier League record breaker, Jamie Vardy’s goal in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United saw the Leicester player write his name in the history books.
Leicester City 1-1 Manchester United
In a fixture that pitted first against second, neither side prevailed with all three points. Vardy opened the scoring midway through the first half but the striker’s goal was cancelled out by a Bastian Schweinsteiger header from a corner. The share of the spoils left both sides waiting on both Manchester City and Arsenal as to who was going to be top of the league come the end of the weekend.
A counter attacking Leicester side set up to do just that and with great effect as well. Vardy’s record breaking goal materialised from an opposing corner taken by Daley Blind, caught by Kasper Schmeichel and thrown out to Christian Fuchs on the right side of the field who carried the ball past the halfway line. The full back then played a cutting edge pass behind the United defence for Vardy to take a touch before striking the ball across David De Gea and into the far corner to open the scoring.
The Foxes’ lead only lasted 20 minutes as Schweinsteiger latched onto Blind’s corner, heading between Ngolo Kante on the post and Schmeichel who didn’t come out and claim the corner. Chances also fell to Leonardo Ulloa after neat footwork from Riyad Mahrez on the break gave the striker space to work an eventually tame shot straight at De Gea. Wayne Rooney also had the chance to level, missing from close range as his struggle continues.
With both sides failing to claim all three points, the chance for Manchester City and Arsenal to knock Leicester off the top spot was in the balance, with third placed City the evening kick off on Saturday and Arsenal playing on Sunday.
Manchester City 3-1 Southampton
With Leicester City and Manchester United sharing the spoils, Manchester City took the initiative to climb back to the top of the Premier League with a win over Southampton. Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring, followed by Fabian Delph’s first goal for the club on his first league start. Shane Long halved the deficit, starting in place of the suspended Graziano Pelle. Aleksandar Kolarov opened up the two goal lead back up allowing City to regain top spot in the league.
The home side took a two goal lead within the first 20 minutes as De Bruyne was able to get on the end of Raheem Sterling’s cross to put his side in the lead. Fernandinho appealed for handball as the midfielder drove an effort towards the goal only to strike Steven Davis on the way through, however nothing was given. On the 20 minute mark Delph doubled City’s lead when his effort from outside the box was deflected into the Southampton goal.
Soon after half time, Long headed in to give the away side some hope but it was in fact Kolarov of City finding himself in an advanced position striking the ball hard at the front post from an angle, Maarten Stekelenburg unable to keep it out. City held on for the win and climbed back to the top, joint with Leicester but with a superior goal difference over the Foxes, could Arsenal jump ahead of Claudio Ranieri’s side as well?
Norwich City 1-1 Arsenal
With both Leicester City and Manchester City three points ahead on 29, only a win would have kept the Gunners clear of the chasing pack of Liverpool, Tottenham and Crystal Palace while Manchester United were two points ahead. Mesut Ozil had given the away side the lead from a John Ruddy mistake but Lewis Grabban levelled just before half time.
After a resounding victory in midweek to keep their Champion’s League hopes alive, the away side seemed to suffer as a result but were gifted the lead when Alexis Sanchez capitalised on Ruddy’s panic clearance ahead of Gary O’Neil, played the ball through to Ozil who chipped over the onrushing keeper. Two minutes before half time, Grabban latched onto the end of Robbie Brady’s pass that split the Arsenal back line and the striker held of Gabriel Paulista to beat Petr Cech with his resultant shot. The draw meant the Gunners stay fourth, one point behind United and two behind both Leicester and City.
Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Chelsea
Chelsea went to White Hart Lane in the hope of righting their wrongs of December 2014 when the Blues lost 5-3. After a midweek argument between Diego Costa and Jose Mourinho, to many it was no surprise to see the striker on the bench rather than starting. However, when the Spaniard was not brought on at all, he appeared to throw his bib towards his manager when leaving his seat, Eden Hazard leading the line for the whole 90 minutes.
The home side were the more likely to take all three points in the first half as Son Heung-min and Mousa Dembele forcing saves from the goalkeeper as Hazard called Hugo Lloris into action with a low volley, Chelsea’s only shot on target. A point seemed a fair result as neither shot stopper could be beaten and the away side failed to trouble Lloris on many occasions.
AFC Bournemouth 3-3 Everton
Bournemouth’s late surge, courtesy of two goals from Junior Stanislas, earned the Cherries a point as the game went down to the wire with two goals in eight minutes of stoppage time. Ramiro Funes Mori and Romelu Lukaku had put Everton into a two goal lead but Adam Smith scored with 10 minutes to go followed by Stanislas’ first goal of the game. Ross Barkley had ensured the three points went back to Goodison Park until the ex-Burnley player snatched a point with seconds to go.
The Toffees put themselves in a dominant position when Funes Mori headed into the top corner of Adam Federici’s goal from a free kick. 10 minutes later, Lukaku doubled the away side’s lead when Gerard Deulofeu crossed from the right towards the Belgian who met the cross and finished the chance to double the lead.
Half time approached and Eddie Howe rejigged his setup, substituting Federici for Ryan Allsop and Steve Cook for Smith. The latter had the greater impact when a corner was cleared to the full back 25 yards out, with two touches he struck the ball into the goal and off of the inside of the goal, the comeback was on. Stanislas was the next to deal Everton another blow from their once comfortable position as Joshua King, pushed out wide for Stanislas to go up front, beat Brendan Galloway in a wide position, pulling back for Stanislas who made no mistake from close range.
Barkley turned in after Seamus Coleman attacked to grab a late winner when the ball fell to the midfielder who thought he had stolen all three points. Another cross was converted as Charlie Daniels drove down the left wing and found the head of Stanislas who headed past Tim Howard to claim a share of the points.
Crystal Palace 5-1 Newcastle United
Alan Pardew welcomed his old side to Selhurst Park with pressure constantly building on Steve Mclaren. Two of the bottom four managers have already been replaced and the longer the Mapies’ run continues, it won’t be long the wally with the brolly is without a job. Papiss Demba Cisse opened the scoring as the away side made a positive start but it all went downhill from there. A brace from both James McArthur and Yannick Bolasie as well as a volley into the ground looped over Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal for Wilfried Zaha to also get on the scoresheet.
The away side made a promising start when Darryl Janmaat delivered a teasing cross, brilliantly met by Cisse’s well timed run to glance the ball into the Palace goal. Two goals in four minutes for the Eagles saw them take a lead seven minutes after going behind as McArthur’s deflected effort beat Elliot to draw the home side level before Bolasie found the back of the net minutes later. Zaha’s volley made it 3-1 and Bolasie made it four soon after half time. McArthur completed the rout as a scrappy Newcastle box couldn’t clear the ball, when it dropped to the ex-Wigan midfielder, he lashed it home through the crowd on the goal line.
Aston Villa 2-3 Watford
Villa’s battle to stay in the Premier League took another blow with sides around them picked up points. Odion Ighalo opened the scoring but Micah Richards equalised before half time. Alan Hutton’s own goal put the Hornets back in front and Troy Deeney made it 3-1 with a header. Jordan Ayew’s finish turned out only to be a late consolation as the away side held on for three points.
Watford’s current position in the table reflects how important their strike force is to staying in the Premier League. This proved crucial on the day as Ighalo was first to show his goal scoring instinct, beating Brad Guzan in the Villa goal. Richards headed in with half time approaching but it seemed the away side’s team talk was more effective, Hutton’s own goal put the opposition in control and the loss of Heurelho Gomes to a head injury didn’t prove too costly with Deeney heading in a third. Ayew’s effort found the corner of the goal but an equaliser didn’t materialise.
The loss left five points between Villa and the team above them, Bournemouth’s point against Everton moved them above Newcastle, who are two points from safety. Remi Garde’s side are seven points from safety with 24 games to go, Garde has work to do.
Liverpool 1-0 Swansea City
James Milner’s penalty was enough to separate the sides and move Liverpool ever closer to the top five. Neil Taylor’s handball was punished midway through the second half and Milner finished the resultant penalty. Swansea seem to be struggling in attack after Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew started off so impressively at Chelsea. The whole team failed to unleash an effort on target, one of the reasons the Swans have only won once in 10 games. The win moved Liverpool within two points of Tottenham and four points of Arsenal in fourth.
Of the weekend’s other fixtures:
Sunderland 2-0 Stoke City
West Ham United 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Manchester City travel to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City in the lunch time kick off on Saturday 5th December.
Main Image Credit: Mark Leech/Getty
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