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PIX: Man City survive Leicester rally; Spurs score

Last updated on: December 27, 2021 00:47 IST
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Images from Sunday's Premier League action. 

Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Guendogan and teammates after scoring  Manchester City's first goal during the Premier League match against Leicester City, at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.  Alex Pantling/Getty Images

IMAGE: Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Guendogan and teammates after scoring Manchester City's first goal during the Premier League match against Leicester City, at Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Manchester City survived a spirited Leicester City fightback to earn a thrilling 6-3 victory on Sunday, a ninth Premier League win in a row moving them six points clear the top of the table.

 

With second-placed Liverpool not in action after their clash with Leeds United was postponed due to COVID-19 cases at the Yorkshire club, City appeared out of sight midway through the first half at the Etihad Stadium.

Kelechi Iheanacho scores Leicester City's third goal past Manchester City's Ederson.

IMAGE: Kelechi Iheanacho scores Leicester City's third goal past Manchester City's Ederson. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

The in-form champions raced into a fifth-minute lead through Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, before a Riyad Mahrez penalty put the hosts in control nine minutes later.

Things went from bad to worse for a Leicester side struggling to replicate last season's form, with Ilkay Gundogan and another penalty, converted by Raheem Sterling, giving the hosts a four-goal lead inside 25 minutes.

Despite looking dead and buried, Leicester stormed back in the second half as goals from James Maddison, Ademola Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho threatened to derail the league leaders.

Aymeric Laporte's 69th-minute header and Sterling's late second took the champions over the line, however, as they moved on to 47 points, six clear of Liverpool, from 19 matches. Leicester dropped to 10th.

Lukaku leads Chelsea to much-needed win at Villa

Chelsea

IMAGE: Aston Villa's Ezri Konsa fouls Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku to concede a penalty. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Romelu Lukaku came off the bench to lead Chelsea to a much-needed 3-1 victory at Aston Villa with midfielder Jorginho scoring two penalties in the Premier League.

Lukaku has not started a league game since picking up an injury in October and missed the last two games after testing positive for COVID-19.

But the Belgian transformed his team's display after coming on at halftime at Villa Park, providing a constant threat, putting his side ahead and then earning the late penalty that secured the three points for Thomas Tuchel's side.

Third-placed Chelsea, who had drawn with Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers in their previous two games, are now level with second placed Liverpool on 41 points -- six behind leaders Manchester City.

Villa had taken the lead in the 28th minute with some good fortune when Matt Targett's cross struck the head of Chelsea defender Reece James and flew past goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

The visitor's drew level six minutes later, though, when Matty Cash clumsily brought down Callum Hudson-Odoi inside the box and Jorginho coolly converted the penalty.

Halftime substitute Lukaku made a swift impact, getting in front of Tyrone Mings to angle in a fine, glancing header from a Hudson-Odoi cross to put Chelsea ahead in the 56th minute.

Mason Mount should have added a third but shot wide after Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez had raced out of his area and failed to clear.

Hudson-Odoi should also have done better when he was found in space at the back post but his shot was comfortably dealt with by Martinez.

In stoppage time, Lukaku powered his way from his own half before he was brought down inside the box by Villa defender Ezri Konsa. Jorginho again made no mistake to secure three points.

"I needed a performance like this," said Lukaku, "It’s been difficult getting (on at) the end of games. I kept working hard. I’m happy with my performance and have to push on," he added.

The former Manchester United and Inter Milan striker said Chelsea remained in the race to catch leaders City.

"We are the hunters now. The last results were not the best and now we have to chase. We have to treat every game like a final. Today we won and now we have to push on," he said.

Moura inspires Tottenham to easy win over Crystal Palace

Lucas Moura scores Tottenham Hotspur's second goal against Crystal Palace

IMAGE: Lucas Moura scores Tottenham Hotspur's second goal against Crystal Palace Photograph: Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Brazilian Lucas Moura inspired Tottenham Hotspur to a 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace that stretched their unbeaten Premier League run under new manager Antonio Conte to six games in murky north London.

Moura created goals for Harry Kane and Son Heung-min and bagged one himself as Tottenham comfortably beat a Palace side for whom manager Patrick Vieira missed the game because of a positive COVID-19 test.

While victory moved Tottenham up to fifth in the table, it proved a dispiriting day for Palace who were reduced to 10 men in the 37th minute when Wilfried Zaha was sent off.

Lucas Moura celebrates with teammates Emerson Royal and Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspurs's second goal

IMAGE: Lucas Moura celebrates with teammates Emerson Royal and Harry Kane after scoring Tottenham Hotspurs's second goal. Photograph: Steve Bardens/Getty Images

By that time Tottenham were well in control after Kane swept in from Moura's pass before Moura headed the second.

Son wrapped up the Boxing Day win with his side's third from close range in the 74th minute.

Tottenham have 29 points, six less than fourth-placed Arsenal but have played three games fewer after having two matches postponed this month because of COVID-19.

Arsenal cement top four spot with thumping win at Norwich City

Arsenal cruised to a 5-0 win at bottom side Norwich City on Sunday, with Bukayo Saka's double helping them to secure the victory as they consolidated fourth place in the Premier League.

The win takes Arsenal to 35 points from 19 games following their fourth straight league victory, just over two years since manager Mikel Arteta’s first match in charge of the Gunners.

The visitors took the lead after six minutes through Saka, who stroked the ball past goalkeeper Angus Gunn, who was making his Premier League debut, following a neat passing move that led to Martin Odegaard laying the ball into the forward's path.

Bukayo Saka celebrates after scoring Arsenal's opening goal against Norwich City

IMAGE: Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring Arsenal's opening goal against Norwich City. Photograph: Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Arsenal continued to test the Norwich defence with Saka the danger man thanks to his jinking runs down the wing and Gabriel Martinelli also posing a threat as the Gunners dominated.

Norwich's last festive win was way back in 1987, and they had never won on Boxing Day in the Premier League, so the signs were ominous for the struggling Canaries from the start.

However, it took Arsenal until just before halftime to score again on the break when Scotland left back Kieran Tierney fired home a low shot, with Odegaard again providing the killer pass.

Norwich stayed in the game until the 67th minute but then the floodgates opened as the visitors struck three times.

England forward Saka got Arsenal's third goal with another precise strike after cleverly weaving his way past Brandon Williams on the right edge of the area.

Alexandre Lacazette was then fouled in the box by Ozan Kabak, and the Frenchman got up to convert the spot kick in the 84th.

Substitute Emile Smith Rowe complete the rout with a goal in added time, leaving Norwich on 10 points - three adrift of fourth-bottom Watford having played two games more.

Southampton edge West Ham in Boxing Day thriller

James Ward-Prowse scored one and created another as Southampton dug deep to earn a much-needed 3-2 win over West Ham United in a pulsating Premier League game at the London Stadium.

A lethargic opening from the home side allowed Southampton to take the lead after eight minutes when Mohamed Elyounoussi lashed home with his left foot from the edge of the box following a driving run from Kyle Walker-Peters.

West Ham, who had one win in five Premier League games coming into Sunday's match, created little going forward as Southampton keeper Fraser Forster remained largely untroubled during the first half.

West Ham manager David Moyes turned to his bench after the break and substitute Michail Antonio made an instant impact when he headed home from close range in the 49th minute before Ward-Prowse restored the away side's advantage from the spot just after the hour-mark.

A revitalised West Ham hit back three minutes later through Said Benrahma after being played in by Jarrod Bowen, but Jan Bednarek grabbed the winner in the 70th minute after deftly turning in a curling free kick from Ward-Prowse.

Southampton's first league win since Nov. 5 moved them up to 14th in the table with 20 points from 18 games, eight points behind sixth-placed West Ham.

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Source: REUTERS
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