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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Extras: City edge Watford to extend lead, Bournemouth up to sixth

Football Extras: City edge Watford to extend lead, Bournemouth up to sixth

December 05, 2018 08:47 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

Manchester City

IMAGE: Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez and Kyle Walker celebrate after the match. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Manchester City were forced to defend deep in the final stages at Watford, on Tuesday, but ensured their title-chasing juggernaut kept rolling on with a 2-1 victory that extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points.

The defending champions, who are unbeaten in the league, were again without Argentine striker Sergio Aguero but close-season signing Riyad Mahrez showed his worth by setting up Leroy Sane for the first goal before scoring himself.

 

Bournemouth moved up to sixth with a 2-1 home win over lowly Huddersfield Town, while there were comfortable wins for West Ham United and 10-man Brighton & Hove Albion.

City were having trouble finding a way past Watford keeper Ben Foster at Vicarage Road but the Englishman will not want to see the replay of him being beaten by the chest of Sane five minutes before the break after a Mahrez cross.

Algerian Mahrez then fired home himself shortly after halftime to set Pep Guardiola's marauding side on the way to what looked like an easy victory.

Watford did not give up though and Abdoulaye Doucoure fired in from close range five minutes from time. The hosts, without a win since October, pushed City deep into their half but could not stop them claiming a 13th win in 15 league games this term.

Spectators have been accustomed to seeing City blowing teams away, particularly last season when they won the title with a record 100 points and scored a record number of goals.

It is not often that City resort to clearing the ball high and away from their defence as they did near the end at Watford, but Guardiola said the result was the most important thing.

"For five minutes they were better than us. It is not about breaking records, it's winning games. You cannot win easily for 38 games, that is impossible," the Spanish coach said.

The focus on Wednesday switches to second-placed Liverpool who visit Burnley looking to cut the gap back to two points.

Bournemouth's Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser notched a goal and an assist each to snap the south-coast side's four-game losing streak with a 2-1 home win over Huddersfield Town.

Wilson gave the hosts the lead after five minutes with a superb header from a free kick that Fraser whipped in. Wilson returned the favour 17 minutes later by passing to the unmarked Fraser who slotted the ball past keeper Jonas Lossl.

Terence Kongolo pulled one back for the visitors seven minutes before halftime with a header butut it was not enough to stop Eddie Howe's side moving up to sixth spot.

Brighton were reduced to 10 men in the 'M23 derby' against Crystal Palace but still ran out comfortable 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Glenn Murray, Leon Balogun and Florin Andone.

Murray converted a 24th minute spot kick for his ninth goal of the season before Shane Duffy was sent off for a clash with Patrick van Aanholt after a penalty appeal was turned down.

The hosts doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark through substitute Balogun before Andone scored the third in first-half stoppage time.

Luka Milivojevic converted a late penalty for Palace after a foul on Wilfried Zaha but it was too late for Roy Hodgson's side who slipped to 15th, three points above the relegation zone.

Three is the magic number for West Ham with the 3-1 victory over Cardiff City at the London Stadium being their second successive win and they have scored three goals in each.

Lucas Perez came off the bench to score twice shortly after halftime before Michail Antonio headed home a third.

Cardiff's Josh Murphy bundled in a consolation but, with the bottom three playing on Wednesday, Neil Warnock's side could be in the drop zone by the time they host Southampton on Saturday.

Chelsea rule out Loftus-Cheek departure in January

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not be allowed to leave the club during the January transfer window, manager Maurizio Sarri said on Tuesday.

Competition from N'Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley has limited Loftus-Cheek's chances this season but the 22-year-old England international has impressed with five goals in his last six appearances to draw praise from Sarri.

"He has played in the Europa League and League Cup, some in the Premier League but not starting. At the moment he's very important for us," Sarri told reporters ahead of Wednesday's Premier League trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"He had some problems to understand what I wanted, but he is improving and in the last two matches I've been happy. I want him to stay so I think there's no chance (of him leaving)."

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta signed a new four-year deal on Tuesday and Sarri said he was keen for the club to extend the tenures of David Luiz and Cesc Fabregas whose contracts run out at the end of the season.

"I spoke with the club about this a month ago. I know very well it's not easy, but I think we can do a new deal for both," Sarri added.

"David and Cesc are leaders. It's important for me, for the staff and also for their team mates that they stay."

Chelsea are third in the standings with 31 points and go into Wednesday's game on the back of a 2-0 win over Fulham while Wolves are looking to avoid a third straight league defeat.

Sarri, however, expects a tough outing at 12th-placed Wolves who have drawn with Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.

"They're a technical team," he said. "They were unlucky in the last few matches, but it's not easy to play there."

Falcao penalty double gives Monaco win over Amiens

AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao scored two penalties to secure a 2-0 win at Amiens on Tuesday as they moved out of the Ligue 1 relegation zone to ease the pressure on manager Thierry Henry.

It was Monaco's second win in three league games and saw them leapfrog Amiens and Dijon into 17th in the 20-team table.

Lille moved into second spot with a 1-0 win at Montpellier, who began the day two points above them. They are 13 points adrift of Paris St Germain who visit Strasbourg on Wednesday.

Nicolas Pepe got the only goal after seven minutes when he slotted home after good work on the left by Jonathan Ikone.

Both sides had chances to score in an end-to-end encounter but Lille showed slightly more guile and deserved the points.

In Amiens, Monaco went ahead with a Falcao penalty two minutes before the break and the Colombian doubled the lead six minutes into added time at the end with a second from the spot.

Amiens, who have now lost six of their last seven league games, were the better team throughout but profligate finishing and defensive errors cost them dearly.

Their miserable night was completed when Bakaye Dibassy was shown a red card seconds from the final whistle.

Elsewhere in Ligue 1, Nice drew 0-0 at home to Angers.

Pochettino sympathises with his old club Southampton

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Tuesday he sympathised with former club Southampton, who sacked coach Mark Hughes on Monday, but he is confident the south-coast side have the resources to overcome their Premier League struggles.

Hughes was sacked eight months into his Southampton tenure with the team lying 18th in the league with nine points from 14 games going into Wednesday's meeting with their old Argentine boss at Tottenham's temporary Wembley home.

"Always my affection is going to be there with my first club in England. It had a massive impact in my life and I'm grateful to Southampton," Pochettino, who left Southampton in 2014, told a news conference on Tuesday.

"I think they have the tools to lift from that situation and I always wish the best for them but tomorrow we compete and we need to win the three points."

Southampton will be led by first team assistant coach and former goalkeeper Kelvin Davis at Wembley, with former RB Leipzig boss Ralph Hasenhuettl the favourite to take charge on a permanent basis.

"Kelvin was my first captain, he has a great personality and is a great character, and it is so nice to face him tomorrow... but it will be a very tough 90 minutes for both sides," Pochettino said.

Tottenham right back Kieran Trippier has recovered from a groin injury and is available for selection.

Pochettino said he had not spoken with midfielder Eric Dier, whose goal celebration in his side's 4-2 defeat by Arsenal on Sunday had sparked angry scenes on the touchline leading to a Football Association charge for both sides.

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