LONDON: Manchester City remain 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League as Raheem Sterling’s early header was enough to beat Arsenal 1-0 yesterday, while Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham suffered another damaging defeat at fourth-placed West Ham. An 18th consecutive win in all competitions edged City ever closer to a third league title in four years even if Pep Guardiola’s men did not hit the heights they have in recent weeks at the Emirates.
Sterling could have scored three times inside the first five minutes, but his soaring leap to nod home Riyad Mahrez’s cross secured all three points as City kept a 10th clean sheet in their last 13 league games. Arsenal remain in 10th with their best chance of a return to the Champions League next season dependent on success in the Europa League.
Tottenham are just two points better off than their north London rivals in ninth, nine points off the top four after a fifth defeat in their last six league games. Mourinho’s men were undone by a slow start to each half at the London Stadium and lost 2-1. Michail Antonio opened the scoring after just five minutes before the rejuvenated Jesse Lingard smashed home the third goal of his loan spell from Manchester United two minutes into the second half.
Tottenham rallied after Lucas Moura’s powerful header pulled a goal back as the impressive Gareth Bale and Son Heung-min hit the woodwork late on. But West Ham held on to bolster their unexpected challenge for Champions League football by moving two points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea. “We are enjoying it but are also not going to be daft,” said Hammers boss David Moyes, who enjoyed his first win over Mourinho in 16 attempts. “We will keep calm and hopefully keep pushing the teams at the top.”
Villa suffer without Grealish
Leicester are up to second after a bright first-half performance saw off Aston Villa 2-1. The Foxes are determined not to make the same mistakes of last season when they let a huge lead over Manchester United and Chelsea slip away and missed out on Champions League football on the final day of the campaign.
James Maddison and Harvey Barnes struck inside the first 23 minutes as Leicester punished a Villa side badly missing the presence of injured captain Jack Grealish. Villa were handed a lifeline three minutes into the second half when Bertrand Traore swept home Matt Targett’s cross, but lacked the creative spark for which they rely on Grealish to find an equalizer.
On Saturday, Everton earned their first win at Liverpool since 1999 as the troubled Premier League champions crashed to a 2-0 defeat in the Merseyside derby, while Chelsea’s revival under Thomas Tuchel stalled in a 1-1 draw against Southampton. Richarlison’s early opener and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late penalty gave the Toffees a first win on any ground over Liverpool in 24 attempts dating back to 2010.
After a run of 68 league games unbeaten at Anfield, injury-ravaged Liverpool have lost their last four on home turf for the first time since 1923. Liverpool have won just two of their last 11 league games to leave them in grave danger of missing out on Champions League football for the first time since Jurgen Klopp’s first season in charge five years ago.
The sting from defeat in the 238th Merseyside derby will linger even longer given it was a bad tackle from Everton keeper Jordan Pickford in their meeting earlier this season that left Virgil van Dijk sidelined ever since with a serious knee injury. Without the influential Dutch center-back, Liverpool have endured a wretched time and their defensive flaws were exposed by Everton after just 145 seconds.
Tuchel endures same frustrations
Chelsea remain in fourth for now as Tuchel is unbeaten in seven games since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard last month. But the German endured some of the same frustrations that Lampard suffered earlier in the season as the Blues’ domination of the ball created little, while one slack moment defensively cost them two points.
After losing six consecutive league matches for the first time in their history, even a scrappy point was a welcome boost for Southampton. At the bottom, Fulham closed to within three points of survival thanks to Ademola Lookman’s strike to beat bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United 1-0.
West Brom’s chances of beating the drop are diminishing after a 0-0 draw at Burnley left them still 11 points from safety. Despite Semi Ajayi’s 30th-minute red card for deliberate handball, the Baggies had the better chances at Turf Moor but have won just once in 13 games under Sam Allardyce. – AFP