Another disappointing result for Chelsea, and the pressure intensifies for Mr Mourinho. England striker finds the net for the NINTH straight league game. Just another average day in the Premier League. Here is a round-up of the day’s action.
Stoke City 1-0 Chelsea
Chelsea’s dreadful season by their high standards has suffered yet another blow after a second loss at Stoke City. Where do the club go from here? And what now of under-fire manager Jose Mourinho? Could be this one poor result too many?
A strike from Marko Arnautovic on 53 minutes condemned the champions to defeat, with Mourinho banned from the Britannia Stadium. He was serving a stadium ban imposed on him by the FA.
The visitors didn’t seem to miss him early on, as they dominated play in the first-half. But eight minutes into the second half, Arnautovic volleyed home to put Stoke ahead.
The result incredibly leaves Chelsea down in 16th position, fourteen points behind the top three, and only three points clear of the relegation zone.
Leicester City 2-1 Watford
Leicester’s impressive season continued at the King Power Stadium, as this win over Watford moved them level on points with Manchester City and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table.
England forward Jamie Vardy found the net once again, for the ninth consecutive PL game, one behind the record of ten held by ex-Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The Foxes were given a helping hand to victory here, or rather two of them, as Hornets goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes had a nightmare afternoon, first allowing a shot to squirm through his hands, then gifting Vardy the second with a clumsy foul in the box to concede a penalty.
Watford forward Odion Ighalo, himself in fine goalscoring form, had the first chance, his effort tipped over by Leicester stopper Kasper Schmeichel.
He then set up Troy Deeney with a delightful cross, but Deeney was unable to connect. The two sides traded efforts as the first half drew to a close.
N’golo Kante put Leicester ahead in the 52nd minute, but Gomes will be furious with himself for allowing the shot to squirm through.
Leicester doubled their lead on 65 minutes when Gomes clattered into Vardy, the striker dusted himself down to score powerfully.
Watford earned a penalty of their own on 75 minutes when Kante fouled Juan Carlos Paredes in the box, Deeney slotting home to give Watford hope.
Gomes denied Riyad Mahrez late on as Leicester held out for the win.
Manchester United 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
Manchester United kept pace with the top three with a win over West Brom at Old Trafford. Goals from Jesse Lingard, his first goal for the club, and a Juan Mata penalty sealed the points.
The Baggies’ defensive reargued kept United frustrated for long periods. Mata fired the first real chance wide after being found by Wayne Rooney.
United were dominating possession, and their former defender Jonny Evans had to be alert to deny Lingard with a fine tackle.
The Red Devils took the lead on 52 minutes. A cross from Anthony Martial was only half-cleared to Lingard on the edge of the box. He was able to compose himself before firing home.
Brom substitute Saido Berahino wasted a great chance to level when he headed Craig Dawson’s cross over when unmarked.
United brought on youngster Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, as manager Louis van Gaal showed his faith in United’s famed youth system.
And the win was completed when Gareth McAuley brought down Martial in the box and was sent off. Mata finding the net from the spot.
West Ham United 1-1 Everton
Romelu Lukaku tormented West Ham once again as Everton took their unbeaten league run against the Hammers to 15 matches with this draw.
Lukaku continued his record of scoring against West Ham every time he takes to the field against them. Manuel Lanzini had earlier put the home side ahead.
West Ham suffered a double injury blow as both Dimitri Payet and Enner Valencia left the field injured, Valencia via a stretcher.
Arouna Kone wasted a great chance to put the Toffees ahead on 15 minutes, shooting wide when Lukaku was better placed, much to the Belgian’s frustration.
Aaron Cresswell then curled an effort wide of Tim Howard’s post, before West Ham took the lead through Lanzini.
A superb pass from Gerard Deulofeu set up Lukaku to round keeper Adrian to equalise shortly before half-time.
After the double injury blow, Winston Reid, in for James Collins in defence, headed over from a Mark Noble corner.
Lukaku fired wide with the last real chance as the game ended in a draw, West Ham now without a league win over Everton since 2007.
Bournemouth 0-1 Newcastle United
There was a classic smash-and-grab victory on the south coast, as visitors Newcastle withstood constant Bournemouth pressure to make the long trip back north with a vital win.
A fantastic goalkeeping display from Rob Elliott was important for Toon hopes, and he repeatedly frustrated the Bournemouth frontline, denying Josh King on multiple occasions.
However, it was the visitors who scored first, completely against the run of play. An Aleksandar Mitrovic backheel found Giorginio Wijnaldum. He layed it off for Ayoze Perez to shoot. Cherries goalkeeper Adam Federici got a hand to the ball, but not enough to stop the ball crossing the line.
Elliott distinguished himself further, denying King again, as well as Dan Gosling. Adam Smith fired a chance over.
There was more of the same in the second half, Elliott saving from Matt Ritchie at full stretch. Junior Stanislaus shot over, as Bournemouth created loads of chances, but took none.
It is one point from six games now for Eddie Howe’s side, and this defeat drops them into the relegation zone. Newcastle climb out at their expense.
Sunderland 0-1 Southampton
Southampton made it six league games unbeaten with victory in the north-east, against a Sunderland side looking to build on their derby success against Newcastle.
There were four changes for Sam Allardyce’s team, including a league debut for Duncan Watmore. Stopper Costel Pantilimon had to be alert early on to save well from Dusan Tadic after a neat backheel by Graziano Pelle. He then denied Sadio Mane, while Mane and Jordy Clasie also wasted chances.
Sunderland’s first half was summed half by Ola Toivonen, his shot closer to the corner flag than the goal. He was replaced at half-time by Fabio Borini.
More chances for Southampton saw Pantilimon save from Mane, before Billy Jones and Younes Kaboul got blocks in.
The crucial goal came on 69 minutes, from the penalty spot. Yann M’Villa halted a surging run from Ryan Bertrand with a crude tackle. Tadic confidently fired home from the spot.
Sunderland were denied a penalty when Jack Rodwell’s header hit Maya Yoshida’s arm, but the referee waved away claims.
Norwich City 1-0 Swansea City
Jonny Howson struck the only goal as Norwich earned a vital win over Swansea at Carrow Road ending a run of four consecutive losses.
Canaries boss Alex Neil made three changes to his team, with Andre Wisdom, Wes Hoolahan and Gary O’Neil coming in to replace Russell Martin, Youssouf Mulumbu and Matt Jarvis, while Swansea were unchanged.
Cameron Jerome headed over from Robbie Brady’s free-kick early on. Howson then tested Lukasz Fabianski in the only other noteworthy chance of the half.
Gylfi Sigurdsson hit the crossbar with a header, before Norwich took the lead moments later. A corner was headed back across goal by Dieumerci Mbokani, allowing Howson to finish.
Hoolahan fired wide, while Wayne Routledge shot over at the other end, as Norwich held on to draw level on points with their opponents.
by Steve Osborne @BlizzardSteve75