Leicester made amends for their FA Cup replay defeat at Spurs on Wednesday with an emphatic 3-0 home win against a dangerous a Stoke side, who were never really at the races all afternoon. The goals came from the impressive Drinkwatwer, (seven goal drought) James Vardy and Ulloa with only his second strike in the league.
The win further silenced Leicester’s doubters, who believe a lack of experience at the business end of the season will find them out. However, in Claudio Raniere they have a manager who has been voted Manager of the Month three times in the Premier League (2003, 2004 and 2005) and has a host of league winners results (his first back 1975-76).
No matter what the media say Leicester have every chance of winning the title as, for the most part, other clubs have not been able to compete with their tactics and the wealth of attacking of players they possess such as Vardy and Mahrez, who have both been revelations this season.
There were more changes in the Premiership betting with Arsenal drifting after losing a contentious affair at the Emirates, which, of course, involved the controversial Diego Costa, who ironically scored the winning goal. Arsenal somewhat shot themselves in the foot for their defeat when on 18 minutes influential centre back Mertesacker was shown a straight red for tripping Costa when clean through.
Manchester City were involved in a pulsating affair at Upton Park against the Hammers and did well to take a point when top scorer Aguero popped up with the equaliser to make it 2-2 with just 8 minutes to go. The Hammers also had an individual star of their own in Ener Valencia, who opened the scoring within the first and showed good strength and speed to take advantage of a long throw in the 56th minute.
The result leaves City level with Arsenal on 44 points with Spurs breathing down their necks only two points behind thanks to defeating London rivals Crystal Palace 3-1. The result did not do Palace justice as they were impressive on the whole but goals from top scorer Harry Kane, a goal of the season contender from Alli and sub Chadli rounded proceedings off. It sends a clear message that Spurs are well and truly in the title race, not to mention the FA Cup.
West Ham’s point at home against City lifted them to sixth only a point behind Manchester United in fifth. United’s four league game winning run came to an end with a disappointing performance, going down 1-0 defeat to Southampton, whose winner was fittingly scored by sub Charlie Austin on his debut. The Saints three consecutive league wins on the bounce take them in to the top half of the table level on 33 points with the Hammers.
Newcastle’s manager Steve McClaren still refuses to discuss his team’s frailties in front of most of the press but a defeat against Watford means they remain in the bottom three and in desperate need of a consistent goal scorer until Mitrovic finds his form.
The win lifted Watford further away from the relegation zone to tenth. They put in another great team effort and had top scorer Ighalo, who went joint second in the Golden Boot standings on 15, to thank for their lead just after half time. Cathcart doubled the lead ten minutes later before Newcastle pulled one back through defender Lascelles. Thereafter, it was the same old story with the Toon’s unsettled team not being able to make another breakthrough. Key injuries at key stages of the season have resulted in Newcastle never being able to field their best team, assuming the manager genuinely knows this himself.
Last but not least there was the small matter of the nine goal thriller at Carrow Road between Norwich and Liverpool, which arguably has to go down as the one of the most entertaining matches in the Premier League this season. The win was also important for the Reds who broke a three match winless run and for Firmino, who has finally started to repay his hefty price tag with two braces in his last three league games taking his seasons tally to five in total.
While star man Firmino opened the scoring the Canaries fired back with a vengeance to take a 3-1 lead by the 55th minute, which included a first half strike from debutant Steven Naismaith. However, the lead was reduced only a minute later thanks to Jordan Henderson who has been sorely missed of late. Firmino levelled proceedings eight minutes later and Milner made it 4-3 to the reds in the 75th minute. There was still plenty of action to come and the final denouement took place during a frantic eight minutes of injury time.
Norwich striker Sebastien Bassong sent the home faithful into delirium when he bagged a 92nd minute equalizer. However, football can be a cruel game at times and three minutes later sub Adam Lallana proved why Liverpool have a reputation of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat when he fired in the 95th minute winner, sparking jubilant celebrations from the whole Liverpool camp.