Premier League Matchday 24: Leicester tops Liverpool, more results
Leicester City remained in first place after beating Liverpool 2-0, trailing clubs Manchester City (1-0 winner over Sunderland) and Tottenham (3-0 winner over Norwich City) kept pace, but Arsenal dropped points and settled for a 0-0 draw with Southampton in the Premier League's midweek action on Matchday 24.
Leicester, which fell to Liverpool 1-0 on Boxing Day at Anfield, won on the strength of two Jamie Vardy goals. The first will be played on highlight shows around the world, as his one-time volley from long distance broke the scoreless deadlock and sent the Foxes on their way.
Elsewhere, Manchester United eased by Stoke City 3-0, while Swansea City missed a chance to climb further from the drop zone after conceding late and settling for a 1-1 draw with West Brom. West Ham continued its surprise run in the upper tier of the league with a 2-0 win over 10-man Aston Villa, while Bournemouth rallied for a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Wednesday saw Chelsea get stifled by Watford in a 0-0 draw, while Ross Barkley's two penalties helped Everton to a 3-0 win over Newcastle.
Below are all the results from the latest Premier League slate of games:
Watch: Leicester's Jamie Vardy scores sensational goal vs. Liverpool
There was plenty of speculation that Leicester City would sell Jamie Vardy to the highest bidder come deadline day, but with the transfer window shut, it sure looks like sound business that the first-place Foxes held onto their star striker and appear on the verge of keeping him for the long run.
Vardy unleashed a remarkable volley from long distance to give Leicester a 1-0 lead over Liverpool in the 60th minute of their Premier League clash on Tuesday. Vardy, who entered the day leading the league with 16 goals, added to his tally with a stroke of genius, latching onto a long, bounding ball from Riyad Mahrez and striking it off the bounce with his right foot.
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who had made sensational saves to rob Shinji Okazaki and Mahrez earlier in the match, stood no chance.
Watch the incredible hit (which rivals Dele Alli's goal for Tottenham against Crystal Palace as one of the goals of the season) below:
Vardy added a second goal 11 minutes later, securing the three points with a 2-0 win and keeping Leicester City in first place heading into Saturday's huge match against second-place Manchester City.
Jamie Vardy scores two goals to lead Leicester City over Liverpool
LEICESTER, ENGLAND (AP) – Jamie Vardy continued his prolific season by scoring two goals—including a looping volley from 25 yards—to guide Leicester to a 2-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday, preserving the team's three-point lead in the Premier League.
The England striker's stunning, long-distance strike put Leicester ahead in the 60th minute and he made it 18 goals for the season with a shot from close range in the 72nd after running onto Shinji Okazaki's deflected effort.
After narrowly avoiding relegation last season, Leicester is providing the most unlikely title challenge in the 24-year history of the Premier League.
With 14 games left this campaign, Leicester is closing in on a Champions League qualification place and is now a definite title contender—especially if Vardy maintains his form.
After scoring 14 times in 13 games—including a Premier League record of 11 matches in a row—Vardy went six league games without a goal.
He has returned with a bang.
Vardy followed up his goal against Stoke last weekend by scoring probably what the striker himself said was the best of his career to give Leicester the lead against Liverpool.
Riyad Mahrez sent forward a long ball that Vardy reached, before letting the ball bounce and looping a shot over Simon Mignolet from just outside the area on the diagonal.
"To be honest, I was looking all game and he was quite far off his line," Vardy said of Mignolet. "I took a chance."
The goal came just when Liverpool was starting to get on top, and Vardy ended the visitors' hopes 12 minutes later with more of a poacher's finish.
Okazaki drove in a shot that deflected into the path of Vardy, who scooped a close-range effort over Mignolet and into the corner.
Leicester was only denied a first-half lead because of Mignolet, who tipped Okazaki's early header over the bar before doing the same from Mahrez's 30-yard curler.
Liverpool's best two chances fell to left back Alberto Moreno, who blazed one shot over and saw the other beaten out by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester is three points clear of Manchester City, with the teams meeting at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Sergio Aguero's goal leads Manchester City over Sunderland 1-0
SUNDERLAND (AP) — Sergio Aguero's first-half strike handed Manchester City a 1-0 victory against Sunderland in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Aguero gave City the lead after 16 minutes at the Stadium of Light, reacting quickest to a low ball in the area and getting it under control before prodding beyond goalkeeper Vito Mannone. He was caught on the calf by a last-ditch challenge from Billy Jones as he scored and appeared to be hurt as he celebrated, but returned to the pitch after treatment.
City goalkeeper Joe Hart then made an excellent double save on the stroke of halftime, denying Jermain Defoe before smothering Jones as he tried to convert the rebound.
City is second in the league standings with 47 points, three behind leader Leicester.
Arsenal held to 0-0 draw by Southampton, slips in EPL title chase
LONDON (AP) — Arsenal dropped five points behind leader Leicester in the English Premier League with a goalless draw against Southampton on Tuesday.
Arsene Wenger's side found Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster on top form at Emirates Stadium and the north London side has now taken just three points in four games.
Southampton was the better team at the start and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech had to tip James Ward-Prowse's free kick round the post. Mesut Ozil missed a good chance for Arsenal when his close-range effort was pushed wide by Forster. Forster also tipped Olivier Giroud's shot away before thwarting Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez.
Laurent Koscielny should have put the Gunners ahead after 70 minutes when Ozil found him in front of goal with Forster off his line but he headed over.
Tottenham rises to third place in EPL after 3-0 win at Norwich City
NORWICH, England (AP) — Tottenham beat Norwich 3-0 Tuesday to leapfrog its London rival Arsenal and move third in the Premier League.
The visitors won their third straight league game with a second-minute goal from Dele Alli, followed by a double from Harry Kane, including one from the penalty spot at Carrow Road.
Tottenham and Arsenal both have 45 points but Spurs has the better goal difference. Arsenal and Southampton drew 0-0 Tuesday.
Tottenham, which recorded its fifth straight victory in all competitions, is shaping up as a serious contender for its first league title since 1961. But Norwich, with four league defeats in as many matches, is only two points above the relegation zone.
The Canaries were back in action for the first time since their 5-4 defeat against Liverpool.
There were only 96 seconds gone when Alli gave Tottenham the lead. Christian Eriksen's shot was well saved by Declan Rudd, but Alli was quickest to the rebound to open the scoring.
Tottenham made it 2-0 after 30 minutes with both Alli and Kane involved. Kane's fierce shot stung the hands of Rudd before Alli was adjudged to have been fouled by Sebastien Bassong in the penalty area, and Kane sent Rudd the wrong way.
Alli was substituted at halftime-reportedly through illness, rather than injury-and Norwich enjoyed the best of the second period.
But Spurs scored the only goal of the second half when Kane, who moments earlier had hit the post, scored his 14th league goal from his last 15 appearances with a cool finish after Martin Olsson was dispossessed by Eriksen.
West Brom's late equalizer salvages draw with Swansea City
WEST BROMWICH (AP) — West Brom earned a point with a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw against Swansea at The Hawthorns on Tuesday after Ki Sung-yueng was carried off on a stretcher for the away side.
The South Korea international clashed heads with West Brom forward Stephane Sessegnon inside the penalty area in the 44th minute. He was treated for several minutes before being given oxygen and taken off the field. Swansea later tweeted that Ki "is ok following the clash of heads in the first half, just a little concussed."
Gylfi Sigurdsson put Swansea ahead on 64 with a strike into the bottom-left corner from 12 yards. But Salomon Rondon leveled two minutes into added time, reacting fastest after Darren Fletcher had a shot cleared off the line.
Bournemouth comes from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1
LONDON (AP) — Bournemouth boosted its bid for survival with a 2-1 win Tuesday as Crystal Palace lost its fifth straight Premier League match.
Defender Scott Dann opened with an impressive volley for the Eagles in the 27th minute but the southern coast visitors went seven points clear of the relegation zone after Marc Pugh and January signing Benik Afobe scored either side of halftime.
Mid-table Palace is winless in the league since Dec. 19, with 31 points from 24 matches.
Palace manager Alan Pardew named new signing Emmanuel Adebayor as a substitute at Selhurst Park but the striker failed to follow his record of scoring on debut for Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham—his three previous Premier League clubs—after coming on in the 58th.
Adebayor had a good stoppage-time chance from close range, but he snatched at his shot on the turn and struck the side netting.
Second-half goals pace West Ham by 10-man Aston Villa
LONDON (AP) – Aston Villa plunged into deeper trouble in the Premier League by losing 2-0 at West Ham on Tuesday. Villa is 10 points adrift in last place with 14 games remaining.
Villa started confidently but was reduced to 10 men after 17 minutes when striker Jordan Ayew was sent off for inexplicably elbowing West Ham defender Aaron Creswell in the face, off of the ball. The extra man allowed West Ham to gain more possession in the match and Michail Antonio made it count after 58 minutes, heading beyond Mark Bunn after a crossfield pass by Mark Noble.
Cheikhou Kouyate secured the win five minutes before full time, completing a counterattack by reaching Enner Valencia's forward pass and lifting the ball beyond goalkeeper Bunn.
West Ham is sixth in the Premier League, six points from fourth.
Watford holds Chelsea to scoreless Premier League draw
WATFORD, England (AP) — Chelsea failed to turn late pressure into a goal in a 0-0 draw at Watford in the English Premier League on Wednesday.
Eden Hazard's introduction from the bench in the 73rd minute sparked the champions into life after they started sluggishly at Vicarage Road, but Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes produced brilliant saves to deny Branislav Ivanovic and Diego Costa.
Chelsea didn't have a shot on target until the 60th minute, with Watford creating the better openings early on for Odion Ighalo and Etienne Capoue.
Chelsea hasn't lost in nine games under new coach Guus Hiddink, but is in 13th place in a dismal defense of its title, 11 points adrift of the European positions.
Ross Barkley's two penalties help Everton topple Newcastle
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Ross Barkley converted two late penalties to complete Everton's 3-0 win over relegation-threatened Newcastle in the English Premier League on Wednesday.
Aaron Lennon put Everton ahead in the 23rd minute, swiveling just inside the area after collecting Tom Cleverley's pass and placing a low shot inside the post.
The hosts peppered Newcastle's goal, hitting the goal frame twice through Barkley and when Jonjo Shelvey headed against his own bar.
Barkley secured a first victory since Dec. 26 for Everton from the penalty spot in the 88th after Lennon was fouled. The England midfielder converted another spot kick in injury time, dinking the ball down the middle after he was tripped by Jamaal Lascelles, who was sent off for the foul.
Newcastle stayed third from bottom.