EPL: Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City all lose ground on Leicester
LONDON (AP) — Tottenham missed a rare chance to go top of the Premier League on Wednesday when West Ham won their London derby 1-0 to go within a point of the four Champions League places.
Michail Antonio's seventh-minute goal handed second-place Tottenham only a fourth loss of the league campaign.
On a night when Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City all lost, the main winner of a midweek round of games was leader Leicester, which drew on Tuesday.
Had Spurs extended a six-game winning streak they could have moved to the summit for the first time in the second half of the season in 21 years.
But Mauricio Pochettino's side is three points behind Leicester and three above Arsenal, which it hosts in Saturday's north London derby.
"The first half we were poor and the second half we tried to play in the way we play normally," Pochettino said.
"I think we made some mistakes that we normally don't make. It was difficult."
Tottenham had recovered a league-leading 17 points from losing positions this season. Not on this night, though, on Tottenham's last-ever trip across east London to the soon-to-be demolished Upton Park.
Antonio's early header at the near post beat Hugo Lloris as the Tottenham goalkeeper tried in vain to stop it going over the line.
West Ham did get the ball in the net again before halftime, but there was a reprieve when Emmanuel Emenike was flagged for offside. West Ham was completely overpowering Spurs and curbing any threat.
In the second half, Tottenham was a team revitalized and finally discovering where the opposition goal was.
Hitting the net was the problem. Erik Lamela's weak header went wide and Ryan Mason struck wide from distance
Goalkeeper Adrian denied Harry Kane on the hour and the striker couldn't make a clean connection on the rebound.
In the sustained spell of Tottenham pressure, Adrian also parried a shot from Christian Eriksen in the 64th minute and Kane missed a chance at the far post with his outstretched left boot.
Just like the legal fight to gain control of the Olympic Stadium from August, West Ham emerged victorious against Tottenham.
The prospect of Tottenham heading to the main 2012 Games stadium as champions for the first time since 1961 is still plausible. But in this erratic season, the destination of the trophy in 10 games time remains unpredictable.
Elsewhere in the Premier League on Wednesday:
LIVERPOOL 3, MANCHESTER CITY 0
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool avenged its weekend loss to Manchester City in the League Cup final in some style on Wednesday, winning an immediate return match 3-0 in the Premier League to damage the visitors' title ambitions.
City's winless run at Anfield extended to 13 years after conceding two goals in seven first-half minutes from Adam Lallana and former City player James Milner. Roberto Firmino added the third goal in the 57th minute with another clinical finish, as Liverpool's pressing game proved too much for City.
Fourth-place City is now 10 points behind league leader Leicester, having played a game less, and is now starting to look over its shoulder in the race to secure a Champions League qualification place for next season. Manchester United is tied on points in fifth.
It proved a miserable return to Anfield for City winger Raheem Sterling, who left Liverpool in acrimonious circumstances in the last off-season.
His first action was getting bashed to the ground by marker Jon Flanagan in the opening minute and his night didn't get much better. He received regular abusive chants from The Kop, flashed a shot way wide in the 27th, and was substituted at halftime.
By then, Liverpool — refreshed by five changes from the cup final — was 2-0 up from the first two clear-cut chances the team created on a blustery evening.
Lallana, one of the players recalled, picked up the ball in lots of space 35 yards out, advanced and struck a low, left-foot shot that dribbled into the corner from outside the area in the 34th.
Milner, who left City for Anfield last summer, doubled the lead in the 41st by running onto an inside pass from Firmino, piercing the heart of City's defense and toe-poking a shot beyond the stranded Hart.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini introduced forwards Wilfried Bony and Kelechi Iheanacho from the bench, but it left the visitors open and Liverpool capitalized.
Lallana was the instigator of the third goal, running unchecked to the edge of the area before slipping a short pass to Firmino, who curled a finish into the corner.
City didn't create a chance of note in the second half on another match to forget at Anfield, and has now lost three league games in a row.
ARSENAL 1, SWANSEA 2
LONDON (AP) — Arsenal's title hopes were hit by a second consecutive defeat in the Premier League on Wednesday as relegation struggler Swansea came from a goal behind to win 2-1 at Emirates Stadium.
Joel Campbell put Arsenal ahead in the 15th minute, but Wayne Routledge leveled for the visitors against the run of play in the 32nd.
Ashley Williams turned in Swansea's winner in the 74th after Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech flapped at a free kick by Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Beaten 3-2 at Manchester United on Sunday, third-place Arsenal remains six points behind surprise leader Leicester.
Swansea City manager Francesco Guidolin missed the match after being taken to hospital with a chest infection.
Swansea said 60-year-old Guidolin is in a "comfortable position" and his full recovery is expected within a few days.
MANCHESTER UNITED 1, WATFORD 0
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Juan Mata scored with a late free kick as Manchester United continued its revival Wednesday, beating Watford 1-0 in the Premier League to draw level on points with rival Manchester City.
Mata brilliantly lifted the ball over the wall and into the top corner in the 83rd minute as the unimpressive hosts took all three points against Quique Sanchez Flores' midtable team.
United remains fifth on 47 points after its first back-to-back league wins since November.
STOKE CITY 1, NEWCASTLE 0
STOKE, England (AP) — A long-range strike by Xherdan Shaqiri gave Stoke a 1-0 win over struggling Newcastle on Wednesday in the English Premier League.
The Stoke midfielder scored the only goal of the game in the 80th minute at the Britannia Stadium after he picked the ball up 25 yards out, before smashing it past Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal.
Stoke climbs two places to seventh in the league on 42 points.
Newcastle, which has now lost four out of its last five league games, remains in the relegation zone.