Premier League wrap: An astonishing night of Premier League action has seen Manchester City slip to third as the title race took a huge turn.
City were stunned for the second match in a row as Leicester beat the champions 2-1, while big wins to both Liverpool and Tottenham ensured a big shift atop the ladder.
The Reds destroyed Newcastle 4-0 at Anfield, while Spurs hammered Bournemouth 5-0 at home to leapfrog Pep Guardiola’s side into second place.
It’s the first time since 2002 that the Merseysiders have held a six or more point lead at the Premier League summit.
Meanwhile, Everton smashed Burnley 5-1, Manchester United made it two from two under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 3-1 win over Huddersfield as Paul Pogba nabbed a double.
HERE’S A PREMIER LEAGUE WRAP OF THE OVERNIGHT ACTION…
LEICESTER CITY 2-1 MANCHESTER CITY
Manchester City’s bid to retain the Premier League title suffered a major blow as the champions crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat at Leicester on Wednesday.
Just days after their surprise home loss to Crystal Palace, Pep Guardiola’s side took the lead through Bernardo Silva’s early goal.
But Marc Albrighton equalised for Leicester and Ricardo Pereira’s 81st-minute rocket handed City a third loss in their last four league games.
City are now seven points behind leaders Liverpool and drop to third place below Tottenham.
The problems are mounting up for Guardiola as Liverpool extended their lead at the top to leave City ruing a week either side of Christmas that threatens to see the trophy prised from their grasp.
LIVERPOOL 4-0 NEWCASTLE
Liverpool showed the form of champions as they increased their lead at the top of the Premier League to six points by hammering an abject Newcastle United 4-0 at Anfield.
Goals from Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho did the damage as Liverpool’s chances of a first English top-flight title since the 1989-90 season were boosted by Manchester City’s 2-1 defeat at Leicester.
Tottenham are now Liverpool’s closest challengers with City dropping seven points off the pace in third.
Even with Liverpool visiting the Etihad on January 3, their form as they extended an unbeaten home run in the Premier League that stretches back to April 2017 is beginning to make that lead in the standings look decisive.
SPURS 5-0 BOURNEMOUTH
Tottenham’s claim to be genuine contenders for the Premier League title was reinforced by a 5-0 thrashing of Bournemouth on Wednesday that saw them climb above champions Manchester City and into second place.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side did not put in a particularly scintillating display as speculation continues to swirl around the Argentinian and the Manchester United job that becomes vacant at the end of the season.
But it was more than enough to swat aside opponents who last beat them back in 1957 and keep a squad that also has an eye on Champions League glory believing that anything is possible.
Christian Eriksen’s opening goal required a hefty deflection but Bournemouth crumbled as Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura added to the tally before the break, and Harry Kane and Son bolstered the scoreline further afterwards.
The win was also followed Sunday’s 6-2 demolition of Everton — 11 goals scored and just two conceded is any side’s vision of a Merry Christmas.
MANCHESTER UNITED 3-1 HUDDERSFIELD
Paul Pogba scored twice as interim coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer marked his first home match in charge of Manchester United with a 3-1 win over bottom club Huddersfield in the English Premier League on Wednesday. Solskjaer, whose first match in charge on Saturday was a 5-1 victory at Cardiff, received a warm reception from the crowd as he returned to Old Trafford 11 1/2 years after representing them as a player.
The feelgood factor in the ground was evident from the start, but it was Huddersfield that was on top early on.
Sixth-placed United, though, gradually grew into the game and went in front after 28 minutes. Victor Lindelof’s powerful header from a Marcus Rashford corner was cleared off the line by Elias Kachunga, only for the ball to fall kindly for Nemanja Matic to score from close range.
WATFORD 1-2 CHELSEA
Eden Hazard scored his 100th and 101st Chelsea goals as Maurizio Sarri’s men moved back into the Premier League top four by grinding out a 2-1 win at Watford on Boxing Day.
Two of the three goals came in first-half stoppage time as the Belgian’s opener was quickly cancelled out by Roberto Pereyra’s spectacular strike.
However, Hazard made sure he was the match-winner as he was brought down by Ben Foster and then converted the resulting spot-kick early in the second half to move Chelsea two points ahead of Arsenal in the battle for Champions League qualification.
Despite fuming at Chelsea’s lack of focus in losing at Stamford Bridge for the first time in charge of the Blues to Leicester on Saturday, Sarri named the same starting line-up with Hazard again serving as the focal point of the attack ahead of Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata.
Hazard had to wait for his chances to come, but showed why Sarri persists with him through the middle as he coolly rounded Foster to give Chelsea the lead.
BURNLEY 1-5 EVERTON
Everton scored three times early as it thrashed Burnley 5-1 and ended a five-match winless run in the English Premier League on Wednesday.
Any lingering negativity from Everton losing to Tottenham 6-2 last Sunday was swept aside after 96 seconds as Yerry Mina headed in his first goal in English football.
Lucas Digne curled in a superb free kick 11 minutes later, and Ben Mee’s handball allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson to net the third from the spot in the 22nd minute.
Ben Gibson pulled one back before halftime on his first Premier League start for Burnley following double hernia surgery but any hopes of a second-half comeback were ended by Digne’s second in the 71st. Substitute Richarlison added the fifth in injury time.
Everton moved up to eighth. Burnley stayed in the relegation zone in 18th
BRIGHTON 1-1 ARSENAL
Juergen Locadia pounced on a defensive mistake as Brighton rallied to secure draw with Arsenal 1-1 at home in the English Premier League on Wednesday.
The opening stages suggested the visitors would have little trouble seeing off Brighton, especially after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang claimed his 13th league goal.
Two attempted clearances were charged down and when Leon Balogun was caught in possession by Alexandre Lacazette in front of goal, Arsenal took full advantage.
Lacazette’s sidestep wrong-footed Balogun and Shane Duffy, giving him time to lay the ball off to the unmarked Aubameyang, who produced a curling finish to beat goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
But defender Stephan Lichtsteiner’s failure to deal with a long ball handed Locadia the chance to level 10 minutes before the interval with his first goal since February.
Davy Propper’s long pass was hopelessly misjudged by Lichtsteiner, whose attempted header back to Bernd Leno fell short and Locadia nipped in and rounded the goalkeeper.
FULHAM 1-1 WOLVES
Fulham climbed off the foot of the Premier League after drawing 1-1 at home to Wolverhampton on Wednesday.
Captain Aleksandar Mitrovic was a constant thorn in Wolverhampton’s side and several times went close to scoring in the first half at Craven Cottage. Fulham finally broke through in the 74th minute through Ryan Sessegnon after visiting goalkeeper Rui Patricio punched Alfie Mawson’s effort straight to him. Claudio Ranieri’s side looked set to register only its third league victory of the season until Romain Saiss tapped the equalizer home for Wolverhampton after Helder Costa had failed to convert Ivan Cavaleiro’s 85th-minute cross.
Mitrovic then almost won the game for Fulham when he prodded the ball past the onrushing Patricio, but Conor Coady got back to clear off the line. Fulham is now one point above bottom club Huddersfield.
CRYSTAL PALACE 0-0 CARDIFF CITY
Cardiff resisted intense pressure to secure only its second English Premier League point away from home in drawing at Crystal Palace 0-0 on Wednesday.
The Bluebirds were hammered by Manchester United 5-1 on Saturday and could have lost just as heavily at Selhurst Park but goalkeeper Neil Etheridge’s resilience, Palace’s unconvincing finishing, and some desperate defending earned them a point.
Palace came into the match on the back of a 3-2 win at defending champion Manchester City, but if it finally felt in position to push up the table it wasted the finest of opportunities against an opponent which offered little in the attacking third.
The home side went closest in the second minute when Andros Townsend directed an effort at the crossbar in the second minute after good work from Wilfried Zaha. Palace almost scored a winner four minutes from time. Zaha raced through on goal but just as he prepared to shoot when moving one-on-one with Etheridge, Bruno Ecuele Manga stretched to make the match-saving challenge that earned a second draw on the Bluebirds’ travels.