Foxes Prepare For Life After Ranieri As His Former Side Maintain Lead
Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table was aided by Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City’s lack of involvement in match week 26.
The Blues beat Swansea City 3-1 on Saturday with goals coming from Cesc Fabregas, Pedro and Diego Costa. Antonio Conte’s side maintained their ten point lead over second placed Tottenham Hotspur, while the Manchester derby and Arsenal’s trip to Southampton were both postponed due to the EFL Cup final, which United defeated the Saints 3-2.
Spurs sealed an impressive 4-0 win against Stoke City, with Harry Kane netting his third hat-trick of 2017. The England forward’s treble came inside 23 first half minutes before he then set up Dele Alli to slide in the fourth and final goal a minute before half time.
Liverpool’s slim title hopes appear to be over as they were beaten 3-1 by a Leicester City side preparing for life after Claudio Ranieri. The Italian was sacked after failing to build on last season’s seemingly impossible achievements, but the Foxes seemed their old self against the Reds as Jamie Vardy’s brace came either side of a stunning Danny Drinkwater half-volley. Philippe Coutinho added a late consolation for Jurgen Klopp’s men who now reside in fifth place, 14 points away from Chelsea.
Leicester’s victory meant they moved out of the bottom three after temporarily dipping inside the relegation zone thanks to Crystal Palace’s victory against Middlesbrough. Patrick van Aanholt scored his first goal for the Eagles in the 1-0 win, although they remain in the relegation zone on goal difference.
Sunderland’s hopes of regaining their Premier League status come May were dealt a further blow as they lost 2-0 at Everton. Goals from Idrissa Gueye and Romelu Lukaku leave the Black Cats bottom of the Premier League table with just 19 points, while the Toffees remain seventh.
Hull City earned a valuable point at home to Burnley, although they will feel they should have won having gifted Michael Keane an equaliser for the Clarets. Tom Huddlestone netted the opener with a penalty before Keane was left unmarked to rifle home following a corner. Burnley’s Ashley Barnes was sent off late on for a second caution, having previously been booked for contesting the penalty award.
West Bromwich Albion continued their excellent home form with a 2-1 win against relegation threatened Bournemouth. Josh King’s penalty gave the Cherries the lead, but Craig Dawson’s deflected strike and Gareth McAuley’s seventh goal of the season ensured Tony Pulis’ side remain within touching distance of the Europa League qualification places. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are 14th, four points above the bottom three, but are without a win in all competitions since New Year’s Eve.
Watford continued their recent good home form with a 1-1 draw against ten-man West Ham United. The Hornets opened the scoring just three minutes into the game when Troy Deeney converted a penalty, but Andre Ayew equalised with just fifteen minutes left. The Hammers had Michail Antonio sent off and the winger’s suspension means he will miss his side’s game with Chelsea on 6 March.