Premier League mid-week roundup Matchday 24 of 38
Bad week for top sides; City and Liverpool falter
It was a tumultous mid-week for top Premier League teams that begun with the shock 1-2 defeat of 2nd placed Manchester City away at St. James' Park. Sergio Aguero's strike in the 1st minute of play seemed to suggest a rout for the Citizens, but astonishing that was the only one the title-holders were going to get in the game as Newcastle replied with a couple of their own through Salomon Rondon and Matt Ritchie in the 66th and 80th minutes of play.
It was the Magpies only 6th Premier League win of the current season helping them move a notch up the table but still in the bottom half at the 14th spot.
Manchester City remained in the 2nd spot, still 5 points behind Liverpool who failed to take a strangling lead over their next-best rivals when they drew 1-1 with a doughty Leicester City at Anfield.
Like City did with Newcastle, the Reds too went into an early lead through Sadio Mane in the 3rd minute but surprisingly could not hold on to that.
Harry Maguire deservedly got the visiting Foxes the equalizer just seconds before the half-time whistle and denying Jurgen Klopp's table-toppers the extra two points.
Leicester City are unlucky to find themselves dropping to the 11th spot after their credible performance at Anfield. But that's because Bournemouth overtook them to end up 10th, thanks to stunning 4-0 win over the much-fancied Chelsea.
Goalkeeper Artur Boruc was the hero for the Cherries, pulling off 5 stunning saves from attempts on the goal by the visiting Blues who dominated 70 per cent of the possession but hardly made any meaningful impact.
The hosts made the best of whatever chances they got as Joshua King struck a brace in the 47th and 74th minutes with David Brooks and Charlie Daniels chipping in to complete the humiliation for Maurizio Sarri's outfit.
As a result of the Dean Court rout, Chelsea find themselves pipped out of the Top Four to the 5th spot with Arsenal moving into the 4th after their 2-1 win over Cardiff City at the Emirates.
The Gunners are on 47 points now which is equal to Chelsea's, but Unai Emery's men are ahead by virtue of a much superior goal average (Arsenal have scored 50 goals in the season compared to Chelsea's 40).
Manchester United missed an opportunity to move a notch up the table to 5th when they were held by a lowly Burnley 2-2 at the Old Trafford.
The Red Devils' 8-match winning streak came to halt when Sean Dyche's men emerged from Old Trafford with only their 5th drawn game of the season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were lucky to have come out unscathed having been down 0-2 for most of the game.
A penalty converted by Paul Pogba in the 87th minute and the equalizer from Victor Lindelof 2 minutes into injury time saved the hosts the blushes.
Tottenham made secure their 3rd spot on the table when they cancelled out Watford's early one goal lead with late strikes from Son Heung-Min in the 80th and Fernando Llorente in the 87th. Watford after Thursday's defeat are fortunate to find themselves in the 9th place but share a tally of 33 points with 8th placed Everton and Bournemouth (10th).
As far as the battle to remain in the Top 8 goes, Wolverhampton seem to be winning, with an emphatic 3-0 home victory over West Ham United on Tuesday. The 7th spot evidently is the best the Wolves have achieved in some time garnering 35 points along the way. But Nuno Santo’s men will have to be careful not to slip up going ahead, for even a 11th placed Leicester City are just 3 points behind.
Manuel Pelligrini’s Hammers have been pushed to the 12th spot after their mid-week defeat to the Wolves. Brighton & Hove have been stuck to the 13th spot for an eternity and are lucky to be there even after six defeats from their last nine Premier League outings.
Cardiff City are back into relegation territory, slipping to the 18th spot post their loss to Arsenal while Fulham and Huddersfield Town still languish at the bottom two places.