EPL round up: Arsenal and Tottenham draw, Chelsea held by Stoke while Manchester City ease past Aston Villa
Leicester City look like the favourites to win the Premier League title after today's Premier League action
The North London derby produced another Premier League classic, as 10 man Arsenal and Tottenham shared the spoils of a wonderful encounter. Aaron Ramsey gave the visitors the lead in the 39th minute, while a 55th minute red card for Coquelin allowed Tottenham to score 2 goals in 2 minutes, courtesy Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane. Alexis Sanchez ended his goal drought in the 76th minute to earn a crucial point for Arsenal.
Arsenal took an unlikely lead in the first half thanks to Ramsey’s wonderful backheel goal, however, a red card to Coquelin gave Tottenham the encouragement to fight back. A goal from Toby Alderweireld and a wonderful strike by Harry Kane gave Tottenham the lead.
Arsenal however dug deep and fought back to secure a crucial 2-2 draw thanks to Alexis’ clinical finish from a Bellerin through ball. The biggest gain from this draw was for Leicester City who have an opportunity to go 5 points clear if they win against Watford.
Chelsea held to a frustrating 1-1 draw against Stoke City at home
Chelsea’s recent resurgence under Guus Hiddink suffered a slight wobble as they were held to a 1-1 draw by a gritty Stoke City at home. The defending champions Chelsea were without their star striker Diego Costa but Traore ensured they would not feel his absence too keenly when he gave Chelsea the lead with a wonderful left-footed shot from the edge of the box late in the first half.
Eventhough Stoke went trailing into the second half, they were encouraged by their displays in the first half with Shaqiri being particularly bright for the visitors.
Stoke played some impressive football in the second half with Marko Arnautovic and Shaqiri being denied by Courtois. However, Courtois was to blame for Stoke’s equaliser as he parried a simple cross from Shaqiri straight into Diouf’s path who headed in the equaliser.
The Belgian slightly redeemed himself when he saved Bojan’s effort to deny Stoke a last-gasp winner. Both sides will be rueing how they missed good opportunities in the first half with Diouf and Traore spurning glorious chances.
The draw leaves Stoke in 7th position while Chelsea just about make it to the top half of the table at 10th.
Manchester City ride on Aguero double to win 4-0 against Aston Villa at home
Manchester City overcame Aston Villa 4-0 at home to keep their title hopes alive. Aston Villa put in a determined performance in the first half and managed to frustrate City. However, a second-half blitzkrieg from Manchester City ensured that they did not let any more points slip.
Aston Villa were sitting deep in the first half and managed to frustrate City. However, three minutes into the second half Yaya Toure finished a clinical move involving Aguero and David Silva. Two minutes later Aguero doubled the lead when Micah Richards’ attempted clearance bounced off Aguero. Aguero scored the third of the night and his second 10 minutes later giving his sixth goal in 4 matches against Aston Villa.
Raheem Sterling who came off the bench scored the fourth in the 66th minute, tapping home form inside the six-yard box after Jesus Navas’ low cross bobbled right through a crowded Villa penalty area.
Aguero missed a glorious chance to complete his hat-trick when he hit the post from a penalty. However, the penalty miss had little bearing on the game as Pellegrini's men kept up the pressure in their title chase.
The result gave Manchester City a three-point cushion over rivals Manchester United while it left Aston Villa rooted to the bottom of the table.
Watford 0-1 Leicester
Leicester City gained a vital victory in the title race as a solitary goal from Riyad Mahrez gave the Foxes the victory away to Watford. The game was a closely fought affair, with Watford also having chances to score, but Mahrez’s moment of quality decided the game.
Watford started the better of the two sides at Vicarage Road as Holebas went close with an effort with only a few minutes on the clock. Jamie Vardy ought to have put the Foxes ahead midway through the first half, as wonderfully unselfish play from Riyad Mahrez set him up from the byline that required the Englishman to only poke home, but he fluffed his lines.
Troy Deeney had an opportunity on the hour mark to give his side the lead, but shot straight at Schmeichel. With both sides looking well drilled defensively, opportunities were few and far between as the half ended, which left the game scoreless at half time.
Watford continued to keep the Foxes at bay at the start of the second half, but the Hornets were left cursing some awful defending when they conceded the winner in the 56th minute. Holebas inexplicably headed a left-wing cross from Fuchs back into the danger zone. Mahrez collected the ball, took a touch and unleashed a powerful swerving effort with his left foot that flew into the near post top corner, thus giving the Foxes a vital lead.
Morgan and Huth came close for Leicester as the half wore on, but were nearly made to pay for their profligacy in the 80th minute as Ighalo spurned a wonderful chance to equalize with a close range header. With the goal at his mercy, the Watford striker could only head the ball straight back to Schmeichel, when scoring either side of him looked easier.
However, the miss did not change the result as the final whistle blew, as Leicester celebrated another step towards the title, as the Foxes went 5 clear from Spurs with 60 points, while Arsenal are 8 behind. The Foxes can reach out and touch it.
Other Scores and Results
Everton 2-3 West Ham United
Newcastle 1-3 Bournemouth
Southampton 1-1 Sunderland
Swansea 1-0 Norwich City