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Chelsea still No. 1, City hot on their heels

2021-11-29 HKT 01:37
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  • West Ham's goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (left) makes a save in front of Manchester City's Joao Cancelo at the Etihad stadium. Photo: AP
    West Ham's goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (left) makes a save in front of Manchester City's Joao Cancelo at the Etihad stadium. Photo: AP
Manchester United put their worries to one side to hold Premier League leaders Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday thanks to a Jadon Sancho breakaway goal that was cancelled out by a Jorginho penalty.

Chelsea, seeking to maintain their lead at the top of the table over Manchester City and Liverpool, dominated the first half against a United side playing their first Premier League match under caretaker manager Michael Carrick after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking last weekend.

The Blues were punished for failing to turn possession into goals five minutes after the restart when United cleared and Jorginho, alone near the half-way line, miscontrolled and Sancho raced past him to beat the helpless Edouard Mendy. Chelsea were rocked by the goal against the run of play but Jorginho repaid his debt to the Stamford Bridge faithful in the 69th minute when he coolly converted a penalty after Aaron Wan-Bissaka fouled Thiago Silva.

The hosts pushed for a winner and brought on Romelu Lukaku, returning from injury as a substitute for the last 10 minutes, but they failed to find a way through United's defence.

The result leaves Chelsea top of the table, a point ahead of Manchester City and two clear of Liverpool. United sit in eighth place, 12 points behind Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Manchester City beat West Ham 2-1 in swirling snow on Sunday to return to second in the Premier League as Watford manager Claudio Ranieri endured a miserable return to Leicester.

Free-scoring Liverpool laid down the gauntlet by hammering Southampton 4-0 the previous day to move to within one point of leaders Chelsea, who host Manchester United in Sunday's late kick-off.

But reigning champions City stayed in close touch with victory at home to high-flying West Ham as the Premier League increasingly resembles a three-horse race.

Riyad Mahrez had a strike ruled out for offside at the Etihad but the hosts eventually claimed the lead shortly after the half-hour mark when a Mahrez ball into the box was deflected into the path of Ilkay Gundogan, handing the German a simple finish.

Declan Rice forced a good save from Ederson as West Ham threatened late on but substitute Fernandinho made it 2-0 to City in the closing minutes.

Manuel Lanzini pulled one back deep into stoppage time but it was not enough for David Moyes's team to avoid a second successive defeat.

"We have an incredible groundskeeper -- thanks to them we could play," Guardiola told the BBC, referring to the wintry conditions in Manchester.

"The chances we created... it could have been three or four. The players we have out... those that came here were brilliant. All of them. We cannot forget which opponent we played. They have everything."

Leicester's Jamie Vardy reminded Ranieri of his enduring quality even in his mid-30s, scoring twice at a snowy King Power Stadium in a 4-2 win against Watford.

Ranieri, who famously won the Premier League title with unfancied Leicester in 2016, received a rapturous reception on his emotional first return to the stadium as an opposition manager since leaving the club early the following year.

Midfielder James Maddison gave Leicester an early lead when he capitalised on a mistake by William Troost-Ekong, only for Josh King to level from the penalty spot in the 30th minute after Wilfred Ndidi brought down Emmanuel Dennis in the area.

Leicester regained the lead four minutes later when Vardy lifted the ball over goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann from an angle and the former England striker grabbed his second three minutes before the break when he glanced in Maddison's corner.

Dennis pulled a goal back just after the hour when he robbed Timothy Castagne to race through and chip over Kasper Schmeichel but Ademola Lookman scored from close range to restore the home side's two-goal cushion.

Brentford heaped the pressure on Rafael Benitez by beating Everton 1-0 to secure their first Premier League win since early October, courtesy of a first-half penalty from Ivan Toney.

Everton, who have taken just two points from their past seven league matches, face Liverpool in a daunting test in midweek.

"Every game is important for us," said ex-Liverpool boss Benitez. "Obviously the next one is more important because it is the derby. We must learn from the mistakes we are making.

"When you lose games it is not easy. It is football. Sometimes like today you have chances and you push but it is not enough. The only thing is to keep attacking and try not to make these mistakes in defence."

The game between Burnley and Tottenham was called off a little under an hour before kick-off because of heavy snow at Turf Moor in northwest England.

Cristiano Ronaldo had to settle for a place on the bench as temporary Manchester United boss Michael Carrick made four changes to his starting team to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

United, who sacked Ole Gunnar Solksjaer last week after a humiliating 4-1 defeat at Watford, are set to hire former RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick imminently as their interim manager until the end of the season. (Reuters, AFP)
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Last updated: 2021-11-29 HKT 02:45