Leicester City’s fairytale season has scaled new heights as it opened up a five-point lead at the Premier League summit by beating title rivals Manchester City 3-1.\
Centre-back Robert Huth scored twice, either side of a brilliant Riyad Mahrez goal, as Leicester recorded the finest win of its sensational 12-month rise from bottom to top of the English top flight.
Tottenham Hotspur also leapfrogged City into second place by beating Watford 1-0 courtesy of a 64th-minute goal from right-back Kieran Trippier, who tapped in a delightful left-wing cross from substitute Dele Alli.
To make matters worse for Manuel Pellegrini’s side, Arsenal can also move above City if it wins at Bournemouth on Monday (AEDT).
“There are a lot of super teams now. We will try. Why not?” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said with another top-of-the-table encounter looming next weekend, against Arsenal.
“The effort is a lot. Now it is important the players recover because we spent a lot of energy. Sometimes we run more than a bull. We play every match as though it is the last match.
“Now we are very, very confident and it is important to think about Arsenal. We are ready to fight there.”
Leicester was bottom of the Premier League a year ago and seemingly destined for relegation but is now closing in one of the most extraordinary triumphs in English sporting history.
Huth opened the scoring from a third-minute Mahrez free-kick and headed in Leicester’s third goal from a Christian Fuchs corner on the hour after Mahrez had darted through the ragged City defence to make it 2-0.
Sergio Aguero reduced the deficit with a glancing header in the 87th minute – his seventh goal in five games.
British bookmakers reacted to Leicester’s victory by making the team title favourites for the first time this season. A year ago to the day, they were three points from safety at the foot of the table.
Resurgent Sunderland stuns Liverpool
Elsewhere, Adam Johnson and Jermain Defoe scored as second-bottom Sunderland came from 2-0 down to snatch a 2-2 draw at Liverpool, whose manager Jurgen Klopp was absent due to appendicitis.
Despite losing Dejan Lovren and Joe Allen to injury, Liverpool went 2-0 up through Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana.
But Liverpool’s fans deserted the stadium in droves in the 77th minute in protest at rising ticket prices and Sunderland fought back, Johnson curling in a free-kick eight minutes from the end of regulation before Defoe equalised in the 89th minute.
“Normally the scoreboard doesn’t lie, but today it did in my opinion,” Liverpool development coach Pepijn Lijnders said.
Everton leapt three places to eighth, above Liverpool on goal difference, with an impressive 3-0 success at Stoke City.
All of Everton’s goals came in the first half, Romelu Lukaku netting an 11th-minute penalty before Seamus Coleman and Aaron Lennon found the net.
Resurgent Southampton closed to within two points of sixth-placed West Ham United with a 1-0 home win over Slaven Bilic’s side.
There was also movement at the bottom of the table, as Newcastle United moved out of the relegation zone after beating West Bromwich Albion 1-0 courtesy of a cool Aleksandar Mitrovic finish in the 32nd minute.
Norwich City took its place in the bottom three after losing 2-0 at bottom club Aston Villa, who scored through Joleon Lescott and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Crystal Palace ended a run of five straight defeats with a 1-1 draw at Swansea City, where Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 13th-minute free-kick for the hosts was cancelled out by a close-range Scott Dann effort.