7 Mar 2016

Leicester go five points clear

8:25 am on 7 March 2016

Riyad Mahrez scored a sublime goal to earn Leicester City a 1-0 win at Watford that took them five points clear at the top of the English Premier football League.

Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City.

Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Leicester dominated the first half but could not break down a disciplined Watford defence until the 56th minute when Mahrez curled a sweet strike into the top corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

Mahrez continued to torment the Watford rearguard and Foxes defender Robert Huth missed a good chance to double the lead.

Leicester are five points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who drew 2-2 with Arsenal, and firmly on course for their first top-flight title with nine games remaining.

Manchester City revived their fading title hopes with a 4-0 rout of bottom club Aston Villa and the pressure mounted on Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren after a 3-1 home defeat by Bournemouth.

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Arsenal, who had Francis Coquelin sent off early in the second half, will be happier with the point against Spurs after Alexis Sanchez grabbed a late equaliser to end a run of three successive defeats in all competitions.

Toby Alderweireld low close-range drive and Harry Kane's brilliant curling strike had put Spurs ahead after Aaron Ramsey's clever finish gave Arsenal the lead.

Leicester can extend their lead over Spurs to five points if they beat Watford in the late game.

Sergio Aguero scored twice and missed a penalty as Manchester City overwhelmed Villa, eight points adrift at the foot of the table, with four second-half goals at the Etihad Stadium.

Champions Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke City at Stamford Bridge, Mame Biram Diouf heading in a late equaliser for the visitors after Bertrand Traore had put the London side ahead.

Newcastle remained second-bottom of the table, a point from the safety zone, after the defeat by Bournemouth and McClaren was roundly booed by the St James' Park crowd.

Steven Taylor's first-half own goal put Bournemouth ahead and Josh King doubled the lead in the 70th minute. Ayoze Perez pulled one back for the hosts 10 minutes later before Charlie Daniels ended Newcastle's hopes of a fightback.

West Ham United scored three goals in the closing minutes to secure a dramatic 3-2 win over 10-man Everton, who had Kevin Mirallas sent off after 34 minutes, at Goodison Park.

Southampton's Virgil van Dijk struck in stoppage-time to earn his side a 1-1 draw with fourth-bottom Sunderland and Swansea City won 1-0 against fellow strugglers Norwich City, who stay in the relegation places.