Leicester survive to secure win at Norwich; West Ham salvage draw at Sunderland
Leicester survived a spirited fightback from Norwich to secure a 2-1 victory at Carrow Road.
Jamie Vardy converted from the penalty spot with 26 minutes gone before Jeff Schlupp doubled Leicester’s advantage shortly after the interval. Claudio Ranieri’s side appeared on course to cruise to victory but Norwich substitute Dieumerci Mbokani gave the home side hope when he scored after 66 minutes. But the Foxes saw out the win to maintain their impressive start to the Barclays Premier League season.
For Norwich, Matt Jarvis was back in the line-up after the on-loan West Ham forward was ineligible to play against his parent club last week. Nathan Redmond, scorer in their 2-2 draw against the Hammers, started from the bench. Riyad Marhez was the surprise omission from Ranieri’s line-up. The Algerian striker has scored five times this term, but was handed only a place on the bench. Leicester suffered their first defeat of the season last time out against Arsenal and at a sun-drenched Carrow Road, Norwich created the first chance of the game.
With only three minutes gone, Cameron Jerome linked up well with Wes Hoolahan on the edge of the Leicester box, but he blazed his right-footed effort over the bar. Leicester were then content to allow Norwich to have more of the ball, but as the first half progressed they started to dominate proceedings. Vardy, always an out-ball for the visiting side, brought John Ruddy into action for the first time with 20 minutes gone. Vardy produced a neat step-over inside the area but his shot was saved by Ruddy at his near post. Vardy then fell under the challenge of Sebastien Bassong in the area and referee Mark Clattenburg had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Bassong protested his innocence, but Vardy stepped up to convert from 12 yards. It was his fifth goal in as many games and his seventh of the season.
Moments later, and with the hosts seemingly rattled, Leicester should have doubled their lead. Marc Albrighton crossed from the right-hand side, and Schlupp, sliding in, looked set to convert at the far post, but the ball grazed the bottom of his studs. The home fans were growing increasingly frustrated as the half-time whistle blew and it did not get any better after the interval.
Many of the home fans were still taking their seats when Leicester broke down the left-hand side. A brilliant reverse pass from N’Golo Kante sent Schlupp through on goal and he put his left-footed shot into the far corner. Norwich probably should have been awarded a penalty of their own after 50 minutes when Robert Huth appeared to grapple Jerome to the floor but Clattenburg was unmoved.
After an hour Mbokani replaced Jarvis and it was not long before the Congolese striker had an impact. He hit the crossbar with a header after 66 minutes before giving Norwich hope when he converted Jonny Howson’s cross. The game had exploded into life and down the other end, Leonardo Ulloa saw his headed goal ruled out for a push on Jerome.
Unaware of the decision Ulloa, who had only been on the pitch for 20 seconds, celebrated in front of the away fans, but it was the right call from Clattenburg. Kasper Schmeichel produced a fine save from Redmond. And in the closing moments Redmond saw his shot deflect off Danny Drinkwater and Leicester clung on to claim on all three points.
Sunderland 2, West Ham United 2
Dick Advocaat could only look on in horror as Sunderland squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with West Ham amid speculation that his reign is drawing to a close. The 68-year-old had tears in his eyes as Jeremain Lens struck to make it 2-0 after just 22 minutes, with Steven Fletcher having opened the scoring.
But his emotions were altered dramatically when Carl Jenkinson pulled one back in first-half injury time and Dimitri Payet levelled following Lens’ dismissal for a second bookable offence. What could prove to be Advocaat’s last game in charge unravelled alarmingly in front of a crowd of 42,932 as the Black Cats extended their run without a Barclays Premier League victory to 11 games stretching back to last season while collecting just their third point of the current campaign.
West Ham ultimately surrendered their 100 per cent league record on the road this season, but will take some comfort from their fightback. Whatever the future may hold for their head coach, his players chose their moment to turn in their best 45 minutes of the season to race into a 2-0 lead which could have been even greater. Unfortunately, the first half lasted significantly longer and it was in added time that the Hammers grabbed a lifeline they scarcely deserved.
Fletcher started the ball rolling with just 10 minutes gone when, after Jenkinson had hauled Fabio Borini to the floor in pursuit of Yann M’Vila’s ball over the top, M’Vila pulled the free-kick square to the Scotland international and he slammed it first-time past the helpless Adrian.
The Black Cats were simply irresistible with the midfield trio of Lee Cattermole, Ola Toivonen and the hugely impressive M’Vila dominant, and it was the Frenchman who capitalised on Winston Reid’s hurried clearance from Payet’s under-cooked 22nd-minute pass to slide the ball into the path of Lens and watch him chip the stranded keeper and score off the underside of the crossbar.
The game could have been effectively over before the break with Borini shooting narrowly wide on two occasions, the first of them after being played through by Fletcher’s clever flick. But having failed to kill off the contest, Sunderland were made to pay in stoppage time when Victor Moses created half a yard of space for himself on the left and crossed for the fast-arriving Jenkinson to sweep home.
Payet forced Costel Pantilimon into a 48th-minute save with a curling free-kick as Sunderland struggled to rediscover their first-half vigour, and Manuel Lanzini fired just wide after embarking on an adventurous 56th-minute run. The visitors received a further boost seconds later when Lens, who had already been booked for a first-half challenge on Aaron Cresswell, went through the back of Winston Reid and received a second yellow card, and they needed just three minutes to make their numerical advantage count.
Pantilimon could not hold Lanzini’s shot from distance and Payet was on hand to convert the rebound and stun the locals inside the Stadium of Light. That signalled an all-out assault from the Hammers and Pantilimon had to palm away Cresswell’s 80th-minute piledriver, but his side managed to spare themselves further
Aston Villa 0, Stoke City 1
Marko Arnautovic increased the pressure on Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood as Stoke claimed their first Barclays Premier League away win since February.
The midfielder struck to secure successive wins for Mark Hughes’ resurgent side in a deserved 1-0 victory at Villa Park. The Potters’ last away Barclays Premier League win came in Sherwood’s first game in charge at Villa in February. Arnautovic had already seen a goal disallowed in the first half while Charlie Adam’s audacious 60-yard lob almost had the visitors in front. But Arnautovic won it 10 minutes after the break as slapdash defending from the hosts cost them.
They failed to mount a response after going behind and remain winless in the Barclays Premier League since the opening day, and only Sunderland and Newcastle’s implosions stopped Villa slipping to the bottom of the table. Jack Grealish was benched in the week that saw him pledge his international future to England, while Mame Diouf replaced the injured Xherdan Shaqiri. But without Grealish Villa lacked any spark with Stoke, worryingly for Sherwood, comfortable.
An early sweeping move left Villa open at the back and Bojan spotted Diouf’s run only for Micah Richards to produce a superb block when the striker pulled the trigger. Stoke dictated the play but the game lacked real quality until Adam almost repeated his wonder goal against Chelsea after 18 minutes. The midfielder scored from 60 yards at Stamford Bridge last season and nearly did it again when a frantic Brad Guzan tipped aside his effort from 10 yards inside Stoke’s half.
The visitors were on top but struggled to find the crucial breakthrough against a limp Villa side who looked there for the taking and 10 minutes before the break the hosts survived a scare. Bojan was granted time and space to pick out Arnautovic who ghosted in between the defence to redirect the cross past Guzan – only to be ruled marginally offside. Idrissa Gana fired widely wide with Villa’s only serious effort of the first half and there were signs the natives were restless.
Grealish replaced the struggling Joleon Lescott at the break but he failed to be Villa’s inspiration and they were behind after 55 minutes. There was little pressure on Stoke as Adam and Glen Johnson combined before the defender threaded the ball through to Arnautovic who arrived unchecked in the box to fire in his second goal of the season, off the post.
Richards headed wide immediately after as Villa desperately searched for the leveller, while Jack Butland claimed Rudy Gestede’s low drive after 66 minutes. That it was the first time the goalkeeper had been seriously tested all game spoke volumes about Villa. They again looked bereft of confidence and ideas going forward and blew what small chances came their way and Gana smacked a free-kick into the wall in stoppage time as any hope slipped away.
Bournemouth 1, Watford 1
Watford had both goalkeepers to thank for a point after Artur Boruc’s howler and penalty save from Heurelho Gomes helped earn them a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth.
Boruc gifted Watford an equaliser when he made an almighty hash of a backpass, allowing Odion Ighalo to nick the ball and score his fifth goal of the season. Glenn Murray, who had headed Bournemouth into the lead, had the chance to slot in the winner from the penalty spot with seven minutes left. But Gomes guessed right to beat out the spot-kick and ensure the battle of the newly-promoted teams ended all-square.
Murray answered Bournemouth’s striker SOS after top scorer Callum Wilson was ruled out for six months with a knee injury. The former Crystal Palace striker had already looped one header onto the roof of the net, but made no mistake when presented with a carbon copy opportunity just before the half-hour mark. Simon Francis reached the byline and laid the ball back to Matt Ritchie, who swung it in just as Murray tip-toed in behind a leaden-footed Hornets defence to guide his header home.
Murray was lucky to make it to half-time on the pitch, however, after escaping with a yellow card for a vicious tackle on Etienne Capoue, with whom he had clashed off the ball moments earlier. But moments later Watford gained revenge of their own with their first chance of the game, an opportunity which was entirely of Boruc’s making.
The keeper gathered a routine backpass from Sylvain Distin but, as he attempted to play it back to the defender Ighalo intercepted, skipped past Boruc and rolled the ball into an empty net. Murray had the chance to nod Bournemouth back in front after the interval, this time from a Francis cross, but Gomes tipped his header over the top.
Moments later Watford almost took the lead, after Steve Cook hacked Ighalo’s cross-shot clear. From Almen Abdi’s corner, the ball fell to Ben Watson whose fierce volley crashed back off the crossbar. Boruc partly atoned for his error with a decent stop after Ikechi Anya burst through, while Gomes was called into action with a stunning save to keep out Cook’s overhead kick.
It looked as though Bournemouth would snatch the win when Capoue tripped Adam Smith in the area, but Gomes had other ideas as he dived to his left to palm out Murray’s penalty and preserve a point.
- Aaron Cresswell
- Almen Abdi
- Artur Boruc
- Aston Villa
- Ben Watson
- Brad Guzan
- Callum Wilson
- Cameron Jerome
- Carl Jenkinson
- Charlie Adam
- Costel Pantilimon
- Dieumerci Mbokani
- Dimitri Payet
- English Premier League
- Étienne Capoue
- Fabio Borini
- Glen Johnson
- Glenn Murray
- Heurelho Gomes
- Ikechi Anya
- Jack Butland
- Jack Grealish
- Jamie Vardy
- Jeff Schlupp
- Jeremain Lens
- John Ruddy
- Joleon Lescott
- Kasper Schmeichel
- Lee Cattermole
- Leonardo Ulloa
- Mame Diouf
- Manuel Lanzini
- Marc Albrighton
- Marko Arnautovic
- Micah Richards
- N'Golo Kanté
- Nathan Redmond
- Odion Ighalo
- Ola Toivonen
- Robert Huth
- Rudy Gestede
- Sébastien Bassong
- Simon Francis
- Steve Cook
- Steven Fletcher
- Sylvain Distin
- Victor Moses
- Wes Hoolahan
- West Ham United
- Winston Reid
- Xherdan Shaqiri
- Yann M'Vila