Wolves edge Leicester, win seven-goal thriller (video)

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  • Jota, Bennett score early, Wolves led 2-0
  • Leicester fought back to make it 2-2
  • Jota made it 3-2, then Morgan equalized late on
  • Jota seals hat trick in stoppage time
  • Leicester suffer fourth-straight defeat in all competitions

Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Leicester City 4-3 in a classic Premier League encounter Saturday, as the game flowed back and forth in a thrilling encounter at Molinuex.

Diogo Jota and Ryan Bennett scored to put Wolves 2-0 up early, but Leicester fought back at the start of the second half with a Demarai Gray striker and an own goal from Conor Coady. Jota popped up to make it 3-2 in a pulsating, end-to-end clash which both teams couldn’t control. Wes Morgan popped up to head home a late equalizer for Leicester, but then Jota struck in stoppage time to seal an incredible win.

With the win Wolves move up to eighth place on 32 points and leapfrog Leicester, who remain on 31 points. Foxes boss Claude Puel is certainly under pressure as his team suffered their fourth-straight defeat in all competitions.

Nuno Espirito Santo was sent off in stoppage time for running on the pitch and celebrating with his players, but the Portuguese coach will not care as Wolves’ European dreams remain alive.

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Wolves came flying out of the traps as Nampalys Mendy picked up an early booking and the Foxes couldn’t recover. First Kasper Schmeichel denied Ruben Neves with a fantastic save, then Jota gave Wolves the lead as he prodded home Joao Moutinho‘s perfect cross. 1-0.

At the other end Leicester almost hit back right away as Rui Patricio dallied on the ball and Jamie Vardy nipped in to steal it, but Wolves’ goalkeeper recovered to save and the hosts eventually cleared.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The game failed to calm down as Wolves then scored a second from a corner. Moutinho whipped in the set piece to the back post and Bennett towered above Harry Maguire to nod home a second for Wolves and leave Puel fuming on the sidelines.

Leicester tried to battle their way back into the game as Patricio pushed away Demarai Gray’s effort, saved another from Gray and Ricardo Pereira dragged as shot wide. At the other end Jota came close to finishing off Jimenez’s superb cross but Schmeichel saved, and Jimenez was then denied as Wolves ended the first half as they started it. Well on top.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Right at the start of the second half Leicester were back in the game as Gray dances through the Wolves defense and finished to make it 2-1, and moments later Barnes smashed an effort on goal which Patricio pushed over.

Barnes played a big hand in making it 2-2, as a mix-up in the box saw the ball drop kindly to him and the 21-year-old smashed home, via a deflection off Coady, what he thought was his first Premier League goal on his first start (the goal later went down as a Coady own goal) to spark wild celebrations among the Leicester fans. Game on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Wolves went back ahead midway through the second half as Neves played a beautiful ball over the top and Jota drilled a low shot home to make it 3-2.

Substitute James Maddison missed a glorious chance to level things, but he then whipped in a wonderful cross for Morgan to head home an equalizer late on. But the drama wasn’t done. A mistake from Leicester allowed Jimenez to tee up Jota and he completed his hat trick to make it 4-3 and hand Wolves a dramatic late victory as Nuno Espirito Santo ran on the pitch in jubilation.

That goal capped off an instant Premier League classic rather nicely.

Heroic Southampton win at Leicester (video)

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  • Ward-Prowse, Long score for Saints
  • Valery sent off in first half 
  • Southampton out of relegation zone
  • 3 defeats in last 4 for Leicester

10-man Southampton beat Leicester City 2-1 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, as Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men dragged themselves out of the relegation zone with a wonderful defensive display.

James Ward-Prowse and Shane Long put Saints 2-0 up in the first half but they also had teenage right back Yan Valery sent off for two yellow cards. With a host of injuries, suspensions and players away on international duty, Saints dug deep with eight academy graduates in their matchday squad.

In the second half Leicester pulled one back as Wilfred Ndidi made it 2-1, but despite having all of the possession and efforts they couldn’t break down a stubborn Southampton side.

With the win Saints move up to 16th place on 19 points, while Leicester slip to eight on 31 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Southampton took the lead early on thanks to a moment of madness by Nampalys Mendy. The Leicester midfielder caught Shane Long in the box and gave away a blatant penalty kick.

Ward-Prowse stepped up to score the penalty as Kasper Schmeichel got close to it but couldn’t keep it out.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

An unmarked Jack Stephens then forced Schmeichel into a stop as he powered in a header from a corner which the Leicester goalkeeper pushed away. Harry Maguire nodded wide from Ben Chilwell‘s cross as Leicester battled their way back into the game before half time.

After a flashpoint between Jan Valery and Chilwell saw them both booked, Jan Bednarek somehow cleared Wes Morgan‘s effort off the line as Saints held firm. At the other end Valery should have finished off Matt Targett‘s cross at the back post under pressure and moments later he was the villain.

Valery brought down Marc Albrighton and was given a second yellow card as Saints were reduced to 10 men right on half time, but then they went 2-0 up. Long beat Mendy to a long ball and his shot had too much out on it Schmeichel to keep out.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

At half time Leicester brought on Demarai Gray and Harvey Barnes to try and get back into the game, as Leicester had plenty of the ball but Saints were a threat on the break with the pace of Nathan Redmond and Long.

The Foxes pumped long balls into the box and soon pulled a goal back as Ndidi bundled the ball home from Ricardo Pereira‘s cross. Game on.

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Jamie Vardy and Barnes went down in the box without any contact to leave Southampton’s defenders furious, while Vardy headed off target when under pressure.

Late on Leicester threw everything at Southampton as Maddison curled a long-range effort just wide, but Saints held on for a huge victory after a valiant defensive effort.

Vardy pushes Leicester City past Everton

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  • First PL match of 2019
  • Everton out shoots Foxes 17-8
  • Keane error lets Vardy score
  • One win in eight for Everton

Jamie Vardy‘s second half goal was all Leicester City needed to move past Everton and into seventh place with a 1-0 win at Goodison Park on Tuesday.

Marco Silva‘s seat will be feeling hotter with Everton a possibility to finish the match day in the bottom half of the table. The Toffees have 27 points.

Leicester has 31 points, four back of sixth place Manchester United.

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After a sleepy 45 minutes highlighted by Jonjoe Kenny striking the bar for Everton, the second half at least provided a goal.

A Michael Keane mistake gave the ball away to Ricardo Pereira deep in Everton territory, and Pereira quickly found Jamie Vardy.

Vardy did what he tends to do when given a terrific chance, beating Sergio Rico and celebrating the first Premier League goal of 2019 with an acrobatic celebration.

Keane’s rough day could’ve gotten worse if referee Martin Atkinson had a quick whistle, but was rightly let off the hook when a Leicester header struck his arm later in the frame.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

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What did we learn on Boxing Day?

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Boxing Day 2018 in the Premier League was absolutely wild. And it could turn out to be an incredibly pivotal day as we’ve now hit the halfway point of the 2018-19 season.

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Another shock loss for Man City was compounded by big wins for Liverpool, Tottenham and Man United in the top six. At the bottom, Fulham, Huddersfield and Burnley are in the relegation zone and struggling for confidence.

[ MORE: PL Grades at midway ]

Here’s a look at the key takeaways from the nine PL games played on a crazy Boxing Day.


Man City imploding

Two defeats on the spin to Crystal Palace and Leicester have Pep Guardiola and Man City reeling as they’re now seven points behind Liverpool who sit on top of the Premier League table. They’ve now lost three of their last four PL games, and perhaps some of the desire they had last season is no longer there. City’s home game against Liverpool on Jan. 3 now likely represents a final chance to peg the Reds back. That seems crazy to write with half the season left, but if City were to lose and fall 10 points behind Liverpool, the way Jurgen Klopp‘s men are playing there would be no way back. City lost 2-1 at Leicester as a stunner from Ricardo Pereira did the damage. There is no doubt that Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero are struggling after their returns from injury, while having David Silva only fit enough to come off the bench and Fernandinho out shows that City aren’t coping well with injury absences, especially from a defensive standpoint. Yet with the strength of their squad this is still a huge surprise. Nobody saw this coming from City, and even Guardiola seems to look surprised although he continues to say he is happy with the way his team are playing. The same intensity levels just aren’t there, and the fact that six of his 11 defeats as a PL manger have come in December could point towards fatigue playing a huge part as he demands high-pressing and a high tempo all season long. He may well be happy, but City are losing games and making defensive mistakes that Liverpool and Tottenham are not. The reigning champs are in freefall.


Liverpool, Spurs keep on trucking

As City slip up, Liverpool and Spurs just keep on winning. Liverpool secured an eighth-straight win as they hammered Newcastle 4-0 and have now gone the first half of the season unbeaten. Spurs have won five on the spin and have scored 11 goals in their last two games as they’ve battered Everton 6-2 and Bournemouth 5-0 over the festive period. Mauricio Pochettino‘s stock continues to rise (at Man United and elsewhere) and his players have pushed Spurs up to second in the table, as they continue to defy the odds. Both Liverpool and Spurs have in-form attackers aplenty and they’re also sturdy defensively. Right now Liverpool are the bookies’ favorites to win the league and Spurs are genuine title contenders. This title race could be between Jurgen Klopp and Pochettino with Guardiola looking on enviously. With their high-tempo, full-throttle play, both Liverpool and Spurs have been relentless in recent weeks and they show no signs of taking their foot ff the accelerator. Liverpool have Arsenal and Man City coming up next. Tottenham have Wolves and Cardiff. Maybe, just maybe, Spurs are the darkhorses we should all be keeping a closer eye on.


Pogba the key man for Solskjaer

This managing thing is easy, right? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it two wins from two to kick off his caretaker reign, as he received a wonderful reception in his first game in charge at Old Trafford. United beat Huddersfield 3-1 and the scoreline suggests an easier time for the Red Devils than it was. David De Gea made a wonderful stop at 1-0, but then Paul Pogba took the game over. He swept home to make it 2-0 and curled home a wonderful second to make it 3-0. Solskjaer said that Pogba is “happy now” and with two goals and three assists in the two games since Jose Mourinho was fired, it is clear that the Frenchman was shackled by United’s former coach. Solskjaer has United playing open, attacking soccer and the mood around United has changed completely. With games against Bournemouth and Newcastle coming up, United are well and truly back in the top four hunt. But we cannot get too far ahead of ourselves. With all due respect, they have beaten Cardiff and Huddersfield. The first big test for Solskjaer arrives on Jan. 13 with a trip to play Tottenham at Wembley. Only then will we be able to see how much these confidence-boosting wins have helped their progression.


Burnley, Huddersfield, Fulham could be cut adrift
Burnley were hammered 5-1 at home by Everton. Huddersfield have lost six straight games. Fulham haven’t won in six. They are all in real danger of being cut adrift at the bottom of the table after the festive period. And there are some huge clashes against one another coming up. Fulham’s game against Huddersfield on Dec. 29 is massive for both teams. The Cottagers were unlucky in their 1-1 draw against Wolves on Boxing Day, as Aleksandar Mitrovic went close on several occasions and Claudio Ranieri has clearly made them a better defensive unit. Huddersfield host Burnley on Jan. 2 in what will be a huge scrap and once again pivotal in deciding which team is going to dig themselves out of danger. Huddersfield are dangerous without being clinical, while Burnley’s previously staunch defensive unit now has more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese. With Southampton, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City all showing signs of progress in recent weeks, that is further bad news for Burnley, Huddersfield and Fulham. Their revival for the second half of the season starts now. It simply has to.


Race for seventh place is on

Everton and Leicester were always going to be the safe bets to be the ‘best of the rest’ in the Premier League, and big wins for both on Boxing Day underlines their status as the favorites to finish seventh and secure a Europa League spot. Everton hammered Burnley 5-1 and Marco Silva‘s men were unlucky a few days ago to miss chances, have decisions go against them and face a ridiculously clinical Spurs. The Toffees will be right up there with Richarlison and Gyfli Sigurdsson delivering goals and assists. They just have to sort out their defense. As for Leicester, Claude Puel was under pressure this time last week. He has now led Leicester to back-to-back wins against Chelsea and Man City. What a strange game this is. The Foxes are back to being their clinical best and against the top teams they are forced to sit back, defend and then counter. That suits their players down to the ground. What doesn’t is Puel’s penchant to have his teams possess the ball and against the teams in the bottom half of the table, as Leicester often run out of ideas in attack and are frustrated. They must play on the counter more often if they’re going to seal seventh place. With Watford, Bournemouth and Wolves all in the hunt too, the battle for seventh and the Europa League has perhaps never been this muddled. It’s fantastic.

Man City slides third with loss to Leicester

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  • Bernardo scores early
  • Albrighton levels it
  • Ricardo wins it for Foxes
  • Delph sent off

Ricardo’s outstanding second half goal gave hosts Leicester City a memorable win as Manchester City lost for the second-straight match and dipped to third on the Premier League table with a 2-1 loss at King Power Stadium on Boxing Day.

Marc Albrighton and Ricardo Pereira scored for Leicester City, who moves 7th with 28 points.

Fabian Delph was given a late red card for Man City, who led 1-0 through a Bernardo Silva goal.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

City broke Leicester down for the first time in the 14th minute, with Bernardo finishing his chance after Aymeric Laporte‘s incisive pass was flicked into his path by Sergio Aguero.

Albrighton surprised Ederson and City to make it 1-1 with a picture perfect header across goal and inside the far post in the 20th minute. Jamie Vardy‘s cross served as the assist.

City had several big chances to make it 2-1, but the biggest threat of the remaining play came when Ederson had to stop Jamie Vardy and Hamza Choudhury.

The 82nd minute found the winner, as Sane cleared a Leicester City corner kick just outside the 18. Ricardo settled it then hit a seeing-eye rocket through a sea of players and inside the far post to give Leicester a fairly deserved lead.

Aguero was particularly wasteful on the day, still finding his rhythm after a break from the team.

By the way, Pep, this stat ain’t that legendary:

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[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]