Manchester United fell to a 1-0 defeat against Newcastle United; their second successive away loss in the league. United were sloppy with the ball and failed to take their chances when they came, with Anthony Martial particularly guilty, and were made to pay when Matt Ritchie swept home, unmarked, following a freekick. This result, coupled with Manchester City’s win, means City are now six wins away from the title, and could clinch it by winning the Manchester derby in March.
City, and Sergio Aguero, put on a second-half masterclass as Leicester were thrashed 5-1 at the Etihad. Raheem Sterling had put City in front inside four minutes, but Jamie Vardy levelled midway through the half after a loose defensive pass. Aguero stepped up after the break, firing four goals past Kasper Schmeichel, while Kevin de Bruyne also completed a hattrick of gorgeous assists during the game. The win took City 16 points clear at the top. The North London derby saw Spurs edge Arsenal by a 1-0 scoreline, thanks to Harry Kane’s seventh goal in as many games against the Gunners. Spurs created plenty of chances to increase their lead, but Petr Cech was in inspired form, in a game that broke the Premier League’s attendance record.
Everton moved up to ninth place with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Goodison Park. Second-half goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson, Oumar Niasse and Tom Davies secured the win for the Toffees, while the Eagles only had a late Luka Milivojevic penalty as consolation. Stoke and Brighton played out a 1-1 draw at the bet365 Stadium, as Jose Izquierdo’s and Xherdan Shaqiri both scored for the second game in a row. There was late drama, as Mat Ryan saved an 89th minute penalty from Charlie Adam, with Lewis Dunk sliding in to deflect the rebound, while Anthony Knockaert also cleared off the line in a frantic finale to earn Brighton a point. West Ham moved further away from the relegation zone through a 2-0 win over Watford, as Chicharito and Marko Arnautovic got the goals for the Hammers. The win moved West Ham level on points with Watford, and five points away from the relegation zone.
Swansea’s stunning resurgence under Carlos Carvalhal continued, as they won 1-0 against Burnley at home. Ki Sung-yeung got a late winner to send the Liberty Stadium wild, as the Swans’ third win in four games took them a point clear of the bottom three. Huddersfield smashed four goals past Bournemouth, who could only muster one in reply, in a stunning result at the John Smith’s Stadium. Alex Pritchard’s first goal since arriving in January was quickly cancelled out by Junior Stanislas; however, a Steve Cook own goal, and further strikes by Steve Mounie and Rajiv van la Parra meant that the Terriers snapped their eight-match winless run in emphatic fashion, while this was Bournemouth’s first loss since December. Liverpool pushed Southampton back into relegation trouble, with a routine 2-0 win at St. Mary’s. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah got the goals, as the Reds moved up to third, four points behind Manchester United, while Southampton slid into the bottom three. The final fixture sees Chelsea host West Brom on Monday night.
Another disappointing away defeat for United brings up the spectre of City winning the title by beating United in March, while their second place spot is also under threat, with Liverpool only two points behind, and Spurs a further two points back. United now have FA Cup and Champions League commitments before their next game in the league, a blockbuster home game against Chelsea, and while the cups remain United’s best chance of silverware, Jose Mourinho must ensure that his club do not fall out of the top two because of their cup fixtures.