A much-changed Leicester bounced back from a Boxing Day thrashing by Liverpool to beat West Ham 2-1 on Saturday as Tottenham’s charge towards the Premier League top four stalled in a 2-2 draw at Norwich.
Leicester had taken just one point from their previous three games to realistically end an unlikely title challenge, but remain second best in the table behind runaway leaders Liverpool after ending a three-game winless run.
Brendan Rodgers made nine changes to the side outclassed by the European champions two days ago with Jamie Vardy among those missing due to the birth of his daughter.
Kelechi Iheanacho and Demarai Gray made the most of their chance for a rare Premier League start by scoring either side of half-time, although Gray also saw an early penalty saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
“Anytime you come in if you’re not playing so much you have to try and stamp your mark and get yourself in the team,” said Gray.
“We knew it was a quick turnaround and we knew we’d need a fresh XI but it just shows the quality and depth we’ve got in the team.”
The Foxes move 10 points behind Liverpool having played two games more and stretch their lead over Manchester City in second to four points.
Pablo Fornals levelled for the Hammers just before half-time, but they remain just one point above the relegation zone after a seventh defeat in nine games.
– Kane salvages Spurs –
Tottenham edged ahead of Wolves on goal difference but missed the chance to leapfrog fourth-placed Chelsea as their defensive deficiencies were again exposed by bottom-of-the-table Norwich.
Mario Vrancic was afforded time and space to fire the Canaries into an early lead and only the finest of margins on a VAR review for offside denied Teemu Pukki putting Norwich 2-0 up before half-time.
Christian Eriksen’s brilliant free-kick levelled for Spurs early in the second half, but Jose Mourinho’s men shot themselves in the foot again soon after as Serge Aurier’s own goal restored Norwich’s lead.
Tottenham’s dominance after the break was rewarded eight minutes from time through Harry Kane’s penalty after the England international had been chopped down inside the area.
“We conceded two very, very bad goals,” bemoaned Mourinho.
“You cannot concede as many goals as we do but our defensive mistakes are match after match.”
– Ancelotti’s flying start –
Carlo Ancelotti’s flying start at Everton continued with a 2-1 win at Newcastle thanks to a double from the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin to move into the top half.
The 22-year-old twice showed his predatory instincts from close range either side of Fabian Schaer’s equaliser.
“We are getting back to where we want to be after a below par start,” said Calvert-Lewin. “It was not good enough and it was vitally important we turned it around. ”
Crystal Palace missed the chance to close to within three points of the top four as they surrendered a lead to draw 1-1 at Southampton as Danny Ings cancelled out James Tomkins’s opener.
Brighton climbed up to 14th, five points clear of the drop zone, as Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Aaron Mooy scored their first goals for the club in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth.
Jahanbakhsh was moved to tears when he opened the scoring with his first Premier League goal 18 months after joining the club from AZ Alkmaar.
“It was a great moment for everyone in the stadium, especially Ali. He deserves it,” said Brighton boss Graham Potter.
Watford closed to within three points of safety thanks to a second home win in as many games under Nigel Pearson as Troy Deeney scored twice in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa 3-0 despite the Hornets playing half an hour with 10 men after Adrian Mariappa saw red.