EPL wrap: Chelsea moves 13 points clear; Leicester beats West Ham
LONDON, March 19: Gary Cahill made amends for conceding a penalty by scoring a late winner as Chelsea beat Stoke 2-1 to move 13 points clear atop the English Premier League on Saturday.
The England center back smashed home from close range following a corner in the 87th minute to seal a fifth straight victory for the likely champions.
Willian’s free kick put Chelsea ahead in the 13th, and Jonathan Walters equalized from the penalty spot in the 37th after the striker was nudged by Cahill.
Stoke right back Phil Bardsley was sent off in second-half stoppage time after collecting a second yellow card for a foul on Cesc Fabregas.
Chelsea won without star winger Eden Hazard, who was missing because of an unspecified injury.
Tottenham and Manchester City, who are tied on points and the nearest challengers to Chelsea, both play on Sunday.
WEST HAM 2, LEICESTER 3
Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez revived memories of Leicester’s title-winning campaign Saturday as the recovery under Craig Shakespeare continued with a 3-2 victory at West Ham that eases the champion’s relegation fears.
Since manager Claudio Ranieri’s firing, the Premier League champions have reeled off three successive victories to move six points clear of the relegation zone and sealed a first-ever place in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Leicester’s title defense has been so pitiful that it has taken until March and a trip to the Olympic Stadium to finally win an away game in the league — but only thanks to the second-half saves from goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Mahrez, who scored 17 goals last season in the astonishing charge to the title, put Leicester in front in east London after five minutes with only his fifth goal of the current campaign. The Algerian’s two goals in the three league games since Shakespeare took charge are as many as he managed in the previous 22 games under Ranieri, an alarming drop in form that was mirrored across the team.
Vardy’s goal proved decisive after Andre Ayew’s second-half header put West Ham back in control. Ayew missed a chance to level when he struck over and Andy Carroll was twice denied from close range by Schmeichel.
Lukaku also set up Everton’s second goal from Enner Valencia after 20-year-old Dominic Calvert-Lewin put the hosts in front on only his sixth league appearance.
CRYSTAL PALACE 1, WATFORD 0
Troy Deeney’s own-goal handed Palace a third straight win, taking the south London club four points above the relegation zone.
SUNDERLAND 0, BURNLEY 0
Burnley remained winless away from home and Sunderland stayed bottom.
BOURNEMOUTH 2, SWANSEA 0
Bournemouth achieved back-to-back wins for the first time in a year thanks to Benik Afobe’s two strikes, with the first deflecting off Alfie Mawson. While midtable Bournemouth climbed nine points clear of the drop zone, Swansea is only one place and three points from danger.