LONDON: Leicester City left Newcastle United still rooted in the Premier League relegation zone with a 4-0 thrashing of the Magpies on Sunday, while West Ham United’s Champions League ambitions were dented by a 0-0 draw at Burnley.
Despite being hit by a coronavirus outbreak that left Brendan Rodgers without seven players, the Foxes gave Eddie Howe another reminder of the task he faces to keep Newcastle in the top flight as Youri Tielemans struck twice at the King Power.
Howe will be able to call on the resources of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund in the January transfer window and results elsewhere this weekend mean they remain just three points adrift of safety.
But Newcastle face Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United in their next three games and, on this form, will be lucky to escape that run without another severe hit to their goal difference.
Leicester had won just two of their previous nine games in all competitions and were dumped out of the Europa League by Napoli on Thursday.
However, they got the break they needed to edge in front before half-time when James Maddison engineered contact with Javier Manquillo to win a penalty.
With Jamie Vardy watching on from the bench, Tielemans took responsibility from the spot to open the scoring seven minutes before half-time.
Patson Daka’s form has seen him earn his spot ahead of Vardy in recent weeks in the Premier League and Zambian had the easiest of tasks to roll in his seventh goal of the season from Harvey Barnes’ unselfish pass to double Leicester’s lead.
Tielemans rounded off a fine team move for his second of the afternoon before Maddison’s fine finish compounded Newcastle’s pain five minutes from time.
Victory lifts Leicester to eighth and back in the fight for a place in the top four while West Ham wasted the chance to extend their advantage over the chasing pack.
The Hammers have won just one of their last five league games as Nick Pope frustrated David Moyes’ men with a string of saves at Turf Moor.
West Ham edged one point ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, but Tottenham Hotspur, who are not in action this weekend due to their own Covid outbreak, are just two points back with two games in hand.
A point also does little to aid Burnley’s hopes of survival as they remain in 18th, but are now just two points adrift of safety.
On Saturday, league leaders Manchester City and title challengers Liverpool and Chelsea all needed penalties to secure victories on Saturday, leaving the top of the table unchanged.
City maintained their one-point lead after Raheem Sterling’s 100th league goal secured a 1-0 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the early kickoff, and chasing duo Liverpool and Chelsea responded with slim victories of their own.
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard’s return to Anfield nearly dealt a damaging blow to Liverpool’s title hopes but Mohamed Salah’s penalty in the 67th minute secured a 1-0 win for the Reds after goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez frustrated the hosts for much of the game.
“The first 75 minutes was incredible football,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. “We played in the spaces we wanted to play but we did not finish the situations which is tricky.”
At Stamford Bridge, Jorginho had to convert two spot kicks the second in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Chelsea to beat Leeds 3-2. His first penalty in the 58th put Chelsea 2-1 up but Joe Gelhardt equalised in the 83rd.
“We deserved to win but of course its lucky when you have a late goal in [injury] time,” Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said. “But coming back twice is very impressive and Im very happy we turned things around.”
Liverpool remained in second place with Chelsea another point back in third.
A Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in the 75th minute helped Manchester United to an unconvincing 1-0 win at bottom team Norwich City, their second successive league victory under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.
Arsenal, who are one point behind United in sixth, bounced back from two straight losses by beating Southampton 3-0 at home.