Manchester City cement top spot after winning nine-goal Boxing Day thriller

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Raheem Sterling’s double helped Manchester City cement their place at the top of the Premier League table with a 6-3 victory after they survived an unlikely Leicester fightback in a nine-goal Boxing Day thriller.

City looked to have secured a ninth successive league win when they raced into a 4-0 lead inside 25 minutes as the Foxes capitulated horribly in the face of an onslaught.

Kevin De Bruyne’s fifth-minute strike set the ball rolling and it was 2-0 after 14 minutes when former Leicester midfielder Riyad Mahrez converted from the spot after Youri Tielemans had wrestled defender Aymeric Laporte to the ground.

Ilkay Gundogan added to the visitors’ woes with 21 minutes gone and Sterling slotted home a second penalty after being felled by Tielemans.

However, James Maddison’s assured finish 10 minutes after the restart gave the Foxes a glimmer of hope, and that grew when Ademola Lookman and then Kelechi Iheanacho further reduced the deficit.

Laporte’s 69th-minute header gave the champions breathing space and Sterling made it 6-3 with three minutes left on the clock.

Jorginho scored two penalties as Romelu Lukaku came off the bench to inspire Chelsea to a 3-1 comeback win at Aston Villa which leaves them six points adrift of the leaders.

Chelsea’s Jorginho celebrates scoring his second penalty of the game
Chelsea’s Jorginho celebrates scoring his second penalty of the game (Nick Potts/PA)

Villa took a 28th-minute lead when Reece James got his head to Matt Targett’s cross but only succeeded in looping the ball over keeper Edouard Mendy and into his own net, although Jorginho levelled from the spot within six minutes after Callum Hudson-Odoi had been tripped by Matty Cash.

Thomas Tuchel sent on Lukaku at the start of the second half and the change had the desired effect within 11 minutes when he headed home Hudson-Odoi’s cross and, after the Belgium international’s injury-time run had been ended illegally by Ezri Konsa, Jorginho struck from 12 yards once again.

Jan Bednarek was Southampton’s hero as the Saints dented West Ham’s top-four hopes with a first league win in seven attempts.

The Saints got off to the perfect start at the London Stadium when Mohamed Elyounoussi drilled home from Kyle Walker-Peters’ pull-back, but half-time substitute Michael Antonio levelled just four minutes after his introduction.

Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha (left) reacts after being sent off at Tottenham
Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, left, reacts after being sent off at Tottenham (John Walton/PA)

James Ward-Prowse’s 61st-minute penalty restored the visitors’ lead but Said Benrahma swept home Jarrod Bowen’s cross to level just three minutes later, only for Bednarek to head the Saints to victory with 20 minutes to go.

Wilfried Zaha was sent off as Covid-hit Crystal Palace lost 3-0 at Tottenham.

The visitors were still reeling from Harry Kane’s 32nd-minute strike when Lucas Moura started and finished a flowing moving to make it 2-0 before Zaha was dismissed for a second bookable offence after angrily pushing defender Davinson Sanchez away.

Son Heung-min deepened Palace’s woes with a third 16 minutes from time.

Bukayo Saka struck twice as Arsenal romped to a 5-0 win at bottom-of-the-table Norwich.

The Gunners were ahead after just six minutes courtesy of Saka’s sweet strike, but they had to wait until a minute before the break for Kieran Tierney to cement their superiority with a second goal.

Saka’s second of the game wrapped up the points with 23 minutes remaining with Alexandre Lacazette’s 84th-minute penalty and substitute Emile Smith Rowe’s stoppage-time strike simply rubbing salt into the Canaries’ wounds.

Leandro Trossard produced a stunning finish to help Brighton beat Brentford 2-0 and secure a first league win in 12 attempts.

Trossard set the ball rolling with the deftest of touches, lifting Enock Mwepu’s lofted 34th-minute pass over advancing keeper Alvaro Fernandez on the full, and Neal Maupay doubled the Seagulls’ advantage three minutes before half-time with an emphatic strike.

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