Benteke gives Sherwood victorious return to White Hart Lane

Leicester strike at the death to keep survival hopes alive while Crystal Palace rout Sunderland

Christian Benteke’s first half header gave Aston Villa a precious 1-0 win away at Spurs. Photograph: PA

Christian Benteke’s first half header gave Aston Villa a precious 1-0 win away at Spurs. Photograph: PA

 

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Aston Villa 1

Christian Benteke scored his eighth goal in six games to hand Tim Sherwood a winning return to Tottenham and ease Aston Villa’s relegation fears.

Sherwood, who was relieved of his duties at White Hart Lane at the end of last season, has since taken the job at Villa with the task of keeping them in the Premier League and this victory will go some way to helping him achieve that goal — although Villa did see Carlos Sanchez sent off late in stoppage time.

Coincidentally, Sherwood’s last game in charge of Spurs was a 3-0 win over the Villans and he was on the winning side once more as Benteke headed home the only goal of a forgettable contest 10 minutes before half-time.

Tottenham were unable to create many chances of note, with stand-in skipper Harry Kane again quiet in attack as Ron Vlaar put in a strong defensive display.

That was in stark contrast to Tottenham’s defence, with Federico Fazio given a torrid afternoon by Benteke, fresh from a midweek hat-trick in the draw against QPR, and Sherwood was fully deserving of his comeback victory.

The win moves Villa six points clear of the relegation zone, whilst Mauricio Pochettino’s side drop to seventh as their season threatens to peter out.

West Bromwich Albion 2 Leicester City 3

Jamie Vardy’s stunning injury-time winner handed Leicester a vital survival lifeline after a 3-2 victory at West Brom.

The striker ran from the halfway line before burying a drive into the corner to close the gap to safety to just three points.

It clinched back-to-back Barclays Premier League wins for the Foxes for the first time since September but they remain bottom with seven games left.

Robert Huth’s late header had made it 2-2 after Darren Fletcher and Craig Gardner scored for Albion, while David Nugent levelled in the first half before the Foxes’ late show.

The Baggies, playing in a special replica kit from the 1968 FA Cup final as they paid tribute to former striker Jeff Astle to help launch a foundation in the late striker’s name, are seven points above the bottom three.

Sunderland 1 Crystal Palace 4

Yannick Bolasie plundered an 11-minute hat-trick as Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew got his own back on Sunderland.

The DR Congo international struck after 51, 54 and 62 minutes after Glenn Murray had opened the scoring to hand the former Newcastle manager a 4-1 victory at the Stadium of Light, Palace’s first ever top-flight win on Wearside.

Connor Wickham scored the home side’s consolation.

Pardew, of course, presided over four successive defeats by the Black Cats during his spell in charge at St James’ Park, and that run was a major factor in the deterioration of his relationship with the Toon Army.

Victory took the Eagles through the 40-point barrier — 25 of their 42 have come in the 12 Barclays Premier League games since he took charge.

West Ham United 1 Stoke City 1

Marko Arnautovic’s dramatic stoppage-time equaliser earned Stoke a 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw at West Ham.

The hosts looked to have done enough to battle to victory after taking an early lead through a superb free-kick by full-back Aaron Creswell.

However, after seeing two efforts from Arnautovic’s ruled out for offside and a header by substitute Mame Diouf hit the post, the visitors snatched a point deep into five minutes of stoppage time when the Austrian forward crashed the ball into the far corner.

Southampton 2 Hull City 0

Southampton’s faint top-four hopes were given a boost as James Ward-Prowse and Graziano Pelle ended long goal droughts to leave Hull deeper in the relegation mire.

This has been a remarkable season at St Mary’s, with Ronald Koeman’s side confounding the naysayers to such an extent that a highest finish in three decades is a realistic prospect.

Bettering the fifth place of 1985 looks a big ask but not impossible after Ward-Prowse’s penalty and a late Pelle strike secured Saints a hard-fought 2-0 against embattled Hull, seeing them level last year’s best-ever Premier League points tally of 56.

This was City’s sixth straight loss to Southampton and leaves Steve Bruce’s side worryingly close to the relegation zone with an unenviable run-in lying in wait.

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