Leicester see off Southamption to make it six out of seven
Villa stride further towards survival while Carver’s Newcastle pick up first point in nine
Riyad Mahrez scored twice for Leicester City in their 2-0 win over Southampton. Photograph: Afp
Leicester continued their march towards Barclays Premier League survival against Southampton at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes thoroughly deserved their 2-0 success but Southampton, who have entertained for much of the season and earned plaudits for mounting a challenge for the European places, disappointed.
A fourth straight away loss looks to have finally ended their hopes of catching Liverpool in fifth spot.
For Leicester, the win is the latest in what has been a remarkable turnaround in fortune. A month ago they looked dead and buried and set for a return to the Sky Bet Championship after a eight-game winless run which included six defeats.
Now, Pearson’s side sit three places and three points above the drop zone and can clinch their place in the top flight for another season with victory at relegation rivals Sunderland next Saturday — should other results also go their way.
The only down side for Leicester was what looked like a serious-looking injury sustained by midfielder Matty James.
Newcastle United 1 West Bromwich Albion 1
Ayoze Perez ended relegation-haunted Newcastle’s eight-game losing streak as they picked up their first Barclays Premier League point since February.
However, the former Tenerife frontman’s seventh goal of the season was only enough to secure a 1-1 draw with West Brom at St James’ Park on a day when the battle for survival took a series of twists.
The Magpies had briefly slipped into the bottom three when Victor Anichebe headed home Craig Gardner’s 32nd-minute free-kick, but Perez levelled four minutes before the break with a sweetly-struck shot to hand head coach John Carver a little respite.
However, the home fans among a crowd of 47,894 left the stadium knowing there is still work to be done if their team is to avoid the drop with a trip to QPR next weekend and a final-day clash with West Ham on Tyneside to come.
Aston Villa 1 West Ham United 0
Tom Cleverley handed Aston Villa a massive survival boost as they hung on to beat West Ham 1-0.
The midfielder scored his third goal in three games to move Villa four points clear of the Barclays Premier League drop zone in a pulsating relegation scrap.
Sunderland’s early win at Everton had piled the pressure on Tim Sherwood’s side but they kept their cool during a composed first half to wrap up the points.
Villa are 14th with just two games left but hold a crucial cushion over Hull, who occupy the final drop spot, after the Tigers lost at home to Burnley — who were relegated.
Uninspiring West Ham offered little but Shay Given did have to tip James Collins’ header over in the second half as their wait for an away win continues.
Stoke City 3 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Tottenham’s Champions League hopes were extinguished in the most embarrassing fashion as they suffered their heaviest defeat to Stoke in 80 years.
Charlie Adam rammed the abuse he received from the travelling fans right back down their throats with a close range header and Steven Nzonzi made it 2-0 before Vlad Chiriches was sent off for a second yellow card.
They all came as a result of defensive lapses. Jan Vertonghen nodded the ball right into Adam’s path for his goal and a mix-up between Hugo Lloris and Eric Dier meant Nzonzi had the easiest of finishes to round off the win, which means Stoke have equalled last year’s total of 50 points with two matches left.
That Stoke are just eight points behind Spurs shows how much the Londoners’ form has tailed off towards the end of a long and tiring season.
They were simply dreadful at the Britannia Stadium — they were shaky at the back and lacked invention in attack.
They are now mathematically out of the race for the Champions League and a fifth successive season in the Europa League beckons.