EPL: Arsenal dethroned by Leicester; controversial equaliser rescues Chelsea

By Daily Sports on January 17, 2016

Views: 974

Rudy Gestede came off the bench to snatch a point for Aston Villa against Leicester City, who edged back to the top of the Barclays Premier League table with a 1-1 draw.

Shinji Okazaki broke the deadlock after 28 minutes when the Goal Decision System confirmed his close-range effort was over the line despite the best efforts of Villa goalkeeper Mark Bunn.

Riyad Mahrez had a first-half penalty saved by Bunn and Villa, aiming to build on their first league win since the opening day of the season against Crystal Palace in midweek, improved after the break.

Gestede got the better of Robert Huth, Leicester’s matchwinner at Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, and crashed an effort in 15 minutes from time.

The result puts Leicester a point above Manchester City and Arsenal at the summit but they will lose that position if Arsene Wenger’s men avoid defeat at Stoke City on Sunday, while Villa are six points adrift at the foot of the table and nine from safety.

Both teams named unchanged XIs, meaning Villa captain Micah Richards had to be content with a place on the bench after shaking off an ankle problem.

Leicester’s top scorer Jamie Vardy came close to ending his five-match goalless run when he sent a header from Marc Albrighton's free-kick bouncing wide, with Bunn scrambling.

Bunn’s next involvement came when he charged out of his area towards the left channel and clattered Vardy, whose pace was already troubling the Villa defence, to earn a 14th-minute yellow card.

Villa performed fitfully during the opening stages but were almost gifted a 20th-minute opener as Huth’s poor backpass was seized upon by Libor Kozak, but Kasper Schmeichel saved at his near post.

Schmeichel was involved when his team broke through as his goal-kick released Vardy. The striker’s lofted effort was superbly saved by Bunn but the Villa goalkeeper was recovering behind his line when Okazaki blasted the rebound at him to open the scoring.

Five minutes on, Villa were indebted to Bunn for keeping out Mahrez’s penalty after Aly Cissokho’s handball from the winger’s goalbound shot.

Cissokho was involved at the other end seven minutes into the second half as he collected Ashley Westwood’s backheel to clatter a shot at Schmeichel.

Villa had penalty shouts fall on deaf ears after an hour when Huth caught Kozak with his arm.

Jordan Ayew skipped down the Leicester left after 66 minutes, only for Leandro Bacuna to sidefoot too close to Schmeichel.

The visitors retained their threat on the break and Vardy was driven wide by Bunn. The forward’s eventual cross was prodded wide by Danny Drinkwater.

They would regret spurning such a chance when Gestede bundled past Huth, with the ball striking his hand, and rifled into the top corner via a deflection off the sliding Wes Morgan.

Kozak and Vardy, who was booked along with Bacuna for a late confrontation, both blazed late chances over and Villa could reflect on their most encouraging week yet of the season.

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde: “In the first half we were not at the same level we were on Tuesday against Crystal Palace. The second half was much better and I was happy about that. We have done well. We were more aggressive, more positive and more attacking. When you look at the level of both teams in this game there is not such a huge gap that you see in the table.”

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri: “We started very well, maybe Aston Villa were nervous at the beginning. We had the chance to close the match out with the penalty but we missed the penalty and Aston Villa were regenerated. They pushed a lot, but we take one point and it's OK. Mahrez is our penalty scorer: he’s missed the last two but it's important how he reacts now.”

Elsewhere at Stamford Bridge, John Terry scored a controversial equaliser in the 98th

minute to rescue a point for Chelsea in a pulsating 3-3 draw with Everton.

After a uninspiring goalless first half, Saturday’s Premier League game at Stamford Bridge burst into life with all six goals coming in the second period.

Everton raced into a 2-0 lead after an own-goal from Terry and a wonderful Kevin Mirallas effort. Chelsea responded with two quick-fire goals from Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, but Toffees substitute Ramiro Funes Mori flicked home what looked like the winning goal on

90 minutes.

However, there was one last twist deep into injury-time as Terry flicked home an equaliser with 98 minutes on the clock. (premierleague.com/Sky Sports)

All the Saturday EPL results

Tottenham Hotspurs 4-1 Sunderland

AFC Bournemouth 3-0 Norwich

Chelsea 3-3 Everton

Manchester City 4-0 Crystal Palace

Newcastle Utd 2-1 West Ham Utd

Southampton 3-0 West Brom

•Photo courtesy of premierleague.com shows action during the Spurs vs Leicester match.

Source Daily Sports

Posted January 17, 2016

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