By Richard Martin and Martyn Herman LONDON (Reuters) -Premier League leaders Arsenal surrendered the lead to draw 1-1 at Southampton and drop points for only the second time this season while Newcastle United’s impressive start continued when they beat Tottenham Hotspur to storm the top four on Sunday. Aston Villa moved quickly on from the […]
Soccer-Leaders Arsenal held, Newcastle into top four after win at Tottenham
By Richard Martin and Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) -Premier League leaders Arsenal surrendered the lead to draw 1-1 at Southampton and drop points for only the second time this season while Newcastle United’s impressive start continued when they beat Tottenham Hotspur to storm the top four on Sunday.
Aston Villa moved quickly on from the midweek sacking of manager Steven Gerrard to thump Brentford 4-0.
Leicester City continued their revival by thrashing Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0 away to ease the pressure on coach Brendan Rodgers but Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch faced calls to go from his own supporters after a 3-2 home defeat by Fulham.
Granit Xhaka scored a superb early goal for Arsenal, who looked untouchable for large parts of their trip to St Mary’s, but Southampton rallied in the second period and Stuart Armstrong netted a deserved second-half equaliser.
The draw meant Arsenal’s four-point lead over second-placed Manchester City from last week was reduced to two points after the champions beat Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 on Saturday.
“I have a feeling that we lost two points, especially with the way we started the game and the chances we had,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. “When you look back at the chances, we should have come out on top.”
Arsenal have 28 points from 11 games to City’s 26.
Newcastle have already drawn with Manchester City and Manchester United this season and their only loss was a stoppage-time defeat by Liverpool.
Sunday’s win at Tottenham sent the clearest message yet that they can challenge for a Champions League berth.
Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron scored in the space of 10 minutes in north London — both goals owing something to mistakes by Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris.
Harry Kane pulled one back for third-placed Tottenham in the 54th minute with his 10th goal of the season but Newcastle comfortably held on for the points.
They have 21 points from 12 games, two fewer than Tottenham.
“Real pride in the players today and great to be part of those scenes,” Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, who took over last year with the club heading towards relegation, told reporters.
“Probably the best performance since I’ve been here.”
ASTON VILLA MOVE UP
Villa parted ways with Gerrard on Thursday an hour after their 3-0 defeat by Fulham but gave an emphatic response under caretaker Aaron Danks.
They took the lead in the second minute when Leon Bailey hammered home before Danny Ings scored twice, including a penalty, to make it 3-0 after only 14 minutes.
Former Brentford player Ollie Watkins added a fourth goal in the second half to round off a win that lifted Villa to 14th in the standings on 12 points.
Leicester were in a similarly ruthless mood on their trip to Wolves, who sacked Bruno Lage at the start of the month and are yet to appoint a successor.
Youri Tielemans and Harvey Barnes struck in the first half for Leicester while James Maddison and Jamie Vardy, who scored his first goal of the season, completed the rout.
Leicester coach Rodgers was under serious pressure after losing seven of his first eight matches of the season but his side have now won three of their last five and moved up to 16th on 11 points.
American Marsch is the latest manager to feel the heat after sections of fans at Elland Road chanted “You’re getting sacked in the morning” during Leeds’s defeat by Fulham.
But he said he was still the right man to lead the club despite his side sitting 18th in the standings.
“We are unified here, from the board to the staff and the players. We are hurting, it’s painful,” he said.
“I understand the fans, their ire should be directed at me. But I’m focused on helping this team to get better and improve.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin and Martyn HermanEditing by Christian Radnedge and Clare Fallon)