LONDON, Oct 23 (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)
Battling Saints hold league leaders Arsenal to 1-1 draw
SOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) – Granit Xhaka scored a superb early goal but Premier League leaders Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton on Sunday as Stuart Armstrong netted a deserved second-half equaliser for the home side.
The result moved Arsenal to 28 points from 11 games, two ahead of second-placed Manchester City, while Southampton are 15th with 12 points from 12 games.
The visitors looked untouchable in the opening 15 minutes as they launched wave after wave of attacks on the home goal, and were rewarded with an excellent opener from Xhaka, who also netted their winner in the midweek Europa League win over PSV Eindhoven.
Bukayo Saka’s flick set right-back Ben White away down the right flank and his cross was thundered into the roof of the net by Xhaka.
Southampton will have been relieved to be only 1-0 down at the break, but were much brighter in the second period and were deserving of their equaliser, perhaps profiting from an Arsenal side who looked increasingly weary from their midweek exertions.
A quick counter-attack on 65 minutes drew reward when Mohamed Elyounoussi slipped the ball into the path of Armstrong, who was composed with his finish past goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Leeds’ problems deepen with home defeat by Fulham
LEEDS (Reuters) – Leeds United sank to a 3-2 defeat at home to Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday, leaving them in the relegation zone and heaping more pressure on coach Jesse Marsch.
Leeds, who are without a league win since August, are 18th in the standings on nine points after a fourth consecutive defeat. Fulham meanwhile climbed up to seventh on 18.
The home side went ahead in the 20th minute with a close-ranged header from Spanish forward Rodrigo but Fulham responded four minutes later when Aleksandar Mitrovic headed home from an Andreas Pereira corner to score his ninth goal of the season.
Leeds had the bulk of the chances in an entertaining second period as both sides went in search of a winner, with Luke Ayling, Rodrigo, Brenden Aaronson and substitute Patrick Bamford all squandering promising opportunities.
Fulham also wasted two clear efforts but took the lead in the 74th minute when full-back Bobby Decordova-Reid headed in another cross from Pereira.
The goal led to Leeds fans quickly turning on American coach Marsch, some chanting “You’re getting sacked in the morning”. The anger in the stadium rose further when Willian struck Fulham’s third goal in the 83rd after the visitors had run the hosts’ defence ragged. Substitute Crysencio Summerville gave Leeds hope of a fightback when he slid to poke the ball home in added time, but it was too little, too late for Marsch’s side.
Ings nets brace as rampant Aston Villa rout Brentford 4-0
BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Danny Ings scored twice in the opening 14 minutes as Aston Villa bounced back from the sacking of manager Steven Gerrard with a dominant 4-0 Premier League win over Brentford at a jubilant Villa Park on Sunday.
Villa, who fired Gerrard after Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Fulham left them 17th in the table, took the lead just over a minute into the game when Leon Bailey hammered home a first-time shot from a well-worked corner.
Bailey turned provider a few minutes later, sliding the ball into the path of the unmarked Ings for him to rifle it into the net, much to the delight of caretaker boss Aaron Danks.
Things went form bad to worse for the visitors when Norwegian defender Kristoffer Ajer pulled on the shirt of Tyrone Mings to concede a penalty in the 12th minute, and Ings slammed the spot kick straight down the middle to make it 3-0.
Ollie Watkins got the fourth in the 59th minute but it took him three efforts to do so as David Raya saved the first and the second hit the post before he buried the ball in the back of the net via the foot of Ethan Pinnock to complete the rout. Villa’s third win in 12 league games lifts them to 14th spot in the table on 12 points, while Brentford, who held Chelsea to a scoreless draw in midweek, are 10th on 14 points.
Leicester maul Wolves to move out of relegation zone
WOLVERHAMPTON (Reuters) – Leicester City thrashed Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0 in the Premier League on Sunday for their first points away from home this season to move off the bottom of the standings and out of the relegation zone.
Back-to-back wins moved a clinical Leicester up to 16th in the standings while struggling Wolves fell to a fifth defeat in six games to drop to 19th as the home fans booed Steve Davis’ side at the final whistle.
Wolves started brightly but it was Leicester who drew first blood when a clearance fell to skipper Youri Tielemans and the midfielder fired a volley from more than 20 yards out that arrowed into the top corner.
A buoyant Leicester side then cut open the Wolves defence 11 minutes later as Harvey Barnes played a one-two pass with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall before firing a shot from an angle past goalkeeper Jose Sa to double the lead.
Leicester’s top scorer James Maddison put the game to bed in the second half when he made room for himself at the edge of the box before whipping in a low shot past Sa for his sixth goal of the season, leaving Wolves deflated.
Brendan Rodgers’ side completed the rout when they won the ball back from a sloppy Wolves side, with Timothy Castagne’s uncontested cross turned in by Jamie Vardy as the 35-year-old striker scored their fourth goal and his first of the season.