Manchester City cement top spot after winning nine-goal Boxing Day thriller

Raheem Sterling’s double helped Manchester City cement their place at the top of the Premier League table with a 6-3 victory after they survived an unlikely Leicester fightback in a nine-goal Boxing Day thriller.

City looked to have secured a ninth successive league win when they raced into a 4-0 lead inside 25 minutes as the Foxes capitulated horribly in the face of an onslaught.

Kevin De Bruyne’s fifth-minute strike set the ball rolling and it was 2-0 after 14 minutes when former Leicester midfielder Riyad Mahrez converted from the spot after Youri Tielemans had wrestled defender Aymeric Laporte to the ground.

Ilkay Gundogan added to the visitors’ woes with 21 minutes gone and Sterling slotted home a second penalty after being felled by Tielemans.

However, James Maddison’s assured finish 10 minutes after the restart gave the Foxes a glimmer of hope, and that grew when Ademola Lookman and then Kelechi Iheanacho further reduced the deficit.

Laporte’s 69th-minute header gave the champions breathing space and Sterling made it 6-3 with three minutes left on the clock.

Jan Bednarek was Southampton’s hero as the Saints dented West Ham’s top-four hopes with a first league win in seven attempts.

The Saints got off to the perfect start at the London Stadium when Mohamed El Younoussi drilled home from Kyle Walker-Peters’ pull-back, and the Hammers’ efforts to get themselves back into the game were lukewarm.

Manager David Moyes sent on Michael Antonio at the break and he made an impact within four minutes when he headed home an equaliser from close range.

James Ward-Prowse’s 61st-minute penalty restored the visitors’ lead, but Said Benrahma swept home Jarrod Bowen’s cross to level just three minutes later, only for Bednarek to head the Saints to victory with 20 minutes to go.

Wilfried Zaha was sent off as Covid-hit Crystal Palace lost 3-0 at Tottenham.

Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, left, reacts after being sent off at Tottenham (John Walton/PA)

The Eagles’ hopes unravelled inside five disastrous first-half minutes during which they fell two goals behind and were reduced to 10 men.

The visitors were still reeling from Harry Kane’s 32nd-minute strike when Lucas Moura started and finished a flowing moving to make it 2-0 before Zaha was dismissed for a second bookable offence after angrily pushing defender Davinson Sanchez away.

Son Heung-min deepened Palace’s woes with a third 16 minutes from time.

Bukayo Saka struck twice as Arsenal romped to a 5-0 win at bottom-of-the-table Norwich.

The Gunners were ahead after just six minutes courtesy of Saka’s sweet strike, but they had to wait until a minute before the break for Kieran Tierney to cement their superiority with a second goal.

Saka’s second of the game wrapped up the points with 23 minutes remaining with Alexandre Lacazette’s 84th-minute penalty and substitute Emile Smith Rowe’s stoppage-time strike simply rubbing salt into the Canaries’ wounds.

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.