Arsenal draws 6-goal thriller at Liverpool, Leicester wins
LONDON, England—Arsenal conceded a 90th-minute equalizer at Liverpool to lose its outright lead in the Premier League on Wednesday, as Leicester kept up its surprising title challenge with a 1-0 win at Tottenham.
Only a superior goal difference is keeping Arsenal above Leicester after the 3-3 draw at Anfield. Manchester City was held to a 0-0 draw at home at Everton and is three points off the lead in third place.
“Unfortunately it’s January, not May,” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said. “We have to remain calm and believe in what we’re doing.”
Robert Huth scored the winner for Leicester in the 83rd minute.
Tottenham still occupies the last Champions League qualifying spot, but its grip on fourth place in the league is loosening, with fifth-place West Ham now just one point behind.
A late equalizer also deprived Chelsea of victory. The champions’ revival under new coach Guus Hiddink was slowed by a 2-2 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion, which twice came from behind at Stamford Bridge.
An end-to-end match at Anfield that started in the rain and finished in the snow got a fitting conclusion when substitute Joe Allen steered home the late volley that salvaged a point for Liverpool.
“Hopefully, we are not going to have to regret this goal at the end of the championship,” said Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, who scored two of the team’s goals.
Four goals were scored in 15 frantic minutes in the first half, with Roberto Firmino twice giving Liverpool the lead only for Aaron Ramsey and Giroud to bring Arsenal level. Giroud’s turn and finish in the 55th put Arsenal in front for the first time, but Allen struck to spark a sideline celebration by Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp that was as wild as the game.
“There was no time to blink during the match,” Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil tweeted.
As a top-four finish becomes an increasingly plausible proposition for Leicester, Chelsea must be preparing for potentially missing out on the Champions League next season. Although remaining unbeaten under Hiddink, Chelsea is 12 points behind fourth-place Tottenham.
Craig Gardner canceled out Cesar Azpilicueta’s opener before half time and then James McClean pounced in the 86th minute to level at 2-2 after an own goal by Gareth McAuley had restored Chelsea’s lead.
“We have said before,” Hiddink said, “that as long as it is possible mathematically to get fourth place, then we will go for it.”
There was more drama in south Wales with six goals — half from Jermain Defoe’s hat trick — as Sunderland swept to a 4-2 victory over 10-man Swansea.
Sunderland made an ideal start, with striker Defoe scoring after just three minutes. Swansea equalized in the 21st minute when Gylfi Sigurdsson converted a penalty, but was reduced to 10 men in the 37th after a red card for Kyle Naughton.
The setback didn’t prevent Andre Ayew from putting the hosts ahead just three minutes later. Patrick van Aanholt made it 2-2 before two more goals from Defoe.
Southampton secured only its second league win in nine games by beating Watford 2-0 with goals by Shane Long and Dusan Tadic. Stoke moved up to seventh after a 3-1 win over Norwich, which had to play for an hour with 10 men after Gary O’Neil hacked down Stoke’s Ibrahim Affellay for a straight red card.
Jon Walters struck four minutes into the second half, Norwich leveled through Jonny Howson but Joselu restored Stoke’s lead and Ryan Bennett added another.