At Emirates Stadium, Laurent Koscielny scored the decisive goal for Arsenal, but goalkeeper Petr Cech was the one celebrated after the victory over Newcastle strengthened their position at the summit of the standings. Koscielny scored from close range in mid second half after Cech made two outstanding saves to deny Georginio Wijnaldum. “He is calm and never panics. We needed that,” manager Arsene Wenger said of Cech. Second-place Leicester failed to keep pace with Arsenal after being held to 0-0 at home by 10-man Bournemouth. Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty to frustrate Leicester, who are only a point above City after their comeback at Vicarage Road. Watford went ahead when Aleksandar Kolarov diverted Ben Watson’s corner into his own net in the second half. But City overturned the deficit with two late goals in as many minutes. Yaya Toure scored with superb control from Kolarov’s corner, then Sergio Aguero’s header followed swiftly after to secure City’s first away win since September. “We have to build on this. We hadn’t won in six on the road,” City goalkeeper Joe Hart said. “It’s not championship-winning form, but we’re somehow still in it.” Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll scored to take their tally to two goals each in as many games as West Ham achieved a first-league double over Liverpool in 52 years. Klopp was not impressed by the performance of his side, which dropped to eighth. “Today is not a day to be disappointed. It is a day to be angry,” Klopp said. Meanwhile Norwich beat Southampton 1-0, West Bromwich Albion overcame Stoke 2-1, and Sunderland beat Aston Villa 3-1. Outstanding saves LONDON (AP): Manchester United rediscovered what winning felt like as Arsenal edged Newcastle 1-0 to move two points clear atop the English Premier League yesterday. Manchester City came from a goal down to beat Watford 2-1 to stay a point behind Leicester, and West Ham rose to sixth in beating Liverpool 2-0, leaving the latter’s coach, Juergen Klopp, furious. At Old Trafford, there were only smiles for United’s first win since November 21, ending a win-less run of eight games, their longest in 26 years. Anthony Martial put United ahead after half-time, and set up Wayne Rooney to flick in the winner with his heel. The goal made Rooney second on the club’s all-time scoring list on 238 11 behind Bobby Charlton and second all-time in the Premier League on 188, behind Alan Shearer’s total of 260. “It was his left foot behind his right foot. You cannot imagine what a goal that is,” manager Louis van Gaal said of his captain’s strike. United stayed in fifth place, provisionally two points behind Tottenham, who will be at Everton today.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP):Novak Djokovic called it the best he has ever played against old foe Roger Federer. Serena Williams was just being her dominant self.The defending champions both made their way back to the Australian Open final, with Djokovic beating Federer 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and Williams defeating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0, 6-4 yesterday.”I’ve had matches where I’ve played similar tennis,” said Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the world. “But I think against Roger, these first two sets have been probably the best two sets I’ve played against him overall throughout my career.”Hours earlier at Rod Laver Arena, Williams advanced to within one win of another Grand Slam milestone. If the six-time Australian Open champion wins tomorrow’s final against seventh-seeded Angelique Kerber, she will equal Steffi Graf’s 22 major singles titles, a record in the Open era and the second-most in history behind Margaret Court’s 24.”I was able to do everything that I needed to do,” Williams said of yesterday’s match. “I was really hitting just all the right shots, making little to no errors, which is kind of hard to play like that.”Djokovic, a five-time champion at the Australian Open, advanced to his sixth final at Melbourne Park.For Federer, the signs were ominous from the beginning. Djokovic held his first service game at love and broke the 17-time Grand Slam champion in the second. After seven minutes, Federer was trailing 3-0.In the first semi-final match, Kerber ended Sydney-born British player Johanna Konta’s surprising run with a 7-5, 6-2 win to reach her first Grand Slam final. Konta was the first British woman since 1983 to reach the semi-finals at a major tournament.
POS LP CLUB P W D L GF GA GD PTS1 (1) Leicester City 29 17 9 3 52 31 21 602 (2) Tottenham Hotspur 29 15 10 4 51 24 27 553 (3) Arsenal 29 15 7 7 46 30 16 524 (4) Manchester City 28 15 5 8 52 31 21 505 (5) West Ham United 29 13 10 6 45 33 12 496 (6) Manchester United 29 13 8 8 37 27 10 477 (9) Liverpool 28 12 8 8 43 37 6 448 (7) Stoke City 29 12 7 10 31 34 -3 439 (8) Southampton 29 11 8 10 36 29 7 4110 (10) Chelsea 29 10 10 9 43 39 4 4011 (13) West Brom Albion 29 10 9 10 30 36 -6 3912 (11) Everton 28 9 11 8 51 39 12 3813 (12) Watford 29 10 7 12 29 30 -1 3714 (14) Bournemouth 29 9 8 12 35 45 -10 3515 (15) Crystal Palace 29 9 6 14 32 39 -7 3316 (16) Swansea City 29 8 9 12 28 37 -9 3317 (17) Sunderland 29 6 7 16 35 54 -19 2518 (18) Norwich City 29 6 6 17 31 54 -23 2419 (19) Newcastle United 28 6 6 16 28 53 -25 2420 (20) Aston Villa 29 3 7 19 22 55 -33 16
LONDON (AP): Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez became the first African to be named English football’s player of the year yesterday, straight after the Algerian helped his team close in on the Premier League title. Mahrez was flown by helicopter to the Professional Footballers’ Association ceremony in London after scoring his 17th goal of Leicester’s astonishing title charge as the leaders beat Swansea 4-0 at the King Power Stadium in central England. Mahrez was on a six-man shortlist including Leicester teammates Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante for the vote of their fellow professionals in English football. “I’m very grateful to receive this award,” Mahrez said. “It’s extra special because if the players vote for me, it’s because they’ve seen I’ve been great this year, so I’m happy. But it’s more team things. Without my teammates, I wouldn’t get this award.” The 25-year-old Mahrez is only the second winner of the PFA award from outside England. Uruguay striker Luis Suarez won it in 2014 while playing for Liverpool. Unlike Suarez, Mahrez was an unknown when he moved to England two years ago, joining Leicester from second tier French side Le Havre for less than 500,000 pounds. The transfer now seems one of the best bargains ever in English football, where the record fee is the 59.7 million pounds that Manchester United paid for Angel Di Maria in 2014 before selling the winger the following year. Mahrez has provided inventiveness and flair to Leicester’s attacking play, contributing not only goals but also 11 assists to help transform a team that fought for Premier League survival last season. Now a guaranteed starter, Mahrez was an unused substitute this weekend a year ago when Leicester beat Burnley to finally escape the relegation zone. Leicester started the season as a 5,000-1 title outsider but is now set to become English football’s first maiden championship winner since Nottingham Forest in 1978. “The secret has been team spirit,” Mahrez said. “We work so hard for each other. We are like brothers, it’s everywhere on the pitch. That’s our strength.”