Leceister shocks Tottenham, Man City humiliates Watford
James Maddison’s first league goal of the season helped Leicester come from behind to beat Tottenham in an absorbing encounter at the King Power Stadium.
Maddison drilled a superb low effort into the far corner from distance to lift Brendan Rodgers’ side back into the top four of the Premier League at the visitors’ expense.
Ricardo Pereira had put the Foxes back on level terms; moments after Spurs had been denied a second goal when Serge Aurier’s low drive was disallowed for a marginal offside call against Son Heung-min.
Harry Kane’s fourth league goal of the campaign had given Spurs the lead in the first half, the England striker slotting Son’s clever flick beyond Kasper Schmeichel despite being knocked off balance by Foxes defender Caglar Soyuncu.
Leicester thought they had opened the scoring themselves when Wilfred Ndidi scored on the rebound after Paulo Gazzaniga spilled Youri Tielemans’ effort, but the goal was ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee.
Tightest of VAR calls denies Spurs
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino accused his players of “lacking fight” after they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw with Olympiakos in the Champions League midweek.
The result mirrored their 2-2 draw with north London rivals Arsenal in their previous away league game, with Kane admitting after Wednesday’s Group B opener that Spurs had failed to learn from recent mistakes.
Pochettino made six changes to the team that started in Greece, with Hugo Lloris unavailable due to his wife giving birth and Dele Alli left out of the squad altogether. Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura and Eric Dier all had to settle for places on the bench.
Perhaps as a result, the visitors looked disjointed in the early stages and were fortunate not to fall behind when Ndidi’s effort was chalked off.
There was nothing fortunate about Kane’s opener 13 minutes later, however.
The England striker managed to latch on to Son’s back-heel and despite losing his balance under Soyuncu’s challenge, he somehow managed to knock the ball past Jonny Evans before lifting it over Schmeichel into the far corner.
Spurs thought they had doubled their lead when Aurier drilled a powerful drive into the far corner, but Son was adjudged to have been marginally offside in the build-up and the goal was chalked off.
Buoyed by that narrow decision, Leicester threw bodies forward and restored parity through Pereira, before Maddison struck with five minutes remaining to extend Spurs’ winless league run away from home to nine games.
Leicester prove top-six credentials
After watching the Foxes slip to their first defeat of the campaign at Old Trafford last weekend, Leicester fans were hopeful that their team could continue their impressive home form against a Spurs side who have looked vulnerable on their travels of late.
They had lost their last three meetings with Tottenham in the Premier League prior to today’s game, but this latest performance provided further compelling evidence that Rodgers’ team can mount a serious challenge for a top-six finish this season.
Maddison was heavily involved early on, the 22-year-old curling an effort narrowly off target from the edge of the box before firing straight at Gazzaniga from a tight angle after twisting and turning to find room for the shot.
Rodgers’ side did not let their heads drop after falling behind, with Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy both going close to equalising before Pereira’s strike midway through the second half.
Just as the game appeared destined to end in a draw, Maddison collected Hamza Choudhury’s pass before firing low into the bottom corner from a central position – all in front of watching England manager Gareth Southgate.
The result was no less than Maddison and his team-mates deserve and lifts the Foxes – temporarily at least – to second in the Premier League.
Man City vs Watford
Five goals in the first 18 minutes set Manchester City on their way as they ripped apart a woeful Watford team to cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League to two points.
City had already bounced back from last weekend’s humbling by Norwich with a clinical Champions League win at Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, but this was a timely reminder of their ruthlessness and attacking power.
Bernardo Silva scored a hat-trick as Pep Guardiola’s side ran riot to clinch their biggest league win since he took charge in 2016. They also hit the woodwork twice and continued to chase further goals until the end, but a record victory eluded them.
Manchester United’s 9-0 win over Ipswich in 1995 remains the biggest victory in the Premier League era but City become only the seventh team to win a top-flight game by an eight-goal margin in the modern era.
City scored the opener after 52 seconds through David Silva before Sergio Aguero added a penalty and Riyad Mahrez struck via a deflection.
Bernardo Silva headed the fourth and Nicolas Otamendi slid in the fifth. After the break City’s intensity eased but Bernardo Silva struck twice more and Kevin de Bruyne slammed in the eighth.
After David Silva got on the end of a brilliantly bending cross from De Bruyne to slide home from six yards, Watford almost hit back immediately. Gerard Deulofeu went round Nicolas Otamendi with an ease that will worry City boss Pep Guardiola, but saw his shot saved by an onrushing Ederson.
From then on, the home side took complete control – aided by a defensive horror show by the Hornets that saw them suffer an even bigger nightmare than when City hit them for six in the FA Cup final last May.
Ben Foster gave away a needless penalty when he rushed from his line to send Mahrez tumbling, with Aguero converting from the spot, and things quickly got worse for the visitors.
Mahrez made it 3-0 after 12 minutes when his free-kick deflected in off Tom Cleverley, and after 15 minutes it was 4-0 when more dreadful marking allowed Bernardo Silva to stoop and head home after Otamendi flicked on a corner.
Otamendi himself made it 5-0 shortly afterwards when he turned in Aguero’s clever cut-back, before City gave their fans a rest from further celebrations – for a little while at least.
The onslaught continued after half-time when Bernardo Silva slotted home from a David Silva pass to make it 6-0, and he completed his first hat-trick for City when he converted another De Bruyne cross on the hour mark.
De Bruyne, one of the key orchestrators of this attacking masterclass, got his name on the scoresheet before the end too, casually smashing home City’s eighth with five minutes left.
City’s fans urged their team forward for more goals – and United’s record – but for once on what was a painful afternoon for them, Watford’s defence held out.
The only consolation for Quique Sanchez Flores, who was overseeing only his second game since being reappointed as Watford boss, is that his side do not have to play City every week.
After the high of his side’s spirited second-half comeback to draw against Arsenal last week, this was a reminder of why they are bottom of the table, and winless so far this season.
Their miserable afternoon was summed up by the sight of Dimitri Foulquier trudging off on his Premier League debut as he was substituted after only 32 minutes, with his side already five goals down.
Sanchez Flores has work to do to lift morale before his side play more winnable games in weeks to come.