LONDON: Tottenham dropped two precious points against 10-man Southampton yesterday as West Ham hammered Watford 4-1 to turn up the heat in the race for a coveted Premier League top-four spot. Elsewhere on a truncated day of action due to coronavirus postponements, Crystal Palace cruised past bottom side Norwich 3-0 while Liverpool prepared to take on Leicester in the pick of the day’s matches. Spurs are still unbeaten in the league since Antonio Conte took the helm early last month but they failed to make a man advantage count at St Mary’s, drawing 1-1.
Southampton took a deserved lead in the 25th minute with a stunning goal from James Ward-Prowse, who lashed home a first-time effort following a throw-in, leaving Hugo Lloris helpless. Tottenham had failed to make the most of their limited openings but the game was turned on its head when Mohammed Salisu brought down Son Heung-min in the penalty area shortly before half-time. Salisu was sent off for a second yellow card and Harry Kane made no mistake from the spot.
Kane had the ball in the net again early in the second half following a delightful floated pass from Harry Winks but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside. Tottenham had another goal disallowed after Southampton’s Fraser Forster spilled the ball under pressure, with referee Anthony Taylor judging that the goalkeeper had been fouled despite limited apparent contact. The home side were on the ropes for most of the rest of the game but Spurs failed to find a killer touch and left the south coast frustrated.
West Ham comeback
West Ham brushed off the disappointment of conceding an early goal at Vicarage Road to strengthen their push for a Champions League place. Watford took an early lead when Emmanuel Dennis was played in by Joshua King for his eighth goal of the season. West Ham were level in the 27th minute when Tomas Soucek fired past Daniel Bachmann after being found in space in the box by Jarrod Bowen.
Two minutes later the visitors took the lead when Michail Antonio, on his return to the side, played in Said Benrahma, whose shot found the net via a deflection off Adam Masina. David Moyes’ men increased their lead from the penalty spot just before the hour mark when Mark Noble scored after Bowen was fouled by Bachmann. Nikola Vlasic completed the rout with a goal in stoppage time to make it 4-1. West Ham rise to fifth in the Premier League on 31 points after 19 games, four behind Arsenal and one ahead of Spurs, who have two matches in hand.
Crystal Palace made the perfect start at home to struggling Norwich, with Odsonne Edouard scoring from the penalty spot in the eighth minute. Patrick Vieira’s men doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Edouard cut back for Jean-Philippe Mateta to fire into the bottom corner and Jeffrey Schlupp made it 3-0 four minutes later. Liverpool will be desperate to beat Leicester in the late kick-off at the King Power Stadium to close the six-point gap to leaders Manchester City, who have played a game more than their title rivals. — AFP