Saturday, December 5, 2015 7:38 pm
A quickfire first-half brace from Marko Arnautovic gave Stoke City the deserved victory at the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes dropped Jon Walters to the bench, choosing to combine the creative gifts of Ibrahim Afellay, Bojan Krkic and Xherdan Shaqiri with Arnautovic, a switch that paid off.
Shaqiri supplied a pair of assists for Arnautovic to establish a decisive lead after 15 minutes as City’s defence, again without their injured captain, Vincent Kompany, succumbed to the hosts’ incisiveness.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team were fitful in attack, a far cry from Stoke as Arnautovic struck a post and passed up two further chances to claim the match BALL.
In another major match on Day 15 of the English Premier League, Leicester City shot their way to the top of the table, spanking Swansea, with a hat trick by Riyad Mahrez.
With Mahrez being the wonder boy today, Jamie Vardy’s record-breaking scoring run came to an end.
After netting for the 11th straight league match against Manchester United last Saturday, breaking the record set by Ruud van Nistelrooy, Vardy had his sights set on matching Jimmy Dunne’s all-time Football League record of scoring in 12 consecutive matches.
While he was unsuccessful in his bid for more individual glory, Vardy had a hand in all three goals as Mahrez stole the show at the Liberty Stadium.The Algerian broke the deadlock inside five minutes, inadvertently turning home a corner earned by Vardy that Swansea were unable to defend.
The winger’s second was more aesthetically pleasing as he slotted home following excellent play from Vardy and N’Golo Kante. And, after an improved start to the second half from the hosts,
Mahrez completed his treble as he capitalised on more fine build-up work from Kante and Vardy by firing in at the far post.
The win sends Leicester two points clear at the top and while Garry Monk’s Swansea are four points above the bottom three.
Vardy played a key role in Leicester’s first goal, as his pressure on centre-back Ashley Williams won a corner. Swansea failed to deal with Marc Albrighton’s near-post delivery from the left, with the ball deflecting in off Mahrez.
With the victory, Leicester now sit atop the table with 32 points, followed by Arsenal with 30 points.
Arsenal had defeated Sunderland at the Emirates 3-1.