6 Dec 2015

Leicester go top of EPL

12:47 pm on 6 December 2015

Leicester City have gone top of English football's Premier League as a Riyad Mahrez hat-trick sealed the visitors a 3-0 win at Swansea.

Manchester City's 2-0 defeat at Stoke opened the door for Leicester, who now have 32 points, two clear of second-placed Arsenal who moved above Manchester City with a 3-1 home defeat of Sunderland.

Mahrez scored twice in the first 22 minutes and struck again after the break in south Wales as Leicester moved into outright first place but the Algerian's hat-trick came at the expense of the record goal-scoring run of the Foxes' England striker Jamie Vardy, which came to an end at 11 straight games.

"It's good because everyone was looking at Jamie Vardy, but Mahrez was fantastic," Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri said. "Riyad worked hard for the team, but also scored the goals."

Two goals inside the opening 15 minutes from Stoke's Austrian striker Marko Arnautovic, both created by influential Swiss playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri, condemned injury-hit City to defeat at a blustery Britannia Stadium.

"We can't accept how we played today," City keeper Joe Hart said. "It was a disappointing start and we could not recover from it."

Manchester United failed to take advantage of City's defeat, drawing 0-0 at home with West Ham United to now sit fourth, level on points with third-placed City.

There were some boos at full-time after a fourth scoreless draw in their last six home games.

"The most important thing is we are dominant and creating chances, but we have to improve because we don't score," United manager Louis van Gaal said.

Fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur also missed the chance to capitalise as they drew 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion.

Dele Alli had given the visitors an early lead but James McClean headed West Brom level as Tottenham drew for the eighth time so far in the campaign.

Leicester, who spent a total of 140 days propping up the Premier League last season, the most by any club to avoid relegation, were too good for free-falling Swansea.

Mahrez now has 10 league goals this season.

Remi Garde is still awaiting his first win as manager of bottom club Aston Villa but earned some comfort in a 1-1 draw away to Southampton.

Fellow-strugglers Norwich City lost 2-0 at Watford.

Champions Chelsea's season reached a new low with a 1-0 loss at home to Bournemouth.

Jose Mourinho's side produced another disjointed display and were stunned in the 82nd minute when Glenn Murray headed home after a goalmouth scramble.

Chelsea's eighth defeat in 15 Premier League matches since the start of the season left them in 14th place, only three points above the relegation zone.

Bournemouth moved out of the bottom three.

- Reuters