Sports

EPL: Leicester top after dominant win over lacklustre Chelsea

*Antonio scores winner as West Ham beat West Brom

Leicester moved top of the Premier League as goals from Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison defeated Chelsea.
The Foxes took a sixth-minute lead when Nigeria midfielder Ndidi drove home a shot following a corner.
Chelsea thought they had a penalty just before half-time but the decision was overturned by the video assistant referee, with a foul on Christian Pulisic deemed to have happened just outside the box.
Maddison made it 2-0 soon after, slotting into the bottom corner.
Chelsea were well below par throughout and rarely troubled Kasper Schmeichel in the Leicester goal, going closest when Reece James’ effort was tipped over in the first half.
Victory puts Leicester one point clear of Manchester United, who have a game in hand.
Chelsea, who have won just one of their past five Premier League games, are eighth.
Earlier, Michail Antonio scored for the second successive game as West Ham edged struggling West Brom to move up to seventh in the Premier League.
The hosts took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Jarrod Bowen chested in Vladimir Coufal’s cross.
However, West Brom levelled soon after the restart through Matheus Pereira’s thunderous drive from distance, reports the BBC.
Dara O’Shea blocked Manuel Lanzini’s goalbound shot but Antonio gave West Ham the win with a hooked finish.
From then on, West Ham looked comfortable without threatening to add to their lead as they claimed a third Premier League win in a row.
Defeat for West Brom, meanwhile, leaves them 19th, five points from safety.
Antonio underlines importance to West Ham
Antonio has endured an injury-hit campaign and his start against Burnley at the weekend was his first since November.
But the striker made up for lost time by getting the decisive goal in that game and, despite concerns over how he would cope with starting a second game in three days, he was once again the match-winner against the Baggies.
Antonio is a deadly finisher inside the box, with all 41 of his Premier League goals having been scored inside the penalty area and he is integral to how David Moyes wants his West Ham side to play.
They have become a defensively more solid side under the Scot – with West Brom’s goal the first the Hammers have conceded in their past five games in all competitions – but they are also winning games by narrow margins, underlining the need for a player of Antonio’s quality.
Moyes is looking to sign a striker in the January transfer window but keeping Antonio injury free for the remainder of the season will arguably be more important to West Ham’s ambitions.
West Brom boss Sam Allardyce has forged a reputation for leading seemingly doomed teams away from relegation trouble but when he took over at the Baggies on 16 December, it looked like this would be a task too far.
They had won just one of their first 13 matches before Allardyce’s arrival and lost three of his first four games in charge, conceding 13 goals and scoring just one in the process.
But a hugely impressive 3-2 victory at Wolves on Saturday has given Baggies fans hope that fortunes are starting to turn and although this game ended in defeat, there were signs of encouragement.
RESULT
West Ham 2 – 1 West Brom
Leicester 2 – 0 Chelsea

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