*As Welbeck gives Watford crucial win, Chelsea hold on to beat Palace
Jamie Vardy’s late equaliser gave Leicester City a vital point to keep their Champions League hopes on track and end Arsenal’s recent winning streak.
The Gunners looked on course for a fifth successive victory to maintain their outside chances of a place in Europe’s elite competition next season at the expense of Leicester’s similar ambitions after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang swept in his 20th league goal of the season in the first half.
Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel kept Arsenal at bay with a string of fine saves before the interval, twice denying Alexandre Lacazette as well as Bukayo Saka – and it proved to be a vital contribution.
Arsenal were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes left when Eddie Nketiah was sent off just four minutes after coming on as substitute for a high challenge on James Justin, and Leicester cashed in on their numerical advantage when Vardy slid home Demarai Gray’s cross in the 84th minute, the goal finally awarded after a lengthy VAR check for offside.
It was Vardy’s 22nd league goal of the season and restored his two-goal advantage over Aubameyang at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.
Leicester drop to fourth place, four points ahead of Manchester United having played a game more, but this was an important point that left Arsena
Danny Welbeck scored the winner with a spectacular overhead kick as Watford came from behind to beat Norwich and move four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.
Norwich, who remain bottom of the table and are now 10 points behind the 17th-placed Hornets, will be relegated if they lose to West Ham on Saturday, reports the BBC.
Emiliano Buendia’s curled effort gave Norwich an early lead before Craig Dawson equalised with a close-range header.
The home side won it through Welbeck’s wonderful goal, after the ball looped up following a poor clearance by Max Aarons.
And Chelsea further strengthened their position in the Premier League’s top four with victory over Crystal Palace in an entertaining encounter at Selhurst Park, that included a stunning long-range strike from Wilfried Zaha and a rare goal from Christian Benteke.
There was an element of fortune about the game’s opening goal, with Palace defender Gary Cahill pulling up with a match-ending injury to allow Willian to charge into the box unimpeded and set up Olivier Giroud to finish.
But the rest of the match was a testament to the kind of competitive, high-octane, see-saw football that draws so many viewers to the English top-flight, even when the grounds are empty of fans.
Twice Chelsea looked to have put the game beyond the home side, first through Christian Pulisic’s rising shot to make it 2-0 in the first half and then via Tammy Abraham’s neat finish with 19 minutes to go to put the Blues 3-1 up.
But this reckoned without the input of Zaha and Benteke.
Zaha’s goal was a superb strike, fiercely fired into the net via the crossbar from an unlikely distance. Benteke’s was more routine, tapped in from point-blank range following a neat move, but almost as surprising, it being his first goal at Selhurst Park since April 2018.
And Palace came within a whisker of snatching a point when Scott Dann’s back-post header struck the inside of the post before Chelsea hacked the ball clear.
Chelsea’s win means they move above Leicester into third place in the table, five points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United.
With 42 to their name, Palace have too many points to worry about being dragged into a relegation fight, but manager Roy Hodgson and his side will be eager to end a losing streak that has now stretched to four games.
Arsenal 1 – 1 Leicester
Palace 2 – 3 Chelsea
Watford 2 – 1 Norwich