Leicester train rolls on
The expectation is that the rails will come off Leicester's title challenge and Manchester United will get back on track. Little goes to the script in this Premier League season.
But Manchester United's problems with scoring at home won't go away, with boos again ringing out at Old Trafford yesterday after the hosts were stunned 1-0 by Southampton.
Leicester went three points clear at the top - for 24 hours at least before Arsenal host Chelsea - by beating Stoke 3-0. And Manchester City slipped further behind the pacesetters by drawing 2-2 at West Ham.
Jamie Vardy, having set the record for scoring in 11 consecutive Premier League games earlier in the season, ended a goal drought exceeding 10 hours for Leicester. Danny Drinkwater and Leonardo Ulloa scored either side of Vardy's 66th-minute goal. A first-ever Champions League qualification for the central England club seems less fanciful by the week.
Manchester United went an 11th home game in a row without scoring in the first half and then conceded after the break when Charlie Austin netted on his Southampton debut.
"It was a poor performance, of course, because football is not only defending but also creating chances, and we didn't create," van Gaal said.
United remain fifth, but are now five points behind Tottenham, who came from behind to win 3-1 at Crystal Palace. A moment of individual brilliance saw Tottenham go in front with 10 minutes to go. Dele Alli, one of the breakthrough stars of the season, flicked the ball up and back over his own head before volleying into the bottom corner.
The biggest scoring game of the day was on the east coast with a nine-goal thriller, including two in stoppage time. After Norwich threw away a 3-1 lead in the second half to Liverpool, Sebastian Bassong thought he had secured a 4-4 draw, but in the fourth minute of injury time, Adam Lallana scored his first goal of the season to clinch a 5-4 victory for 7th-place Liverpool.