Every once in a while, Leicester reminds us how it did the unthinkable. Every once in a while, the Foxes remind us why they were champions. Tuesday was one of those days.
But they weren’t the only ones participating in Throwback Tuesday. Over a decade ago, Ashley Young was a sprightly winger in the Championship at Watford. After a half-season in the Premier League, he moved to Aston Villa, and eventually on to Manchester United.
On Tuesday, he scored two excellent goals to lead United to a convincing 3-0 halftime lead over his boyhood club. United’s lead was cut to 3-2 in the second half, but Jesse Lingard clinched three points for the Red Devils late on.
With the 4-2 victory, United moved back to within five points of Manchester City at the top of the league. But the Citizens can restore their eight-point edge Wednesday against Southampton.
The most notable result of the day, therefore, was Tottenham’s second consecutive slip-up.
Vardy’s brilliant lob spurs Leicester over Spurs
Everything about Vardy’s opener was sublime. The run, in between two of Tottenham’s three center backs, is a classic Vardy run. Marc Albrighton’s chipped through-ball is wonderful. And the finish – to recognize Hugo Lloris was off his line, and then execute that – is world-class.
Did it require a bit of luck? Yeah, sure. But is it a goal of the season contender? Absolutely.
Spurs had most of the ball after going behind. Harry Kane presented Moussa Sissoko with a great chance minutes later. But it was Leicester who got the second goal of the half just before the interval.
Not to be outdone by Vardy, Mahrez polished off a Leicester counter. He cut inside on his left foot, and stung a shot past Lloris at the keeper’s far post:
Spurs, who had dropped two points at home against West Brom three days earlier, were very underwhelming. Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli weren’t their normal inventive selves. Eriksen was subbed off with 15 minutes remaining. He looked gassed, and slightly off the pace. He’s already played over 2,000 minutes this season for club and country, and has almost played two games per week in November. That workload is starting to take its toll.
But his replacement was a player who hadn’t played for Spurs in over a year. Eric Lamela returned to the field after a long injury layoff, and made an immediate impact. He slid in Harry Kane, and the English striker chopped the Leicester lead in half with 11 minutes to go.
With eight minutes remaining, another substitute, Fernando Llorente, had a glorious chance to equalize. He stabbed has right foot at a fizzing Serge Aurier cross rather than caressing it into the net with his left. The ball sailed over the bar. It was Tottenham’s last great opportunity to salvage something from the match – though Danny Rose appeared to be tripped in the box in the final minute of stoppage time. Referee Anthony Taylor waved away appeals.
Because he did, Tottenham could fall out of the Premier League’s top six in less than 24 hours. And it is surely out of the title race.
Manchester United impressive at Watford
United wobbled in the second half, but there’s no shame in that. Watford is legitimately good. And in the first half, the Red Devils sprinted past the Hornets with a performance that only City has bettered so far this season.
Young, the Watford kid who used to light up Vicarage Road, was the catalyst. His low drive snuck by Heurelho Gomes at the Watford keeper’s near post:
Young continued his exploits against his old club with a stunning free kick six minutes later:
United wasn’t completely dominant. But it was in cruise control after 32 minutes when Anthony Martial made the score 3-0. And Lingard very nearly made it four just before halftime.
For 75 minutes, the reserve center back pairing of Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling handled Andre Gray, Richarlison and the Watford attack well. But Troy Deeney pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in the 77th minute. Abdoulaye Doucoure truly brought the hosts back into the match in the 84th minute.
But Lingard sealed the win for United two minutes later:
Brighton 0-0 Crystal Palace
West Brom 2-2 Newcastle
Arsenal v Huddersfield
Chelsea v Swansea
Bournemouth v Burnley
Everton v West Ham
Manchester City v Southampton
Stoke v Liverpool
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Henry Bushnell covers soccer – the U.S. national teams, the Premier League, and much, much more – for FC Yahoo and Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.