Tottenham Hotspur battled back to grab a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace in Week 23 of the 2015-16 Premier League season, opening up a crucial lead over Manchester United in the race for the UEFA Champions League spots in the process.
The Red Devils conceded a last-minute goal to lose 1-0 to Southampton and now trail Spurs by five points in the table. Leicester City lead the standings after their 3-0 win over Stoke City, with Arsenal meeting Chelsea on Sunday.
In the final match of the day, West Ham United held Manchester City to a 2-2 draw.
Here's a look at Saturday's results:
|Leicester City||3-0||Stoke City|
|West Ham||2-2||Manchester City|
The latest Premier League standings:
|13||West Bromwich Albion||23||7||7||9||22||30||-8||28|
Jan Vertonghen accidentally brought an end to Crystal Palace's scoreless run during the first half of the match between the Eagles and Spurs, but Harry Kane pulled his team back on level terms before Dele Alli and Nacer Chadli secured the win late.
The 3-1 result sees Tottenham increase their lead over Manchester United by five points, as Mauricio Pochettino's men move ever closer to Champions League football.
Things couldn't have started much worse for Spurs on Saturday, however. Captain Vertonghen gave the hosts at Selhurst Park the lead when he turned Wilfried Zaha's cross into his own net, and per Sky Sports Statto, it brought an end to quite the scoreless streak for the Eagles:
Crystal Palace score their 1st goal in 8 hours 2 mins of PL play, an own goal by Spurs Jan Vertonghen (last goal was v Stoke on Dec 19)— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) January 23, 2016
Spurs were far from their best during the first half, but the Champions League hopefuls came out with renewed energy in the second half and deservedly pulled level through Kane, who is starting to put himself in the Player of the Year conversation with his timely goals.
The visitors pushed for a late winner and were rewarded through youngster Alli, who scored an absolute beauty with six minutes left to play. Taking a touch in the air, he flipped the ball over his head and the onrushing defender before launching a perfect volley into the left bottom corner.
Former professional footballer Matt Le Tissier was impressed:
You have to watch @Dele_Alli s goal 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻— Matt Le Tissier (@mattletiss7) January 23, 2016
Chadli scored a stunning goal of his own to secure the win, although his effort will be overshadowed by Alli's superb piece of skill. The 19-year-old seems to have a knack for coming up big when his team needs him the most, and the win over Crystal Palace was just another example.
As if that wasn't enough, Spurs had yet another reason to celebrate following the final whistle at Old Trafford, as United's poor form continued. The Red Devils put together a horrendous showing against Southampton and were stunned late, as Charlie Austin found himself in all kinds of space inside the box and headed the ball home on his Saints debut.
The Times' Oliver Kay was harsh in his assessment of the hosts:
#MUFC haven't scored a first-half goal at Old Trafford since September -- 11 home games ago. That is astonishing. Unless you've watched them— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) January 23, 2016
Once again, Anthony Martial was the lone bright spot for the Red Devils, as the young forward at least showed effort to get forward, even if he struggled with his end product. Southampton's defenders had little trouble keeping the Red Devils out of their box, and goalkeeper Fraser Forster was hardly ever troubled.
Saints didn't create many chances of their own, threatening a few times off set pieces and through Dusan Tadic. But with minutes left to play, the United defenders seemed to switch off for a second, and Austin gladly accepted the gift.
As shared by ESPN FC's Ben Dinnery, the former Queens Park Rangers star was understandably ecstatic:
Charlie Austin: "It does not get any better than that." #SaintsFC— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) January 23, 2016
Sergio Aguero and Enner Valencia scored twice in Manchester City's 2-2 draw against West Ham, a result both teams were likely looking to avoid with an eye for the title race and the battle for Europe, respectively.
Jamie Vardy got back on the scoresheet for Leicester City, guiding the Foxes to a 3-0 win over Stoke City and to the top of the standings in the process. Leicester easily controlled proceedings against an overmatched Stoke team and took the lead through Danny Drinkwater just before half-time, and Leonardo Ulloa completed the scoring.
Liverpool beat Norwich City 5-4 in an absolute showpiece, a thrilling contest that saw several lead changes and two goals inside the final minutes. Sebastien Bassong thought he had nicked a point for the Canaries when he tied things up in the 90th minute, but Adam Lallana blasted home from inside the box to cap off a wild rally.
Sunderland and Bournemouth shared the points, as did West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa. Odion Ighalo once again found the target for Watford, who beat Newcastle United 2-1.