Le­ices­ter earn 2nd straight Premier win

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY STEVE DOU­GLAS

Af­ter be­ing rel­e­ga­tion can­di­dates for most of last sea­son, Le­ices­ter could be spend­ing more time at the other end of the Premier League ta­ble this time around.

A 2-1 win at West Ham on Satur­day gave Le­ices­ter a sec­ond straight vic­tory to open the sea­son and moved the team top of the fledg­ling stand­ings, on goal dif­fer­ence above Manch­ester United.

Ja­pan striker Shinji Okazaki and winger Riyad Mahrez, with his third goal al­ready this sea­son, scored for Le­ices­ter in the first half to take its tally to six goals in two games af­ter a 4-2 win over Sun­der­land.

Le­ices­ter won seven of its last nine games to es­cape rel­e­ga­tion in its first year back in Eng­land’s top di­vi­sion and the good form is con­tin­u­ing un­der new man­ager Clau­dio Ranieri, who re­placed Nigel Pear­son in the off­sea­son.

No team has scored more points than Le­ices­ter (28) in the Premier League since the start of April, yet Ranieri is re­main­ing grounded.

“We want to achieve 40 points to main­tain the Premier League ( sta­tus),” the Ital­ian coach said. “That’s our goal.”

The sea­son hasn’t started so well for another team that nar­rowly avoided the drop last sea­son. Sun­der­land was booed by its own fans dur­ing a 3-1 home de­feat to Nor­wich and has lost both its games, con­ced­ing seven goals.

“It was even worse than last week,” Sun­der­land man­ager Dick Ad­vo­caat said. “We have to go back to the ba­sics.”

Stoke scored twice in the fi­nal 12 min­utes through Marko Ar­nau­tovic, from the penalty spot, and Mame Bi­ram Diouf to sal­vage a 2-2 draw at Tot­ten­ham, keep­ing both teams with­out a win af­ter two rounds.

Romelu Lukaku struck twice in the first half and Ross Barkley added a late third as Ever­ton beat Southamp­ton 3-0 for its first win of the sea­son.

Swansea joined Ever­ton on four points af­ter win­ning 2-0 at home to New­cas­tle, with Bafe­timbi Gomis and An­dre Ayew scor­ing. New­cas­tle played the sec­ond half with 10 men af­ter Daryl Jan­maat was sent off in the 41st for two yel­low cards.

Wat­ford drew 0-0 with West Bromwich Al­bion in Satur­day’s other game.

Man United won 1-0 at As­ton Villa on Fri­day and is the other team on six points along­side Le­ices­ter, ahead of Manch­ester City’s game against Chelsea and Crys­tal Palace host­ing Ar­se­nal on Sun­day.

Le­ices­ter was in the head­lines for the wrong rea­sons dur­ing the week, with striker Jamie Vardy fined af­ter he was filmed us­ing racist lan­guage to­ward a Ja­panese man in a casino.

Vardy spoke to Okazaki, who joined Le­ices­ter in the off­sea­son, about the sit­u­a­tion and the part started to­gether up front. They com­bined for the 27th- minute opener, with Vardy cross­ing for Okazaki to score at the sec­ond at­tempt af­ter his ini­tial shot was saved. Mahrez dou­bled the lead in the 38th.

West Ham couldn’t repli­cate its per­for­mance from last week­end, when it beat Ar­se­nal 2-0 away, and its hopes of a come­back ended when goal­keeper Adrian was sent off in in­jury time for a kick on Vardy af­ter he went for­ward on a cor­ner in search of an equal­izer.

AP

(Left) Le­ices­ter City’s Shinji Okazaki, right, scores his side’s first goal of the game dur­ing their English Premier League soc­cer match against West Ham at Up­ton Park, Lon­don, Satur­day, Aug. 15. (Above) West Ham United’s Di­afra Sakho, left, and Le­ices­ter City’s Marc Al­brighton bat­tle for the ball dur­ing their English Premier League soc­cer match at Up­ton Park, Lon­don, Satur­day.

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