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Published: 18:42 | 23/1/16

Round-up: Foxes back on top

Leicester ease Stoke aside

Leicester City returned to the top of the Premier League by beating Stoke City, while Crystal Palace lost at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

Sunderland and Bournemouth drew on Wearside, while Watford defeated Newcastle United, with West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa sharing their derby-day spoils.

Earlier on, Norwich City lost out to Liverpool in a nine-goal thriller, before Manchester United were beaten by Southampton at Old Trafford in the live Setanta Sports clash. Full reports for those two games can be found in this site’s soccer section.

Leicester returned to the top of the table with a 3-0 victory at home to Stoke.

The Foxes edged a first half in which both sides produced several promising attacks, taking the lead prior to the break through Danny Drinkwater, who struck home a deflected effort from the edge of the box after Stoke had failed to clear a Leicester corner.

Joselu headed an opportunity to equalise straight at Kasper Schmeichel before Jamie Vardy extended Leicester's lead, taking Drinkwater's ball over the top around Jack Butland and finishing well.

Leonardo Ulloa found an empty net from close range when Riyad Mahrez's deflected effort fell into his path to put the seal on Leicester's triumph.

Claudio Ranieri and his troops will drop back to second place, behind Arsenal on goal difference, should the Gunners beat Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Crystal Palace lost 3-1 to fourth-placed Tottenham at Selhurst Park.

Almost entirely against the run of play in an opening half that Spurs dominated, Palace hit the front on the half-hour with their first goal in six games, as Jan Vertonghen turned Wilfried Zaha's drilled cross into his own net.

Tottenham's bossing of the game continued into the second period, and the visitors' deserved equaliser was provided by Harry Kane, who leaped well to head home substitute Nacer Chadli's cross.

Palace enjoyed their best spell following the visitors' leveller, hitting the crossbar through both Scott Dann and Mile Jedinak.

However, Spurs took the lead when Dele Alli received Christian Eriksen's header down, flicked the ball over Jedinak and finished superbly from 20 yards.

Chadli added the away side's third late on, cutting inside and striking home a very well-placed shot from 25 yards.

The defeat leaves Palace in the bottom half of the table, while Spurs move ahead of Manchester United in the battle to secure Champions League football.

Sunderland were held to a 1-1 draw by Bournemouth at the Stadium of Light.

Benik Afobe headed home a fine cross from Junior Stanislas to give the visitors an early lead.

Sunderland, though, hit back before the interval through Patrick van Aanholt, who raced on to Fabio Borini's pass and struck an excellent angled drive.

Billy Jones headed a decent opportunity straight at Artur Boruc, before Lewis Grabban fluffed his lines after being played in Matt Ritchie, as the clash ended all square.

The Black Cats remain second from bottom of the top flight, four places and six points behind Bournemouth.

Watford beat Newcastle 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

A fine double save from Rob Elliot denied Troy Deeney and Etienne Capoue, before Heurelho Gomes did well to keep out Aleksandar Mitrovic at the other end during a goalless opening period.

Odion Ighalo gave Watford the lead in the first minute of the second half, controversially avoiding been flagged offside to round Elliot and score from Deeney's ball over the top.

When Newcastle failed to deal with a corner, and with Ighalo causing trouble, the ball fell kindly for Craig Cathcart to smash in a finish that doubled the hosts' lead.

Jamaal Lascelles reduced the Toon's deficit, rising highest to head in Jonjo Shelvey's corner kick.

Newcastle, who remain in the bottom three, piled on the pressure late on but could not find an equaliser.

The victory lifted Watford to 10th place, a position that they will lose should Everton beat Swansea City on Sunday.

West Brom and Aston Villa played out a goalless local derby at The Hawthorns, dropping the Baggies to 13th place.

Villa's Jordan Ayew had very strong penalty appeals turned away early on in a dull, relatively uneventful first half.

The Baggies threatened occasionally in the second period, with Craig Dawson heading over the crossbar and Salomon Rondon badly missing the target.

The visitors, rarely dangerous in attack, held on to secure a point that does little to boost hopes that they will avoid relegation, sitting bottom and nine points adrift of 17th-placed Swansea.

By David Maher

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