Kuala Lumpur Post


Villa up to fifth in Premier League as Leicester hold Leeds

LONDON — Aston Villa moved up to fifth in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Fulham yesterday, as Leeds and Leicester played out a 1-1 draw in the battle to beat the drop.

Villa are now unbeaten in 10 games as they make a late push for Europe thanks to a remarkable turnaround since Unai Emery took charge.

Tyrone Mings scored the only goal at Villa Park as the England international headed in John McGinn’s corner after 21 minutes.

Emery’s men did not reach the heights they have in recent weeks, but did enough to edge above Tottenham and to climb within five points of the top four, albeit having played more games than Newcastle and Manchester United in the battle for a place in next season’s Champions League.

“We are in the Europa (League) position. It is still difficult to achieve but after this win we are just ahead of trying to keep being with the option to get there,” said Emery, who has won the Europa League four times as coach of Sevilla and Villarreal.

“There’s still Liverpool and Tottenham and Brighton (to come) and we are going to fight with them but with each match we are winning, it is giving us confidence and chance to get there.”

Leeds and Leicester remain perilously poised just above the relegation zone after the points were shared in an entertaining encounter at Elland Road.

The Foxes had won for the first time since February against Wolves on Saturday in Dean Smith’s first home game in charge and looked to have made the perfect start when Youri Tielemans’ strike found the top corner, but the goal was ruled out for offside against Boubakary Soumare.

Leeds swiftly went up the other end to go in front when Luis Sinisterra headed in Jack Harrison’s brilliant cross.

Jamie Vardy had not scored in the Premier League for six months, but picked the perfect time to net a huge goal 10 minutes from time when he latched onto James Maddison’s pass.

“I probably can’t say what I want to say on TV because I’ll get done but it’s been a weird season for me,” Vardy told BT Sport. “Hopefully the goals keep coming.”

Vardy then had the ball in the net again only to be denied by the offside flag.

But Leeds will feel they should have snatched a vital win at the death as Patrick Bamford fluffed a great chance after Daniel Iversen saved from Marc Roca and Brenden Aaronson.

A draw leaves Leeds still one point ahead of Leicester, who themselves edge one point clear of the bottom three.

Wolves moved to the brink of survival by pulling nine points clear of the relegation zone after inflicting Roy Hodgson’s first defeat since returning as Crystal Palace manager with a 2-0 win at Molineux.

The goals came early and late as Joachim Andersen’s own goal gave Wolves the perfect start after just three minutes.

Ruben Neves then made sure of the victory from the penalty spot deep into stoppage time to take Wolves level on points with Palace in 13th. — AFP