Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 13th 2017 Contents sports A45
Monday, February 13, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Sevilla ends Las Palmas' unbeaten run
Leicester loses again with 2016
fairytale turning into nightmare
MANCHESTER, England --- Soc-
cer's greatest fairytale is proving
to have the gloomiest of sequels.
Leicester, the unfashionable
English club which enchanted the
sporting world by winning the Pre-
mier League as a 5,000-1 outsider
last season, plunged closer to the
relegation zone in its woeful title
defense after losing 2-0 at Swan-
It was a fifth straight league defeat
for the stuttering champions and a
14th loss in 25 games this campaign.
They haven't scored in more than
10 hours of league play, stretching
back to the final day of 2016.
With 13 games remaining, Leices-
ter is one place and one point above
the bottom three as it looks to avoid
becoming the first defending cham-
pion to be relegated from England's
top division in 79 years. On current
form, Claudio Ranieri's team is
heading only one way, especially
with other relegation rivals like
Swansea and Hull starting to hit
form after a change in manager.
Ranieri's job appears safe for
now---Leicester's Thai owner, Vi-
chai Srivaddhanaprabh, issued a
public show of support for the Ital-
ian coach in a statement this week
--- but something needs to change,
"We have two problems; we con-
cede goals and don't score," Ranieri
said. "We have to stick together and
find a solution. It's not possible to
continue this way."
It could get even worse, though,
with two of Leicester's next three
games being against Liverpool and
Arsenal. The team also resumes its
Champions League campaign in 10
days with a trip to Sevilla for the first
leg of their last-16 match.
Leicester's league title looks to
be heading to Chelsea, although
the runaway leader had an uncom-
fortable time in a 1-1 draw at Burnley
Chelsea moved 10 points clear of
Tottenham and Arsenal, who are in
second and third place respectively.
Manchester City would trim Chel-
sea's lead to eight points by beat-
ing Bournemouth on Monday in
the final game of the 25th round of
Here's a closer look at yesterday's
games, which affected both ends of
Watched by Srivaddhanaprabh
at Liberty Stadium in south Wales,
Leicester was undone by two
well-taken goals by defenders in
the first half.
Alfie Mawson executed his like a
striker, the center back meeting a
header back across the area by Fed-
erico Fernandez with a sweet first-
time strike from 10 meters that flew
past Leicester goalkeeper Kasper
Schmeichel. It was Mawson's third
goal in his last six games.
Martin Olsson's goal came from
more of a team move, with Fernando
Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson com-
bining to send the Sweden interna-
tional through down the left. He
closed in on Schmeichel and buried
a low shot inside the goalkeeper's
Leicester improved in the sec-
ond half but couldn't end its goal
drought in 2017.
"It's hard to put it into words,"
Leicester midfielder Danny Drink-
water said. "We need to get out of
this, we need to keep on fighting."
Swansea moved above Leicester
and four points clear of the relega-
BURNLEY 1, CHELSEA 1
This turned into a tough test for
Chelsea in snowy, bitingly cold con-
ditions against a team that had won
nine of its last 10 games at its Turf
Pedro Rodriguez finished off a
rapid counterattack to put Chelsea
ahead in the seventh minute, but
Burnley equalized through Robbie
Brady's curling, 25-meter free-kick
in the 24th and created the better
chances after that.
It was only the third time that
Chelsea has dropped points since
late September, after a loss to Tot-
tenham and draw at Liverpool last
Chelsea remains a huge title
favorite, with its next five league
games against opponents in 10th
place or lower---Swansea, West
Ham, Watford, Stoke and Crystal
Leicester is 7/4 for relegation
after becoming the first English
champions since 1956 to lose five
consecutive league games after yes-
The Foxes were cut again for the drop
after yesterday's 2-0 defeat at Swansea -
their sixth straight league game in which
they've failed to score.
That result leaves them just one place
and one point above the relegation zone
and 7/4 with our betting partners Sky
The good news for Leicester fans
is that the market says there are still
four teams more likely to go down to
The current bottom three of Sunder-
land (1/4), Crystal Palace (4/6) and Hull
(4/5) are all odds-on for the drop after
all losing on Saturday.
Middlesbrough, who held Everton to
a goalless draw on the same day, are 6/5
shots, despite being a point better off
than the champions.
Leicester were as big as 40/1 for the
drop with the Leeds-based firm in
June before being backed into 14/1 in
pre-season. They were still on offer at
25/1 less than a month ago.
Were they to be relegated they would
become only the second English cham-
pions to go down the season after win-
ning the title. Manchester City were the
first in 1937/38.
Sky Bet's Sandro Di Michele said:
"Leicester cost us a fortune last year
and could hurt us again if they go down.
"However, despite how poor the Foxes
have been of late, we're still confident of
avoiding that with Sunderland, Palace
and Hull all odds-on for relegation."
Swansea were moved out to 100/30 in
the same market as a result of their win.
They have now won four of their seven
games since the appointment of Paul
If he did not have the credit of last
season in the bank, Claudio Ranieri
may well have already been replaced
as Leicester boss.
He remains in position, although he's
even money in the Premier League 'sack
race' market following Sunday's game.
At the other end of the table, lead-
ers Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by
Burnley but still increased the gap at the
top to 10 points over Spurs and Arsenal.
Antonio Conte's men were tipped up
by our very own Matt Brocklebank in
pre-season at 13/2.
(SOURCE: SPORTING LIFE)
Things go from bad to worse for
Swansea City's Martin Olsson, right, celebrates scoring his side's second
goal of the game during the English Premier League match Swansea
against Leicester at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales, yesterday. AP
MADRI---Sevilla showed it re-
mains a strong title contender
in the Spanish league, ending
Las Palmas' 15-game unbeaten
streak at home with a late 1-0
victory yesterday to stay close
to leader Real Madrid and sec-
Substitute Joaquin Correa
scored an 80th-minute winner
at Gran Canaria Stadium for Jorge
Sampaoli's team, which was com-
ing off defeat at Espanyol and a
draw against Villarreal.
Sevilla is third with 46 points,
two behind Barcelona and three
behind Madrid, which has two
games in hand. Madrid won 3-1
at last-placed Osasuna on Satur-
day with one of the goals scored
by Cristiano Ronaldo, while Bar-
celona routed Alaves 6-0 in the
Basque Country with Neymar and
Lionel Messi scoring a goal each
and Luis Suarez adding a brace.
The Argentine midfielder net-
ted Sevilla's winner three minutes
after coming off the bench, enter-
ing the area free from markers and
easily finding the net.
Las Palmas hadn't lost at home
in the league since a game against
Madrid in March last year. It had
lost at its stadium in a Copa del
Rey match against Atletico Madrid
earlier this year. Real Madrid is the
only team still to lose at home this
season in the league.
Sitting 11th in the standings,
Las Palmas had plenty of chances
throughout Sunday's match but
couldn't capitalize on them, with a
great performance by Sevilla goal-
keeper Sergio Rico.
Villarreal's struggles in the
Spanish league continued with a
1-1 home draw against Malaga, a
result that left it further behind in
the fight for a Champions League
spot next season.
Villarreal remained sixth as the
gap to fourth-placed Real Socie-
dad increased to five points after
22 matches. It is 10 points behind
The top three teams automat-
ically advance to the group stage
of Europe's top club competition.
The fourth-placed club has to go
through a playoff.
Villarreal has won only one of
its last six league matches.
Striker Charles opened the
scoring for Malaga in the 14th
minute, and midfielder Bruno
Soriano equalized for the hosts
by converting a 62nd-minute
Malaga had unsuccessfully ap-
pealed for a penalty of its own in
the 54th, when Charles was pulled
down inside the area while going
for a header.
Villarreal played a man down
from the 71st after midfielder
Roberto Soriano was sent off with
a straight red card for a foul away
from the ball.
The result extended Malaga's
winless streak to nine league
matches. It remains 14th with 23
SPORTING GIJON 2
Sporting Gijon scored twice in
the second half to defeat Leganes
2-0 and snap its seven-game win-
It hadn't won in the league since
a 3-1 victory over last-placed
Osasuna in December.
The result left Sporting two
points behind Leganes, the first
team outside the relegation zone.
Leganes' winless streak is now
at 10 games.
Sporting reserve goalkeeper
Diego Marino was sent off while
on the bench for protesting in the
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