LONDON – Chelsea did little to take the spotlight away from manager Antonio Conte, linked with a post-season move to French giants Paris Saint-Germain this week, in a goalless draw with Leicester City on Saturday.
Alan Pardew oversaw his first Premier League victory as West Brom manager thanks to a 2-0 win over Brighton, while Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle came from behind to draw 1-1 with bottom-of-the-table Swansea City as the battle to avoid relegation intensified.
With Tottenham Hotspur playing in Saturday’s late kickoff against Everton and runaway leaders Manchester City not facing Liverpool until Sunday, Chelsea were the only top six side involved in a 3pm GMT kickoff.
But the Blues could not pierce Leicester’s defence at Stamford Bridge even when visiting left back Ben Chilwell was sent off for a second bookable offence midway through the second half.
Meanwhile, Chelsea and England defender Gary Cahill went off injured in the first half as the Blues were left 15 points adrift of City.
West Brom, who kicked off level on points with Swansea, needed just four minutes to take the lead at The Hawthorns when Jonny Evans headed in from a corner.
And they went 2-0 up in the 56th minute thanks to a Craig Dawson header.
The Baggies remained in the relegation zone as indeed did Swansea.
Jordan Ayew gave Swansea the lead on the hour in Newcastle when he nodded in a rebound after an initial header was blocked before Magpies substitute Joselu equalised 10 minutes later with virtually his first touch of the game.
James Ward-Prowse scored his first two goals of the Premier League season for Southampton but that wasn’t enough to give the Saints a desperately-needed win as hosts Watford rallied for a 2-2 draw.
Vicarage Road was even more brightly bedecked in the club’s traditional yellow colours than usual as Hornets fans marked the first anniversary of the passing of their celebrated former manager and ex-England boss Graham Taylor.
But despite the highly-charged atmosphere, it was Southampton who broke the deadlock thanks to Ward-Prowse’s low strike in the 20th minute.
Ward-Prowse, on target in last weekend’s 1-0 win FA Cup victory over Fulham, doubled the Saints’ lead shortly before halftime after he was unselfishly played in by Dusan Tadic.
Watford pulled a goal back through an Andre Gray header and then equalised in controversial fashion right at the finish when Abdoulaye Doucoure turned in a Troy Deeney flick-on.
It looked as if Doucoure had inadvertently turned the ball in with his hand as he stooped for a header but the goal stood and denied Southampton a first league win in 10 games.
Crystal Palace’s Bakary Sako scored the only goal of the game in the 21st minute as Roy Hodgson’s Eagles saw off Burnley 1-0 at Selhurst Park, while West Ham overpowered Huddersfield Town 4-1.
West Ham, in common with Palace, are one of several clubs towards the foot of the table who have changed managers mid-season in a bid to preserve their top-flight status, with David Moyes replacing Slaven Bilic at the London Stadium.
Moyes’ men opened the scoring at Huddersfield in the 25th minute when Town’s Joe Lolley dithered on the edge of his box and was dispossessed, with Mark Noble advancing into the area before unleashing a powerful shot.
But Lolley atoned for his error five minutes before the break by drawing the visitors level after he cut inside Noble and curled a fine shot into the far corner.
West Ham, however, regained the lead a minute after the break when Marko Arnautovic, straight from the kick off, hooked the ball past Tommy Smith and shot home.
Manuel Lanzini made it 3-1 before scoring his second and the Hammers’ fourth in the 61st minute.
Sunday sees Arsenal away to Bournemouth while Manchester United, second but still 15 points behind Manchester City, face managerless Stoke at Old Trafford on Monday.