Chelsea’s interim manager Guus Hiddink watched his new team beat Sunderland 3-1 on Saturday, while Norwich City heaped more pressure on Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal as the Canaries won at Old Trafford.
It was a strange atmosphere at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea’s fans used the match as an opportunity to take out their anger over Mourinho’s dismissal on their own players. Chelsea made a storming start, Ivanovic heading in Willian’s corner in the fifth minute and Pedro slamming home eight minutes later. Oscar added a third early in the second half with a penalty, before Fabio Borini replied from close range for the visitors. Victory left Chelsea in 15th place, four points clear of the relegation zone.
There was similar rebellious atmosphere at Old Trafford, where Norwich won 2-1 to send United to a third straight defeat in all competitions and send them out of the top four. Chants of “Jose Mourinho” could be heard coming from the Stretford End. United are now nine points adrift of Leicester in fifth place and defeats away to Stoke and home against Chelsea over the holiday period could see the former Chelsea boss appointed as the new United manager.
But the story of the season was continuing at Goodison Park where Leicester City beat Everton 3-2 to guarantee that they will top the table on Christmas Day.
Tottenham Hotspur took advantage by winning 2-0 at Southampton to capture fourth place. Harry Kane, after a neat run, and Dele Alli scored within three minutes of each other late in the first half. Riyad Mahrez scored twice from the penalty spot, with Shinji Okazaki also on target, as Leicester won 3-2 at Everton, who netted through Romelu Lukaku, scorer for the seventh league game running, and Kevin Mirallas.
Bottom of the table this time last year, Leicester provisionally moved five points above Arsenal and six clear of Manchester City, who face off at the Emirates Stadium on Monday. Lee Chung-Yong’s thumping 88th-minute goal saw sixth-place Crystal Palace win 2-1 at Stoke City, while Charlie Daniels’s late penalty gave Bournemouth a 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion, who had James McClean and Salomon Rondon sent off. Bottom club Aston Villa drew 1-1 at fourth-bottom Newcastle United.