Manchester City and Arsenal both won on Saturday, allowing City to maintain their one point gap over third place Arsenal.
Looking to bounce back from their Champions League elimination by Barcelona in mid-week, City were given a big helping hand when referee Neil Swarbrick sent off West Brom defender Gareth McAuley after only 89 seconds. It as another high profile mistake by a Premier League referee this season as Swarbrick confessed at half-time that he had sent off the wrong player.
Bony made the breakthrough in the 27th minute, gathering a deflected pass from Fernando and hoisting a shot past West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill to claim his first goal in City’s colours. Fernando added a second before half-time, stabbing home after Myhill and Jonas Olsson got in a muddle at a corner.
Both teams hit the woodwork in the second half, Sergio Aguero and Bony in quick succession for the hosts; Saido Berahino for West Brom, before David Silva diverted in a shot from City substitute Stevan Jovetic in the 77th minute.
Arsenal remain a point behind City in third place after Olivier Giroud scored twice in a 2-1 win at Newcastle United. Newcastle dominated long periods of the match as Arsenal appeared tired after their midweek Champions League encounter, but two goals by Giroud in four minutes in the first half was enough to give the Gunners all three points.
Meanwhile, Harry Kane marked his callus to the full England squad this week with his first Premier League hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur edged bottom club Leicester City 4-3 to move to within three points of the top four. After Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was stretchered off with a gashed knee, Kane struck twice in the first 12 minutes, only for goals either side of half-time from Jamie Vardy and Wes Morgan to bring Leicester level.
But Kane restored Spurs’ lead with a 64th-minute penalty that took him to the top of the Premier League scoring chart with 19 goals (29 in all competitions). Jeff Schlupp’s own goal made it 4-2, before Nugent claimed a late consolation for the visitors.
Southampton remain level on points with Spurs after beating Burnley 2-0 in a game that saw their goalkeeper, Fraser Forster, also stretchered off in the early stages. Shane Long converted Nathaniel Clyne’s drilled shot to put Southampton ahead in the 37th minute and Jason Shackell’s second-half own goal completed victory.
With all their top-four rivals winning, fourth-place Manchester United and fifth-place Liverpool will be doubly determined not to lose ground when they face off in a crunch clash at Anfield on Sunday. Elsewhere, Wilfried Zaha earned Crystal Palace a 2-1 victory at Stoke City, while Bafetimbi Gomis’s 87th-minute strike gave Swansea City a 1-0 win at Aston Villa.