Arsenal and Man City win, Leeds and West Ham boost survival hopes
- Pacesetters Arsenal win 1-0 at Leicester
- Man City thrash Bournemouth 4-1 away
- Leeds, West Ham win in relegation fight
- Liverpool held to goalless draw at Palace
LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Arsenal and Manchester City continued to slug it out in the Premier League title race with wins over Leicester City and Bournemouth respectively on Saturday while at the bottom Leeds United moved out of the relegation zone.
Gabriel Martinelli earned Arsenal a 1-0 win at Leicester City to briefly send them five points clear, but City responded with a 4-1 rout of struggling Bournemouth as Erling Haaland netted a club record 27th Premier League goal in a season.
New Leeds manager Javi Gracia's reign began with a vital 1-0 win over bottom club Southampton as Junior Firpo's goal snapped a 10-game winless run to move them into 17th place.
West Ham United also secured three valuable points as Danny Ings scored his first goals for the club with the hosts netting four times in the second half to thump fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest 4-0 at the London Stadium.
Everton fell back into the bottom three though as they went down 2-0 at home to Aston Villa.
Liverpool struggled to shake off their midweek hammering against Real Madrid at Anfield in the Champions League as they laboured to a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace, a result that moved them up one place in the table to seventh.
It was the first time Palace had kept a clean sheet against Liverpool for 18 years.
Arsenal have responded impressively to their defeat at home by champions City with back-to-back wins at Villa and Leicester.
They had a goal by Leandro Trossard ruled out by VAR in the first half but it was the Belgian who played the pass which allowed Brazilian Martinelli to score in the 46th minute.
"I had full faith the players could do it," manager Mikel Arteta said of his team's response.
"I think defensively today we were incredible because we restricted Leicester to one shot on target in the whole game at home and that's a difficult thing to do."
Arsenal, bidding for a first title since 2004, have 57 points from 24 games while City have 55 from 25.
Since beating Arsenal, City lost momentum with draws at lowly Nottingham Forest and away to RB Leipzig in the Champions League in midweek. But they were back to their ruthless best in the first half at Bournemouth, scoring three times.
Julian Alvarez fired in a rebound when Haaland's deflected shot cannoned off the bar after 15 minutes.
The Norwegian then netted his 27th league goal of the campaign just before the half-hour with a fairly simple finish to overtake Sergio Aguero's tally from the 2014-15 campaign and become City's record scorer in a Premier League season.
Phil Foden effectively sealed the three points on the cusp of halftime, pouncing on an errant pass to make it 3-0 with a rasping finish. Chris Mepham's own goal after the break made it 4-0 with Jefferson Lerma hammering home a volley to earn a late consolation for the hosts who ended the day in the bottom three.
The relegation battle is shaping up to be especially tense this season with clubs changing positions on a weekly basis.
Leeds had not won a league game since Nov. 5 but former Watford manager Gracia made an instant impact.
It was Firpo who finally broke the deadlock in front of a raucous Elland Road crowd in the 77th minute, squeezing a tame effort under goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.
"After 10 games without a win, the team needed it. It is one step, but an important step," Gracia told Sky Sports.
West Ham's home game with Forest appeared to be drifting towards a goalless stalemate but Ings, a January signing from Aston Villa, broke the deadlock in the 70th minute when he struck a Jarrod Bowen cross past keeper Keylor Navas.
Ings only had to wait three minutes for his second goal from Said Benrahma's delivery before Declan Rice made it 3-0 and substitute Michail Antonio completed the rout.
Everton's hopes of avoiding relegation were dealt a blow as Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Buendia scored for visitors Villa.
Watkins broke the deadlock from the penalty spot after John McGinn was upended by Idrissa Gueye just past the hour mark and Buendia completed Everton's misery late on.
Southampton are bottom with 18 points from 24 games with Bournemouth and Everton both on 21. West Ham climbed to 16th place with 23 points while Leeds have 22.
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