Striker Richarlison profited from a Chelsea error to secure struggling Everton a 1-0 Premier League win and what could be a precious three points in their bid to avoid relegation at a rocking Goodison Park on Sunday.
The home side grabbed the lead a minute into the second half after Cesar Azpilicueta gave up possession under pressure from the Brazilian forward, who harried the Chelsea captain into a mistake before slotting a low shot past goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
Chelsea dominated possession and Everton had to hold on grimly for the final half-hour. They stay in the relegation zone, but move to within two points of Burnley and Leeds United with a game in hand.
Chelsea remain third with 66 points from 34 games as they bid to qualify for the Champions League.
The Everton team bus was met by hundreds of fans lined along Goodison Road, flares turning the air blue in what was a vocal show of support for Frank Lampard’s side. Fireworks had also been set off outside the Chelsea team hotel during the night.
The moment the home side so desperately craved came just after the restart as Richarlison, who ran himself into the ground, forced Azpilicueta into the mistake for a goal that was met with an almighty roar.
Left back Vitaliy Mykolenko should have made it 2-0 shortly afterwards but fired wide, but at the other end Mason Mount struck both posts from a single shot, and Jordan Pickford saved brilliantly twice from Kai Havertz and Antonio Rudiger as Everton clung on.
They had a few chances on the break that came to nothing and at fulltime were able to celebrate, with much relief, a fourth successive home win against their London opponents.
Tottenham beat Leicester City 3-1
Son Heung-min continued his prolific season, striking twice after Harry Kane had opened the scoring as Tottenham Hotspur beat Leicester City 3-1 at home on Sunday to boost their hopes of Champions League qualification.
The win moved Spurs a point above North London rivals Arsenal into fourth place in the Premier League, at least for a few hours, with the Gunners at West Ham United later on Sunday.
Son has now scored 19 league goal this season, three fewer than top scorer Mohamed Salah of Liverpool, and the South Korean’s second goal was certainly one of his finest.
Patson Daka had given Spurs an early fright when he hit the post in the 14th minute but eight minutes later Kane put the hosts in front, losing his marker to meet a Son corner with a powerful header.
Spurs were comfortably in charge of the game but it was not until the introduction of Dejan Kulusevski from the bench in the 55th minute that they drove home their superiority. After a fine, sliding tackle from Cristian Romero won back the ball for Spurs, Kulusevski set up Son with a short ball into the box and the South Korean was given enough space to rotate and drill his finish into the bottom corner.
Then Swedish winger Kulusevski was the provider again, cutting in from the right and feeding Son who opened up and beat Kasper Schmeichel with a wonderful curling shot into the far, top corner.
Son received a thunderous standing ovation from the 59,000 crowd when he was substituted, three minutes after his goal.
Leicester received some reward for their efforts when Kelechi Iheanacho scored in stoppage time with a low drive off the inside of the post.
Son dismissed talk of him winning the Golden Boot but had clearly enjoyed his second goal.
“I was happy to score that really beautiful goal. When I hit it I could see the way the ball flied and I was happy to score that. But I’m more happy to play well and get the three points,” he said.
“If I get the chances then I will try to score. The Golden Boot is always a dream but the team is most important.” added Son.
Spurs are on 61 points from 34 games with Arsenal in fifth on 60 points from 33 matches.
Manchester City beat Leeds 4-0
Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League after thumping Leeds United 4-0 at Elland Road on Saturday to lead the table by one point, although the reigning champions were made to work harder than the scoreline suggested.
Liverpool had regained top spot earlier in the day with a 1-0 win at Newcastle United, putting pressure on City to respond against a Leeds side battling to avoid relegation.
An early goal settled City’s nerves, with Spanish midfielder Rodri glancing a header into the net to give the visitors the lead with 13 minutes on the clock.
Leeds kept the pressure up, with a raucous crowd doing everything in their power to make life difficult for City, but Nathan Ake’s goal in the 54th minute effectively ended any hope the home fans had of getting anything from the match.
Leeds continued to miss chances before City put the game to bed 12 minutes from time as Gabriel Jesus continued his fine form in front of goal with another strike before Fernandinho put the icing on the cake with a stoppage-time fourth.
City’s fourth win in a row in all competitions put them back at the top on 83 points from 34 games ahead ofsecond-placed Liverpool, while Leeds slipped to 17th, five points above the drop zone but having played two more games than Everton in 18th.
On paper Leeds looked up against it, taking on a City side who travelled to Yorkshire unbeaten away in the league since a 1-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur on the opening weekend, having been thrashed 7-0 in the reverse fixture early in the season.
But with City boss Pep Guardiola making five changes to his side with Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final, second-leg clash at Real Madrid in mind, which they will start with a 4-3 lead, the visitors looked a little disjointed from the off.
After surviving early pressure from the hosts, Rodri timed his run to perfection to get on the end of Ilkay Gundogan’s free-kick and break the deadlock. It was City’s 17th goal from a set piece this term – more than any other Premier League side.
The champions continued to misplace passes to give Leeds plenty of moments of promise, but poor finishing and a wayward final pass meant the home side could not capitalise.
City continued to look nervy after the break but Leeds still lacked that killer instinct with another goal from a corner, this time stabbed home by Ake, punishing the profligate hosts.
Jesus’ strike in the 78th minute – his sixth in his last three games in all competitions – meant City could relax with their return leg at Real to come in midweek, safe in the knowledge they remain the team to catch in the Premier League.
A rare goal from Fernandinho, who drilled the ball home from the edge of the box late on, completed a perfect afternoon for the defending champions against a side who will wonder how they came away having been beaten so comprehensively.
“The result was worse than we hoped but the performance was better,” said Leeds coach Jesse Marsch. “We played with confidence. It didn’t feel like a 4-0 match.
“We had momentum and controlled their movements. It’s disappointing to lose so big but even the fans and the way they responded after the game is a reflection of what the performance was.”