POOR PERFORMANCE LONDON (AP): The expectation is that the rails will come off Leicester’s title challenge and Manchester United will get back on track. Little goes to the script in this Premier League season. But Manchester United’s problems with scoring at home won’t go away, with boos again ringing out at Old Trafford yesterday after the hosts were stunned 1-0 by Southampton. Leicester went three points clear at the top – for 24 hours at least before Arsenal host Chelsea – by beating Stoke 3-0. And Manchester City slipped further behind the pacesetters by drawing 2-2 at West Ham. Jamie Vardy, having set the record for scoring in 11 consecutive Premier League games earlier in the season, ended a goal drought exceeding 10 hours for Leicester. Danny Drinkwater and Leonardo Ulloa scored either side of Vardy’s 66th-minute goal. A first-ever Champions League qualification for the central England club seems less fanciful by the week. Manchester United went an 11th home game in a row without scoring in the first half and then conceded after the break when Charlie Austin netted on his Southampton debut. “It was a poor performance, of course, because football is not only defending but also creating chances, and we didn’t create,” van Gaal said. United remain fifth, but are now five points behind Tottenham, who came from behind to win 3-1 at Crystal Palace. A moment of individual brilliance saw Tottenham go in front with 10 minutes to go. Dele Alli, one of the breakthrough stars of the season, flicked the ball up and back over his own head before volleying into the bottom corner. The biggest scoring game of the day was on the east coast with a nine-goal thriller, including two in stoppage time. After Norwich threw away a 3-1 lead in the second half to Liverpool, Sebastian Bassong thought he had secured a 4-4 draw, but in the fourth minute of injury time, Adam Lallana scored his first goal of the season to clinch a 5-4 victory for 7th-place Liverpool.
Caroline Wozniacki’s power game proved too much for Tsvetana Pironkova as she eased past her Bulgarian opponent 6-3 6-4 in their Wimbledon second-round clash on Thursday.In a gruelling baseline duel, the Danish fifth seed’s bigger shots off both wings and her pinpoint accuracy as she hit the lines time and again proved to be decisive.She largely had the measure of 29-year-old Pironkova, ranked 131, whom she had beaten in their four previous encounters.It was not all brute power, however – Wozniacki also showed flashes of her deft touch as the match progressed, including a beautifully judged lob to break serve in the second set.The Dane, who will face 38th ranked Estonian Anett Kontaveit in the next round, was happy with her performance.”I feel like I’m hitting it (the ball) well. I thought I played aggressive, defended where I needed to,” said the 26-year-old, who has finished two seasons as world number one – 2010 and 2011 – but has never won a grand slam.”I haven’t had any easy matches here this week yet. It’s only going to get tougher.”