Martin Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – Kevin de Bruyne’s stunning free-kick sealed champions Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Leicester City to move them top of the Premier League, but Chelsea lost ground as Graham Potter returned to Brighton and ended with a score of 4:1.

Tottenham Hotspur were facing a third straight league defeat but came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Bournemouth to keep them above Newcastle United in third place.

The Magpies thrashed Aston Villa 4-0 and Crystal Palace moved into the top half as Odson Edouard scored a first-half goal to seal a 1-0 home win over Southampton.

Wolverhampton Wanderers moved up one place to 18th in the table as Ruben Neves equalized to secure a 1-1 draw at Brentford, but they finished with 10 men after Diego Costa was sent off for a header that sent the ball past Brentford’s goalscorer Ben Mee.

Manchester City have 29 points from 12 games, one more than Arsenal, who host bottom club Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

Spurs moved to 26 points from 13 games with Newcastle, who have lost just once all season, on 24. Chelsea have 21 in fifth place.

Fulham could have gone level on points with Chelsea but were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Everton.

HOLLAND IS ABSENT

Manchester City were without goal machine Erling Haaland for the first time since joining the club and his absence was evident as they lacked sharpness in the first half.

But Belgian midfielder De Bruyne did something special, curling an unstoppable free-kick into the net four minutes after the break as City held on despite pressure from Leicester.

De Bruyne has been rather overshadowed by Haaland this season, with manager Pep Guardiola demanding more.

The Belgian answered the call in style again.

“He can make goals and assists blindly. But we need such participation in the game. And today it was like that,” said Guardiola. “I want this Kevin and we need this Kevin.”

Potter was aiming to make it 10 games unbeaten since leaving Brighton to take charge of Chelsea at the start of September, but his side were beaten by the hosts, who deservedly won for the first time under his successor Roberto De Zerbi.

Brighton took the lead after five minutes through a well-taken goal by Leandro Trossaro and went 2 up in the 14th when Ruben Loftus-Cheek turned a corner into his own net.

Another own goal by Trevoh Chalab made it 3-0 in favor of the home team three minutes before the break.

Chelsea threatened to hit back three minutes into the second half when Kai Havertz headed home, but the visitors failed to make a further impact and a late goal from Pascal Gross ended a fine day for De Zerby and a miserable one for Potter.

“Yeah, of course the score and the loss hurt,” Potter said. “We haven’t really recovered.”

“UGLY” SPURS

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte made several changes to his one-eyed side for Tuesday’s Champions League decider at Olympique de Marseille and it appeared to backfire as Bournemouth took the lead with a Kiefer Moore brace.

But Ryan Sessegnon pulled a goal back and Ben Davies equalized with a header before substitute Rodrigo Bentancourt scored in stoppage time to seal a thrilling victory.

“In the second half we became more obnoxious,” said Conte, “it was vital to win this match, now we go to Marseille full of confidence.”

Newcastle made it three wins in a row as striker Callum Wilson scored twice for Villa, the first from the penalty spot, while Miguel Almiron continued his incredible scoring run.

Wilson headed home a second in the 56th minute and three minutes later Joelinton pounced on the rebound from Wilson’s shot to extend the lead. Almiron scored his sixth goal in six games in the 67th minute with a superb curling finish.

(Reporting by Martin Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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