By ROB HARRIS
AP Global Soccer Writer
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Coronavirus cancelations aside, the 26 goals in just five of the Premier League’s Boxing Day games provided a heavy dose of drama even without changing the complexion of the title race.
Even Manchester City, coasting at 4-0 after 25 minutes, managed to shake things up with a 10-minute second-half implosion to end up delivering a nine-goal thriller. The 6-3 win over Leicester left the defending champions six points in front.
Second-place Liverpool does have a game in hand on City after the COVID-19 outbreak at Leeds meant that was one of three games postponed on Sunday.
And Chelsea is now level on points with Liverpool after coming from behind to beat Aston Villa 3-1. Arsenal is six points further back but in high-scoring form, routing last-place Norwich 5-0.
Arsenal’s grip on fourth isn’t so secure because Tottenham, which beat Crystal Palace 3-0, is six points adrift but with three games in hand after coronavirus and snow postponements this month. West Ham was dislodged from fifth after losing 3-2 to Southampton.
Like Villa manager Steven Gerrard, Palace counterpart Patrick Vieira began isolating this weekend after a positive test. Palace failed to get its match at Tottenham called off but the Premier League board on Sunday did approve two postponements for Tuesday.
Leeds, which was due to host Villa, and Wolverhampton, which was to play at Arsenal, were deemed to lack enough players to fulfil the fixtures due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
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