Leicester’s midweek mood changed from frustration to elation as title rivals Tottenham and Arsenal both missed the chance to make up ground at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
Twenty-four hours after the Foxes were held to a 2-2 draw at home by West Brom, both north London sides sunk to costly defeats which left Claudio Ranieri’s men three points clear.
Michail Antonio’s seventh-minute header proved enough for West Ham to clinch a 1-0 victory over Spurs at Upton Park and move Slaven Bilic’s men within a single point of the top four.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men had dreamed of going top of the Premier League for the first time but they came up short with Harry Kane missing two fine opportunities to equalise in the second half.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal left the field to a chorus of boos after falling to a stunning 2-1 home defeat to Swansea, who boosted their own survival prospects in the process.
Without boss Francesco Guidolin, who is being treated in hospital for a chest infection, the Swans hit back after Joel Campbell struck a brilliant 15th-minute opener for the hosts.
Wayne Routledge snatched an equaliser on the half-hour against the run of play, before both Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud were denied by the woodwork.
Gylfi Sigurdsson almost put the visitors in front from a Jordan Ayew cross but his side were celebrating after 74 minutes when the Icelandic star lofted a free-kick from which Ashley Williams bundled home the winner.
It was Arsenal’s second defeat in a row after Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Manchester United and leaves Wenger’s men six points behind the leaders and looking increasingly out of touch.
Liverpool gained some measure of revenge for their Capital Cup penalty defeat to Manchester City by coasting to a 3-0 win over Manuel Pellegrini’s men at Anfield.
Goals from Adam Lallana, James Milner and Roberto Firmino left City clinging onto their top-four place by their fingernails after another desperate league show.
Recalled goalkeeper Joe Hart was arguably at fault for Liverpool’s first which Lallana drilled home in the 34th minute, and seven minutes later Milner added the second after a superb through-ball by Firmino.
The Brazilian made it three after 57 minutes when he took advantage of an inch-perfect pass from man-of-the-match Lallana to complete the one-sided win.
Manchester United left it late to join City on 47 points with Juan Mata’s 83rd-minute free-kick edging his below-par side past battling Watford to a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
The visitors had all the chances with Odion Ighalo coming close on the stroke of half-time and Etienne Capoue also firing just over the crossbar.
Despite starting again with man-of-the-moment Marcus Rashford, Louis Van Gaal’s men fashioned precious few opportunities and looked set for another night of frustration until Mata struck.
Newcastle remain rooted in the bottom three after a 1-0 defeat at Stoke, for whom Xherdan Shaqiri fired a superb 80th-minute winner to move the Potters up to seventh in the table.