A below-par Leicester City made it six wins in a row and took a giant leap to safety with a 2-0 win over struggling Sunderland. The Foxes can now all but mathematically ensure safety with a win at Everton this weekend.
Leicester showcased one of their best qualities last season -- winning when not at their best. A resurgent Jamie Vardy also scored his fifth goal since Craig Shakespeare replaced Claudio Ranieri.
Leicester were a little disjointed, perhaps because Riyad Mahrez never got going. Danny Drinkwater and Wilfred Ndidi also misplaced a lot of passes and had Victor Anichebe equalised just before Vardy's second goal, things could have been a lot different.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Shakespeare turned the game with the introductions of Marc Albrighton and Islam Slimani. Albrighton, in particular, was sensational, returning from illness to set up both goals, the first of which Slimani scored.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kasper Schmeichel, 7 -- A quiet evening for the ever-consistent Dane. Back-to-back clean sheets have finally arrived, too.
DF Danny Simpson, 7 -- Barely put under any pressure, although did make one vital headed clearance early on.
DF Robert Huth, 6 -- Lost his cool on a couple occasions and barely got a decision his way all game from the officials.
DF Yohan Benalouane, 7 -- Is making it harder with every game for captain Wes Morgan to walk back into the side. Definitely a hidden gem Shakespeare has utilised well.
DF Christian Fuchs, 6 -- Tested all night but stood firm. Looked pretty tired by the end of the game, though.
MF Riyad Mahrez, 5 -- Leicester's worst player. None of his array of tricks or basic passing came off. Just one of those nights for the Algerian.
MF Danny Drinkwater, 5 -- A tired and inconsistent performance that thankfully wasn't punished.
MF Wilfred Ndidi, 6 -- Dug in but wasn't anywhere near the player he was against Stoke.
MF Demarai Gray, 6 -- Earned his start following a thrilling display against Stoke but largely disappointed again showcasing his inconsistency. Had the chance to open the scoring in the first half but Sunderland generally policed him well.
FW Shinji Okazaki, 6 -- A touch toothless up front but as ever his effort couldn't be faulted. Another player dogged by fatigue.
FW Jamie Vardy, 8 -- Another tremendous finish and hungry shift. A different player all of a sudden, although the England striker has always been streaky.
MF Marc Albrighton, 9 -- Got just under half an hour but still Leicester's best player. Two quality assists and the kind of enticing display that could peak Gareth Southgate's attention.
MF Andy King, NR -- Replaced Ndidi late on to help see out the game.
FW Islam Slimani, 8 -- Like Albrighton his introduction changed the game. Scored the opener with a powerful header proving once again his worth despite limited minutes this campaign.