POOR CHANCES FOR UNITED LONDON (AP): Leicester’s first target was exceeded long ago: Premier League survival. Another landmark was achieved yesterday: Champions League qualification for the first time. By the end of the month, Leicester should have secured the prize once simply unthinkable for such a team: the Premier League trophy itself. Jamie Vardy’s double at Sunderland sealed a 2-0 victory that guaranteed a coveted top-four finish. Leicester remain seven points clear at the top and are starting to resemble a Premier League thoroughbred with their effortless march to a first title. This isn’t what a title run-in should look like for a team yet to win the league title in its 132-year history and were in a relegation scrap this time last season. Tottenham are waiting to pounce on any slip-up by Leicester. The second-place London club responded to Leicester’s Sunderland success by ending a 15-year wait for a home win over Manchester United. A 3-0 victory was secured by Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela scoring within five minutes, 46 seconds in the second half. It pushed Tottenham a step closer to joining Leicester in the Champions League next season, having only featured in Europe’s top competition once before. United look unlikely to be with them, given that cross-town rivals Manchester City are four points ahead in fourth place. As things are progressing, record 20-time English champions United could see Leicester guarantee the title by winning at Old Trafford in three games time. Leicester are in unfamiliar territory but not showing it. There are no nerves, no sign of anxiety from Claudio Ranieri’s team. Some observers suggested the manager was crying when he entered the field after yesterday’s fifth successive win. “It’s fantastic when you see before the match a lot of old ladies with Leicester shirts outside the stadium,” Ranieri said later. “I said, ‘Unbelievable, they came from Leicester to support us.’ That is emotional; that is fantastic; that is football. “I want, through you, to say thank you for the support. It’s unbelievable. They are amazing. They are dreaming and we want to continue to dream. But to do this, we must be concentrated.” It’s looking bleak for Sunderland, who are four points from safety but with a game in hand over Norwich. There was little at stake in yesterday’s third game apart from Liverpool gaining confidence ahead of their Europa League quarter-final second leg against Borussia Dortmund, which is locked at 1-1. Liverpool dislodged Stoke from eighth place by beating the Anfield visitors 4-1. Alberto Moreno’s fine Liverpool opener was cancelled out by Bojan Krkic in the 22nd minute. But Daniel Sturridge restored Liverpool’s lead before half-time and substitute Divock Origi netted twice after the break.
Odds and ends from around the Valley: Kudos to Spike Dolomite Ward and her Arts in Education Aid Council for hosting a shopping spree on Thursday for 27 middle- and secondary-school art teachers who normally have to dip into their own pockets or hustle candy bars and gift wrap to pay for students’ art supplies. “The Los Angeles Unified School District gives secondary-school teachers anywhere from $1 to $7 for each student for art supplies, which doesn’t come close to covering it,” said Ward, who joined with other moms six years ago to help teachers better do their jobs. “We faxed every secondary art teacher in the San Fernando Valley and told them to stop by the Canoga Park Youth Arts Center: The supplies were on us this year. They shouldn’t have to pay for them out of their own pockets.” Let’s also hear it for the Warner Center Rotary Club, which collected money to buy tents and blankets for victims left homeless by the devastating earthquake in Pakistan. Club members Ruzbe Mehta was born and raised in Pakistan. She’s been getting firsthand reports from her family of the devastation, and will leave Dec. 29 to see for herself. “There are so many heartbreaking stories of people who lost loved ones and everything they owned,” she said. “I’m proud that my community here has been so kind and caring in donating money and supplies to help them.” If you want to help victims of the earthquake, contact Ruzbe at (818) 885-5729. A $5 donation buys a blanket. A $100 donation provides a furnished tent for seven people. A good mechanic is hard to find, and after today there’ll be one less in Glendale. George McCullough is retiring after 41 years of gassing up and fixing cars at Glendale Avenue and Lexington Drive. George’s Automotive Service is the oldest full-serve station and independent garage in Glendale. A Walgreens will be built on the site. “I’m going to sit back awhile and reflect on what to do next,” said McCullough, 62. “I love my wife too much to be around her 24/7.” The good news for George’s longtime customers is that his three full-time mechanics will be moving to RPM Automotive at 130 N. Verdugo Road. And finally, the Valley Jazz Club’s big holiday bash this year will feature Johnny Vana’s Big Band Alumni, some of the top musicians in town from the Big Bands of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Guests are being asked to bring unwrapped toys and nonperishable canned food that will be distributed to the West Valley Pantry in Woodland Hills and its Family Rescue Center in Canoga Park during the holidays. The show kicks off with an open jam session at 1 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Elks Hall, 20917 Osborne St., Canoga Park. The Big Band Alumni starts at 3 p.m. Tickets are $9 at the door. For more information, call (818) 347-4149 or visit www.valleyjazzclub.org. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week One of Ward’s biggest supporters is Steve Aufhauser, who runs Continental Art Supplies, which chipped in $3,000 worth of supplies. “We have a running joke that if a customer identifies themselves as an LAUSD art teacher, we take pity on them and give them a substantial discount,” Aufhauser said, adding that all art school teachers get a discount at his store. Jessica Perry, an art teacher at Porter Middle School in Granada Hills, is one of the lucky ones. Her program was awarded two grants this year that made it possible for her students to paint murals and take field trips. “If it wasn’t for those grants, we wouldn’t be able to do either,” she said, while loading up on free supplies. If you want to help Spike out with art supplies for her next free shopping day, call (818) 705-8758 or visit www.aieac.org.