With the focus returning to the Premier League action this weekend, we take a look at all of the full-time scores involving Chelsea’s Premier League rivals.
Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points as they dispatched Stoke City. Eden Hazard coolly converted a first half penalty after Cesc Fabregas was fouled, and then the Belgian set up the second in the second half as he left Loic Remy with a tap in. However, whilst the score was 0-1, Stoke’s Charlie Adam stunned Stamford Bridge with an stunning goal from 60 yards, which looped over the unsuspecting Thibaut Courtois to draw Stoke level at half-time. There was more bad news for the home fans – substitute Diego Costa had to come off just 11 minutes after coming on after a recurrence of his hamstring injury. However, Remy’s goal secured all three points to take another huge step to securing the title.
Crystal Palace pulled off a huge shock by beating Manchester City 2-1 at Selhurst Park last night. City had a brilliant opportunity to cut Chelsea’s lead to six points. But, they will be rueing their missed chances as goals from Glenn Murray and a wonderful Jason Puncheon freekick were enough to secure a big three points for Palace, despite a goal from the returning Yaya Toure. It’s Palace’s third successive win, and a win which practically makes Chelsea ‘Champions Elect’.
On Sunday, Burnley held Tottenham to a dour 0-0 draw, but the point moves them to within touching distance of safety, with Aston Villa only two points away. Harry Kane took the captain’s armband as Hugo Lloris was taken off injured after half an hour, but that was the most exciting moment of the game in what was a forgettable game at Turf Moor.
In Sunday’s later game, Sunderland condemned Newcastle to their fifth straight derby defeat as they overcame their Tyne & Wear rivals 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. An outstanding 20-yard volley from Jermain Defoe was enough to gain Dick Avocaat his first win as Sunderland manager. It’s a win that may prove vital in the relegation dogfight as the Black Cats are now three points off the drop zone.
In Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, Chelsea’s London neighbours Arsenal thumped Liverpool 4-1 at the Emirates – realistically ending the away side’s Champions League hopes in the process. The Gunners jumped up to second in the table, seven points behind Chelsea (but the Blues have a game in hand). Without having to worry about Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel, Arsenal effectively killed the game off in the last 10 minutes of the first half. Young defender Hector Bellerin opened the scoring after 37 minutes, Mesut Ozil curled in a sublime free-kick after 40 minutes, and Alexis Sanchez’s strike after 45 minutes sealed the points. Jordan Henderson’s penalty grabbed a consolation for the Reds with 15 minutes left, but any hope of that providing a lifeline were extinguished when Olivier Giroud continued his good form, the Frenchman completing a fine performance from the north London side with a spectacular fourth goal.
Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton were 1-0 victors over Southampton. Phil Jagielka’s close range finish in the 16th minute was enough to seal the three points – the defeat leaving a dent in Southampton’s European hopes. This was despite Toffee’s goalkeeper Tim Howard making what some are calling the ‘save of the season’ against Graziano Pelle. Although the Italian striker scored against England during the international break, he is still without a domestic goal since December after failing to find the net for the Saints at Goodison Park.
Leicester took a huge step to possibly securing survival as they beat West Ham 2-1 at the King Power Stadium. Esteban Cambiasso’s early goal put the home side ahead, but after David Nugent had a penalty saved, the Hammers equalised through Chiekhou Kouyate. However, a late goal from substitute Andy King continued West Ham’s poor record in 2015. It’s a big win for relegation-threatened Leicester. Although still being bottom, they have a game in hand.
Manchester United moved to third after they overcame Aston Villa 3-1 at Old Trafford. An Ander Herrera double and Wayne Rooney’s goal was enough to secure the three points – it’s Rooney’s ninth goal in seven games against the away side. Villa, who themselves could be in the Championship next season, did pull one back through Christian Benteke with 10 minutes left, but it wasn’t enough to change the result. United are now one point ahead of rivals Manchester City, who have a game in hand, before the two teams meet next week in the Manchester derby.
Swansea stayed in eighth as they overcame Hull 3-1. Ki Sung-Yueng’s goal and the first of Bafetimbi Gomis’ brace put the home side in charge before half-time, before Paul McShane pulled one back for Steve Bruce’s side. But, the away team may have pressed the self-destruct button minutes later as midfielder David Meyler was rightly sent off for a wild challenge on Swansea defender Kyle Naughton. The Swans then finished the game off as Gomis grabbed his second in stoppage time.
QPR stunned West Brom as the London side also took an important step to Premier League survival as they claimed an impressive 1-4 win, in what was only the Hoops’ second away win so far this campaign. Eduardo Vargas, Charlie Austin and a stunning strike from Bobby Zamora put Rangers 0-3 up at half time, before WBA midfielder Youssef Mulumbu was sent off just 13 minutes after coming on as a substitute following an elbow on Joey Barton. Coincidentally, it was Barton who struck at the very end of the game to top off an impressive win. This was despite Victor Anichebe pulling a goal back for the Baggies just before the hour mark.