Walters has one of those afternoons
Premier League round-up:Two own goals from Stoke City striker Jonathan Walters set Chelsea on their way to a 4-0 Premier League victory that gave under-fire interim manager Rafael Benitez some respite. The Republic of Ireland international had a nightmare afternoon at the Britannia stadium, putting through his own net with a diving header on the stroke of halftime, then beating his own keeper Asmir Begovic with a header from a corner just after the hour. He also missed a late penalty.
The Potters had not lost at the Britannia Stadium in the league since February and have proved formidable opponents for the league’s big guns, but this was their biggest home loss since returning to the top flight in 2008. It began to go wrong in injury time at the end of the first half when Walters headed into his own net, and remarkably the striker repeated the trick in the 62nd minute.
Three minutes later Frank Lampard netted a penalty after Juan Mata went down and Eden Hazard rounded off the scoring with a long-range screamer 17 minutes from time. Walters was given the chance to at least score one goal at the right end when Stoke were awarded a 90th-minute penalty but in keeping with the rest of the striker’s day he could only find the top of the bar.
The three points lifted Rafael Benitez’s team above London rivals Tottenham after they could only draw 0-0 against QPR at Loftus Road. That point in the day’s early kick-off lifted Harry Redknapp’s side off the bottom for a few hours, only for Reading to then come from 2-0 down to beat West Brom 3-2 at the Madejski Stadium.
Romelu Lukaku was left with the simple task of converting James Morrison’s cross in the 19th minute and had another goal disallowed before making it 2-0 on 69 minutes. But Jimmy Kebe pulled one back eight minutes from time, Adam Le Fondre equalised from the penalty spot in the closing stages and Pavel Pogrebnyak grabbed a dramatic winner in the last minute.
Wigan climbed out of the bottom three with a 1-1 draw at Fulham, leaving Aston Villa to fall into the drop zone on goal difference. Giorgos Karagounis (22) gave the Latics the lead at Craven Cottage with a well-taken shot which went in off the post, but Franco Di Santo equalised on 71 minutes when he cut in from left and curled a shot into the far corner.
Villa will feel doubly aggrieved after a controversial penalty saw them lose 1-0 at home to Southampton. Enda Stevens was penalised for a foul on Jay Rodriguez although there did not appear to be any contact, with Rickie Lambert (34) converting confidently from the spot after Villa’s protests were waved away by referee Mark Halsey.
Sunderland moved further away from trouble with a 3-0 win at home to West Ham, with Sebastian Larsson opening the scoring after 12 minutes with a stunning left-foot half-volley from long-range. Adam Johnson (47) doubled the lead after the Hammers defence failed to clear a loose ball and James McClean (74) sealed a convincing win at the Stadium of Light.
The games between Everton and Swansea and Norwich and Newcastle both finished goalless.