Eden Hazard makes it business as usual for Chelsea

Round-up: Man City scrape victory over Leicester; Giroud and Sanchez score in Arsenal win

Eden Hazard heads home to give Chelsea the lead in the Premier League clash against West Ham at Upton park. Photograph:   Tony O’Brien/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic

Eden Hazard heads home to give Chelsea the lead in the Premier League clash against West Ham at Upton park. Photograph: Tony O’Brien/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic

 

West Ham 0 Chelsea 1

Chelsea followed up their Capital One Cup victory with a hard-fought 1-0 win on their return to Premier League business at West Ham.

Jose Mourinho won a first trophy of his second spell as Blues boss with a 2-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday and Chelsea remain well placed to add a first Premier League title in five years.

The Hammers had one win in 17 against the Blues entering the contest but refused to be cowed by the leaders and deserved more, only for Eden Hazard’s first-half header to settle the contest, keeping Chelsea five points clear of second-placed Manchester City.

Mourinho spoke of short celebrations after the Wembley win and captain John Terry insisted they had been postponed until the end of the season, when he hoped there would be further cause to party.

Yet at times it appeared as though Chelsea’s defenders had a hangover as the pace of Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Stewart Downing found holes.

Terry was booked for pulling down Valencia in the first half and cautious thereafter, with Chelsea indebted to a number of fine saves from the restored Thibaut Courtois – namely from Cheikhou Kouyate and Sakho – as the Hammers pressed forwards.

Ramires struck a post on the counter-attack and had a header well saved by Adrian, while Willian spurned a late chance for a second to settle the contest.

The Hammers now have one win in 11 league games to slip further down the standings – and Sam Allardyce appears to be running out of time to convince his bosses to extend his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

Manchester City 2 Leicester 0

David Silva and James Milner struck late in each half as under-fire reigning champions Manchester City grabbed a scrappy but much-needed win over Leicester.

Silva pounced from close range to put City ahead after an unconvincing start at the Etihad Stadium and Milner came off the bench to settle nerves in the last minute.

It was far from a fluent display from City but the result will at least take some of the heat off manager Manuel Pellegrini after a testing few days.

The hosts could justifiably claim victory was deserved after forcing veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to make several fine saves.

But the Foxes were denied three penalties – with two appeals looking particularly strong –and defeat was harsh on the hard-working bottom side.

Luck was therefore on Pellegrini’s side after the build-up to the game had been dominated by criticism of his tactics in damaging losses to Barcelona and Liverpool and speculation over his future.

QPR 1 Arsenal 2

Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez guided Arsenal to a routine 2-1 victory at struggling QPR, despite Charlie Austin striking back late on.

France striker Giroud’s fifth goal in as many games set Arsenal on course, before Sanchez ended a seven-game drought.

Giroud’s 13th goal of the season calmed Arsenal who had headed into the break unsettled and unnerved by a spirited effort from relegation battlers Rangers.

Austin set up a fraught finish with a fine 20-yard strike on the turn for Rangers, but Arsenal were still able to cling on for victory.

The Gunners’ superior class and counter-attack quality proved decisive, with Sanchez influential in the build-up to Giroud’s goal before pilfering his 19th finish of the campaign.

Arsenal were denied a clear penalty when Karl Henry pulled back Mesut Ozil to stop the German tapping in from two yards, but the visitors were able to shake off referee Kevin Friend’s error.

Arsenal’s 10th win in 12 games in all competitions keeps them third in the table, even though the Gunners spent the entire first half at Loftus Road struggling for any kind of control.

Spurs 3 Swansea 1

Tottenham got their top-four tilt back on track by overcoming Swansea 3-2 on a night when Bafetimbi Gomis’s collapse had those inside White Hart Lane fearing the worst.

As play was about to restart following Nacer Chadli’s wonderful, early opener, paramedics and medical staff raced onto the field to tend to the French striker after he went down.

Hush fell on the ground where Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest three years ago, but good news emanated from the Swansea dressing room that Gomis was fine and had not been hospitalised after feinting.

Garry Monk’s side will have unlikely been aware of the positive news when Ki Sung-Yueng drew parity in a match which Spurs would go onto win, with second-half strikes from Ryan Mason and Andros Townsend securing the result after Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late strike.

Stoke 2 Everton 0

Everton endured further Premier League misery as goals from Victor Moses and Mame Biram Diouf condemned them to a 2-0 defeat at Stoke.

Moses headed home superbly in the 32nd minute before Diouf slotted in on the rebound six minutes from time after fellow substitute Marko Arnautovic hit the post to steer the Potters to a third straight win.

The Toffees, meanwhile, are now without a victory in five league games and they have won only once in their last 12.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez had said before the fixture that his side, who have been thriving in the Europa League, were not enjoying their Premier League campaign, and they may well currently be worrying about the prospect of a relegation battle, with them lying only six points above the drop zone in 14th place.

The picture is far more positive for Stoke, who have triumphed in seven of their last 10 league games and are now up to eighth in the table on 42 points. The Potters are looking to better their Premier League club records set last term of a ninth-placed finish and total of 50 points, which certainly looks achievable – and their fans may well be wondering about a push for Europe.

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