Chelsea collected their first Premier League victory under Rafa Benitez, with a 3-1 win at Sunderland.
The visitors took the lead on 11minutes, as Eden Hazard’s cross was met by Fernando Torres’ outstretched boot.
On the stroke of half-time the Blues were two goals up.
Brazilian midfielder Ramires was brought down in the penalty area by Sebastian Larsson. Torres stepped up and made no mistake from the spot kick.
Chelsea were three goals up in the 49th minute. Torres was again involved, as the Spaniard’s effort struck the crossbar and compatriot Juan Mata was on hand to score the rebound.
The Black Cats got a goal back in the 66th minute, Adam Johnson’s left-footed effort from edge of the penalty area completely outfoxed Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal. The defeat leaves Martin O’Neill’s side in the relegation zone.
Elsewhere, Wigan and QPR drew 2-2 at the DW Stadium. The hosts took the lead in the 19th minute, James McCarthy’s effort from the edge of the area took a nick off Jamie Mackie and found the net.
The visitors were back on level terms in the 26th minute. Adel Taarabt’s corner was headed home powerfully by Hoops centre-back Ryan Nelsen. QPR took the lead in the 71st minute, Shaun Wright-Phillips teed up Djibril Cisse to side-foot past Ali Ali-Habsi.
The Latics equalised in the 74th minute. Midfielder James McCarthy scored his brace flicking an effort past Robert Green from a cross by Jan Beausejour. The draw leaves Wigan just two points clear of the relegation zone. Meanwhile QPR have now gone a Premier League record 16 games without victory.
Arsenal defeated West Brom 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium, courtesy of two Mikel Arteta penalties. Arteta scored his first penalty in the 26th minute, after Santi Cazorla went down dramatically under a challenge from Steven Reid.
Arteta made it two in the 64th minute, and yet again the spot kick was contentious. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought down by Chris Brunt, after appearing to foul the Northern Ireland international prior to be fouled himself.
Arteta again made no mistake with the spot kick. The victory moved Arsenal up to sixth place in the Premier League, just two points behind arch-rivals Tottenham in fourth place.
Norwich took their unbeaten run to ten games with an impressive 4-3 victory at Swansea. The Canaries took the lead in the 16th minute, full-back Steven Whittaker firing past Gerhard Tremmel after an exchange with Robert Snodgrass.
Norwich were two goals up in the 40th minute. Grant Holt’s cross was headed home by centre-back Sebastien Bassong. Just before the interval Norwich made it three. Robert Snodgrass’ superb cross was headed home by Holt.
Swansea got back in the game on 51 minutes, Michu firing past Mark Bunn from a Ben Davies cross. Just before the half hour mark Jonathan De Guzman half-volleyed past Bunn from Nathan Dyer’s cross to make it two for Swansea.
The visitors killed the game off in the 77th minute. Snodgrass curled home a superb free-kick to make it four for Norwich. There was still time for Michu to score a late consolation goal for the Swans, but it was too little too late for the home side.
The victory moved Norwich up to 11th place in the table, just a point behind eighth place Swansea. The defeat brought Swansea’s unbeaten run to an end, but Norwich march on.
Southampton claimed a vital 1-0 victory over Reading at St Marys in the big game at the bottom of the table. The only goal of the game came in the 61st minute, Jason Puncheon picking up a pass from Nathaniel Clyne, before firing home inside the area.
The victory took the Saints out of the relegation zone and moved Nigel Adkins side up to 15th in the Premier League table. Reading are in big trouble, six points away from safety.
Aston Villa and Stoke drew 0-0 at Villa Park. Potters full-back Ryan Shotton was shown a rather harsh red card late-on, but Villa couldn’t make the most of their numerical advantage. The result leaves Villa just two points away from the relegation zone. Meanwhile Stoke are just three points away from the Champions League spots.
Can Rafa Benitez continue to get the best out of Fernando Torres?
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