By Victor Okoye
Abuja (NAN) English Premier League leaders Chelsea on Saturday thrashed neighbours Arsenal 3-1 in a Week 24 London derby.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Chelsea tightened their grip on the Premier League title race and delivered a blow to Arsenal’s aspirations with a convincing victory at Stamford Bridge.
Manager Arsene Wenger, watching from the stands as he served the third of a four-match touchline ban, was hoping Arsenal could respond to Tuesday’s shock home defeat by Watford.
But Chelsea exerted their authority to leave the Gunners 12 points behind the leaders.
Marcos Alonso gave Chelsea the lead after 13 minutes, heading home after Diego Costa’s header came back off the bar.
Arsenal were unhappy with Alonso’s challenge on Hector Bellerin that saw the defender take a heavy blow to the head which forced his substitution, but referee Martin Atkinson saw nothing wrong.
Eden Hazard made the decisive contribution with a magnificent solo goal eight minutes after half-time, leaving a trail of Arsenal players in his wake in a run from the halfway line before beating Petr Cech.
The goalkeeper’s poor clearance gifted substitute Cesc Fabregas Chelsea’s third, five minutes from time, and Olivier Giroud’s late goal barely counted as consolation for Arsenal.
The visitors had chances but saw Thibaut Courtois save well from Gabriel, Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck.
Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League was 12 points at the conclusion of this victory.
In other EPL matches played on Saturday, Alfred N’Diaye and Oumar Niasse scored in each half as lowly Hull City stunned Liverpool 2-0 at the KCOM Stadium.
Also, Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe heaped misery on Crystal Palace as Sam Allardyce’s side conceded three goals in six minutes just before half-time; two of them scored by Defoe to give Sunderland a 4-0 victory.
Romelu Lukaku also hit four goals as Everton saw off a brave Bournemouth fight at Goodison Park.
Bournemouth fought hard after Everton raced into a three-goal lead, but Lukaku eventually hit four goals to seal a 6-3 win for the host.
Elsewhere, Andy Carroll inspired West Ham’s fight back to shock Southampton 3-1, while Watford M’baye Niang and Troy Deeney both scored headers to give Watford a 2-1 home victory over 10-man Burnley.
In all, there were a total of 23 goals scored in six EPL matches played on Saturday.