Chelsea humiliate Arsenal

Chelsea humiliate Arsenal

Eden Hazard's exquisite strike inspired Premier League leaders Chelsea to a 3-1 victory over Arsenal that shattered their rivals' title challenge, while spluttering Liverpool hit a new low in a 2-0 defeat at Hull on Saturday.

Belgian winger Hazard left a trail of defenders in his wake to double Chelsea's lead in the 53rd minute at Stamford Bridge.

Marcos Alonso had opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a contentious effort as the Chelsea defender clattered into Arsenal's Hector Bellerin before heading home.

Cesc Fabregas rubbed salt into Arsenal's wounds in the 85th minute when the former Gunners midfielder chipped into the empty net after a woeful miskick from ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Olivier Giroud's stoppage-time goal was no consolation for third-placed Arsenal, who trail Chelsea by 12 points with 14 games remaining. It was Chelsea's 16th win in their last 18 league games, prompting Blues boss Antonio Conte to hail the triumph as a significant moment in the title race.

At the KCOM Stadium, Liverpool fell behind in the 44th minute when Alfred N'Diaye took advantage of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet's poor handling to bag a debut goal.

Jurgen Klopp's side were finished off in the 84th minute when on-loan Everton striker Oumar Niasse raced clear to boost third bottom Hull's survival bid. Liverpool have won only once in their last 10 games in all competitions and will be knocked out of the top four if Manchester City avoid defeat against Swansea on Sunday.

Sunderland stunned their former boss Sam Allardyce with an incredible first half goal rush to demolish fellow strugglers Crystal Palace 4-0 at Selhurst Park.

Sunderland remain bottom of the table but they are now level on points with Palace, who drop to 19th place, and just two points from safety.

Romelu Lukaku scored four times in Everton's 6-3 victory against Bournemouth at Goodison Park.

West Ham bounced back from their mauling against Manchester City with a 3-1 win at Southampton. Watford consigned 10-man Burnley to a seventh successive away league defeat with a 2-1 success at Vicarage Road. West Bromwich Albion beat Stoke 1-0 thanks to James Morrison's sixth minute goal.

Barca close in
Lionel Messi struck another trademark free-kick as Barcelona moved to within one point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Madrid have two games in hand, the first of which was supposed to take place on Sunday at Celta Vigo.

However, wind damage to Celta's Balaidos stadium has left the ground unsafe to hold the game, according to the mayor of Vigo. Neither the club nor La Liga would say whether the match will go ahead.

Celta's Galician rivals Deportivo la Coruna's clash with Real Betis on Friday was also postponed due to weather damage to Deportivo's Riazor ground.

The news could prove a big blow to Real's title hopes. Celta were set to rest a host of players with the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final against Alaves to come on Wednesday with the tie finely balanced at 0-0.

Barca took their chance to apply pressure at the Camp Nou, but needed some wasteful finishing by Athletic in a much tighter game than the scoreline suggests.
AFP

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