Chelsea tighten grip on Premier League title race after 3-1 win over Arsenal
Chelsea's Fabregas (right) celebrates a goal with teammates Costa (second from right) and Willian during the Premier League match vs Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in London on Saturday. Pic/AFP
London: Eden Hazard scored a sublime solo goal as Premier League leaders Chelsea thrust a dagger into Arsenal's title aspirations with a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The Belgian winger left a trail of defenders in his wake to double Chelsea's lead in the 53rd minute, in between a contentious header by Marcos Alonso and a late lob from Arsenal old boy Cesc Fabregas.
It was Chelsea's 11th home victory in succession and their 16th win in 18 league games, stretching their lead over third-place Arsenal to a huge 12 points with 14 games of the season remaining.
Chelsea close to unplayable
Chelsea have been close to unplayable since Antonio Conte changed their system during their 3-0 loss at Arsenal on September 24 and it seems only a matter of time until they are crowned champions.
For Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who watched from the stands as he served the third game of a four-match touchline ban, his side's season is following a wearily familiar pattern. Arsenal have lost their last five games at the Bridge and had conceded 13 unanswered goals prior to Olivier Giroud's stoppage-time consolation. They have lost four of their last nine league games and once again face the prospect of a run-in given suspense only by the tussle for Champions League places.
With a raft of midfielders unavailable, Wenger was obliged to start with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain alongside Francis Coquelin in the middle, while Theo Walcott replaced Giroud in attack. Arsenal had conceded two goals in the first 13 minutes of Tuesday's 2-1 loss at home to Watford. They almost caught Chelsea cold here, Alex Iwobi curling wide after Thibaut Courtois overhit a pass towards David Luiz. But after Gary Cahill had headed into the ground and over the bar at the other end, Chelsea went ahead in the 13th minute with a goal that left Arsenal fans fuming.
Liverpool crash again
Hull's resurgence under new manager Marco Silva continued as goals from Alfred N'Diaye and Oumar Niasse secured a 2-0 victory which leaves Liverpool still waiting for their first league win of 2017. Whatever the future holds for N'Diaye on Humberside, he is unlikely to have many easier goal-scoring opportunities than the one goalkeeper Simon Mignolet gifted him in the 44th minute at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday. Mignolet dropped Harry Maguire's header from Kamil Grosicki's right-wing corner, and although he was pressured by Abel Hernandez, it should have been a routine save.
Fourth placed Liverpool have won only once in their last 10 games in all competitions, while Hull move up to 18th place in their battle to avoid relegation. Hull had actually faced problems even before kick-off, when defender Michael Dawson was injured warming-up and Italian Ranocchia stepped up from the bench to make his first start. But Liverpool toiled to test home 'keeper Eldin Jakupovic.
16 No. of games Chelsea have won in succession out of 18 matches
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