Eden Hazard goal preserves Chelsea's lead
On a night when results went the way of the top clubs, a first-half goal for Chelsea kept them five points clear
Jose Mourinho described his side as "fantastic" as Chelsea overcame West Ham last night to maintain their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
A first-half strike from Eden Hazard was enough to give the visitors maximum points and leave Mourinho purring. "My players were fantastic!" he declared. "My team were brothers on the pitch and that is important if you are to win the most difficult league in the world."
With only one defeat in their last 11 Premier League games, plus their league cup final victory last Sunday, Chelsea are in a rich vein of form, and when Hazard headed home Ramires's cross midway through the first half it set the Blues on course for yet another win.
West Ham claimed Hazard was a fraction offside but manager Sam Allardyce was just as concerned with the number of chances his side missed to equalise.
"I think the goal is offside by a hair's breadth," he reflected. "These decisions need to go for you, not against you. In saying all that we shouldn't have lost it in the chances we missed."
The defeat means the Hammers have now won just one league game in their last 11 encounters, a slump that seen them drop from fourth in the table to tenth in 2015.
In other results on Wednesday night:
Manchester City remain five points behind Chelsea after their 2-0 win against visitors Leicester. Sky Blues boss Manuel Pellegrini dropped captain Vincent Kompany for the game but that bold call appeared to have made little difference to City in a dour first 45 minutes. Then, right on the stroke of half-time, David Silva gave City the lead when he forced the ball past Leicester keeper Mark Schwarzer at the second attempt. James Milner doubled City's advantage on 88 minutes but it was another unconvincing display from the reigning champions.
Arsenal were also unconvincing in the first-half of their match away at QPR but the Gunners came good after the break with goals from Olivier Giroud (his fifth in five games) and Alexis Sanchez. Charlie Austin managed to pull a goal back for Rangers eight minutes on time, but Arsenal closed out the game to record their seventh league win in their last eight matches. Manager Arsene Wenger was delighted with the evening's work, not just because the result consolidates his side's third position, but because it was Sanchez's first goal since January. "It's good because when you don't score for seven or eight games it is on your mind, even if you don't say so," he said of the Chilean striker. "He took his chance well, he's tricky, had a short back lift and scored a good goal."
Tottenham's 3-2 win over Swansea was marred by an incident involving Swans' striker Bafetimbi Gomis. Spurs had just taken an early lead through Nacer Chadli when the 29-year-old Frenchman, who has a history of fainting, collapsed onto the White Hart Lane turf. After several minutes of medical attention – which for the Spurs faithful brought back memories of Fabrice Muamba – Gomis was stretchered off. He later posted a message on the club's website saying "I wanted to reassure you concerning my health…I am feeling well now." Tottenham secured maximum points with second-half goals from Ryan Mason (his first league goal) and Andros Townsend, while for the visitors Ki Sung-yeung and Gylfi Sigurdsson got on the scoresheet.
Stoke 2 Everton 0
Liverpool 2 Burnley 0