English Premier League: Chelsea impress vs. West Ham, Man United and Man City stay in touch

BY ESPN STAFF – www.espnfc.us

Chelsea won to stay atop the Premier League table after a full Boxing Day schedule which also saw title chasers Manchester City and Manchester United prevail.

Diego Costa was on target in a 2-0 win as Premier League leaders Chelsea were too much for the Hammers to handle.

Premier League leaders Chelsea demonstrated their strength with a 2-0 win over in-form West Ham United in the lunchtime kick off on Boxing Day.

John Terry scored his second goal in as many matches, tapping in from close range, to break the deadlock in the 31st minute at Stamford Bridge.

Diego Costa wrapped up the three points just after the hour mark, deceiving his markers with fine skill before arrowing into the far corner.

Champions Manchester City again made light of the absence of strikers as they cruised to a 3-1 win at West Brom.

Defending champions Manchester City stayed within three points of the leaders with a comfortable 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.

Midfielder Fernando scored from close range after eight minutes to register his first goal for the club. Former City defender then fouled ex-teammate David Silva inside the penalty area five minutes later, allowing Yaya Toure to double his side’s lead from the spot.

Silva then scored his fourth goal in his last six games on 34 minutes to leave City three points behind Chelsea, while Brown Ideye netted his first Premier League goal for West Brom although it was no more than a late consolation.

Two first half goals from Wayne Rooney and a Robin van Persie header propelled Manchester United 3-1 past Newcastle United.

Manchester United kept in touch with the top two courtesy of a straightforward 3-1 win over Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

Club captain Wayne Rooney scored two goals midway through the first half, and then turned provider shortly after the break to set up Robin van Persie with a 53rd-minute header.

There was no repeat of the dramatic late win for United in the corresponding fixture on Boxing Day two years ago, despite Papiss Cisse pulling one back from the penalty spot in the closing stages.

Arsenal survived the sending-off of striker Olivier Giroud for a reckless head-butt to beat QPR 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium and close-in on the top four spot in the Premier League.

In Boxing Day’s evening game, Arsenal overcame Queens Park Rangers 2-1despite striker Olivier Giroud receiving a straight red card early in the second half.

Alexis Sanchez saw a penalty saved in the first half before making amends with a header that broke the deadlock on 37 minutes.

Giroud then received his marching orders in the second period for a head-butt on Nedum Onuoha, before Tomas Rosicky doubled the Gunners’ lead.

QPR pulled a goal back through Charlie Austin from the penalty spot, but Arsenal held on despite a tense finish at Emirates Stadium.

Southampton’s resurgence continued in style at Selhurst Park as Ronald Koeman’s side moved back into the top four of the Premier League.

Southampton continued their recent upturn in form with a 3-1 win of their own at Crystal Palace.

Saints arrived at Selhurst Park having arrested a run of four straight league defeats with a win over Everton last time out, and Saido Mane’s 17th-minute opener kept the momentum going.

Mane then set up Ryan Bertrand to score his first goal since September shortly after the break, and soon afterwards Toby Alderweireld headed home from a corner to open his account for the club. Scott Dann headed home from Mile Jedinak’s set-piece delivery late on, but it was not enough to spark a fightback for the Eagles.

Christian Eriksen was Tottenham’s saviour as they survived a storm to edge past Leicester 2-1.

Tottenham Hotspur made it three top-flight wins in a row as Christian Eriksen sealed a 2-1 win at Leicester City.

Harry Kane opened the scoring in the first minute at the King Power Stadium, tapping in from Nacer Chadli’s assist.

Leonardo Ulloa levelled the scoreline in the second half for his seventh Premier League goal of the season.

But, with 19 minutes left on the clock, midfielder Eriksen netted a free kick to clinch a fifth away win of the season for Spurs.

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s stunning free-kick gave Swansea a hard-fought 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Aston Villa at the Liberty Stadium.

Swansea City registered back-to-back wins for the first time since August courtesy of a 1-0 win over Aston Villa.

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 13th-minute free kick was enough to see Garry Monk’s side stay within four points of the top four.

Raheem Sterling’s second-half strike ensured Liverpool managed their first league victory in four matches despite turning in a poor performance at struggling Burnley.

Liverpool claimed a second consecutive away win in the league after they beatBurnley 1-0 at Turf Moor.

Striker Mario Balotelli was named on the bench despite being available again after suspension and injury, so it fell to Raheem Sterling so seal victory for Brendan Rodgers’ side just after the hour mark.

Another player dropped once again was goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, although the Belgian was called upon to replace Brad Jones after the Australian picked up an injury in the first half.

Substitute Nikica Jelavic completed a remarkable fightback as Hull’s agonising wait for a Premier League victory came to an end in the 11th attempt at Sunderland.

Hull City finally broke their winless streak at the 11th time of asking with a 3-1win despite going behind early at Sunderland.

Adam Johnson — who scored the late derby winner at Newcastle last time out — netted in the first minute at the Stadium of Light, only for Gaston Ramirez to level just after the half-hour mark.

James Chester then gave the Tigers the lead on 51 minutes before Nikica Jelavic put the gloss on the win deep into stoppage time.

Bojan Krkic’s first-half penalty steered Stoke to a 1-0 win over Everton in a physical Boxing Day encounter at Goodison Park.

Bojan Krkic’s first-half penalty steered Stoke to a 1-0 win over Everton in a physical Boxing Day encounter at Goodison Park.

The visitors took the lead in the 38th minute of the contest when referee Lee Mason adjudged James McCarthy to have fouled Bojan and the Spanish forward slotted in the resulting spot kick.

Steven Naismith had a header cleared off the Potters’ line, Kevin Mirallas passed up a decent-looking chance to equalise and Leighton Baines’ drive was parried by Asmir Begovic, but Everton struggled overall to create much against a solid Stoke outfit.

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