Chelsea halted a two-game winless run in the English Premier League by beating Wigan 4-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to be in third place ahead of London rival Tottenham. Eden Hazard made a goal-scoring comeback to help Chelsea ease the pressure on Rafael Benitez. Belgium midfielder Hazard was back in action after completing a three-game ban for kicking a ball-boy against Swansea last month.
Although the scoreline flattered Chelsea, its first win in five games in all competitions is all that will matter for Benitez.
Ramires opened the scoring and Chelsea appeared to be coasting to a comfortable victory when Hazard struck in the second-half.
But a quick riposte from Shaun Maloney ensured Chelsea was left with a nervy finish before Frank Lampard made sure when he moved within four goals of Bobby Tambling’s record haul of 202 for the club.
Substitute Marko Marin headed home in added time to add the gloss as Chelsea moved back above Tottenham into third place.
Brace by Bale
Gareth Bale scored both of Tottenham’s goals in a 2-1 victory over Newcastle to consolidate the fourth Champions League qualification place and stay a point behind Chelsea.
Arsenal is four points behind Tottenham after surviving Carl Jenkinson’s sending-off to win 1-0 at Sunderland courtesy of Santi Cazorla’s goal.
The results: Tottenham 2 (Bale 5, 78) bt Newcastle 1 (Gouffran 24).
Chelsea 4 (Ramires 23, Hazard 56, Lampard 86, Marin 90) bt Wigan 1 (Maloney 58); Norwich 0 drew with Fulham 0; Stoke 2 (Huth 67, Jerome 81) bt Reading 1 (Mariappa 83); Sunderland 0 lost to Arsenal 1 (Cazorla 35); Swansea 4 (Michu 8, 67, Rangel 18, Hernandez 50) bt QPR 1 (Zamora 48). — Agencies