A late goal for Arsenal against Southampton meant that Chelsea and Manchester City were the big gainers in the mid-week Premier League action last night, with Hull City claiming a much-needed draw at Everton to halt their losing streak.  

Chelsea 3 Tottenham 0

Chelsea were convincing victors at home to Spurs, despite an indifferent performance for much of the first-half when the away side had chances to take the lead. The league leaders continued their unbeaten start to the season though and maintained their six-point advantage over closest rivals Manchester City, thanks to goals from Eden Hazard, Didier Drogba and substitute Loic Remy.

With top scorer Diego Costa unavailable through suspension after picking up five bookings already, 36-year old Drogba inspired his side to victory as he played in Hazard for the first and scored the second himself. Jose Mourinho believes that the Ivorian will have a role to play within the Stamford Bridge set up when his playing days are over, but for now he continues to defy the doubters and is a more than capable ‘deputy’ in Costa’s absence. A youthful looking Spurs’ side started well with two early chances for the enterprising Harry Kane, but he hit the bar and then dragged another shot wide of goal to let the Blues off the hook and they went on to capitalise afterwards.

Sunderland 1 Manchester City 4

Manchester City have been troubled by the Black Cats in recent seasons and went behind last night inside the first twenty minutes, when the powerful Connor Wickham held off defender Pablo Zabaleta before beating Joe Hart. That goal seemed to sting City into action, as they were behind for only two minutes before Argentinian hotshot Sergio Aguero brought them level with a fierce shot. Stevan Jovetic put them in front before half-time and Zabaleta made the points safe with a delightful chipped shot ten minutes into the second period. Aguero netted his second of the evening and 14th of this Premier League term to add to Manuel Pelligrini’s delight, as City ran out deserved winners and claimed a third straight league victory in doing so.

There was better news on City’s club captain, Vincent Kompany who missed the game with a hamstring strain, as it now seems likely that he will be fit enough to return for the key Champions League match next week against Roma.

Arsenal 1 Southampton 0

Ronald Koeman’s Saints came very close to earning a point at the Emirates, only for the Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez to continue his fine start to the season with a ninth league goal in the 89th minute. Southampton can count themselves a little unlucky in that they had been reduced to only ten men by then due to injury, but when Sanchez netted he was one of a number of red shirts queuing up in the centre of goal to score as the away team’s defence was finally stretched to breaking point. Southampton are in the middle of a run of tricky matches at present and after consecutive losses are now down to third in the table, whereas Arsenal are up to an improving 6th place.

The south coast club were indebted to goalkeeper Fraser Forster for a string of fine saves that kept his side level up to the final stages. After Danny Welbeck had wasted a good chance for the Londoners when clear on goal, the impressive Graziano Pelle volleyed over in response to illustrate that Southampton were not just making up the numbers. Arsenal provided the greater threat though and despite Forster’s heroics to keep out a succession of headers from Welbeck (twice) and Olivier Giroud, he could do nothing to prevent Sanchez at the death.

Everton 1 Hull City 1

Hull ended their depressing run of recent form with a spirited draw at Goodison Park to give manager Steve Bruce something to hold on to, but they still sit precariously one place above the relegation zone.

It had looked like another disappointing night for the Tigers when Belgian Romelu Lukaku scored on 34 minutes, after being set up by the ever dangerous Kevin Mirallas. Hull’s prospects seemed to improve after the introduction of substitute Sone Aluko and a twisting run from him (which confused Sylvian Distin in the Everton defence) just before the hour mark was rewarded with a goal past Tim Howard.

The home side looked for the winner and almost got one when Lukaku’s shot was blocked by Craig Dawson, but were fortunate in turn to not concede again themselves at the end, but a fairytale ending for the former Merseyside striker Nikica Jelavic was not to be as his header went narrowly wide of goal.

Toffees’ fans were clearly not best pleased at the result which leaves them only 11th in the league, showing their displeasure with the performance by booing the team off at the final whistle. Roberto Martinez attempted to divert the pressure from his players when interviewed afterwards, intimating that the result was down to the spoiling tactics of the opposition. Few neutrals would berate Bruce’s men for their approach though, given that they are in a dogfight at the wrong end of the table at present.
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