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

Chelsea 3 Tottenham 0

Chelseawere convincing victors at home to Spurs, despite an indifferent performancefor much of the first-half when the away side had chances to take the lead. Theleague leaders continued their unbeaten start to the season though andmaintained 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 throughsuspension after picking up five bookings already, 36-year old Drogba inspiredhis side to victory as he played in Hazard for the first and scored the secondhimself. Jose Mourinho believes that the Ivorian will have a role to play withinthe Stamford Bridge set up when his playing days are over, but for now hecontinues to defy the doubters and is a more than capable ‘deputy’ in Costa’sabsence. A youthful looking Spurs’ side started well with two early chances forthe enterprising Harry Kane, but he hit the bar and then dragged another shotwide of goal to let the Blues off the hook and they went on to capitaliseafterwards.

Sunderland 1 Manchester City 4

ManchesterCity have been troubled by the Black Cats in recent seasons and went behind lastnight inside the first twenty minutes, when the powerful Connor Wickham heldoff defender Pablo Zabaleta before beating Joe Hart. That goal seemed to stingCity into action, as they were behind for only two minutes before Argentinianhotshot Sergio Aguero brought them level with a fierce shot. Stevan Jovetic putthem in front before half-time and Zabaleta made the points safe with a delightfulchipped shot ten minutes into the second period.

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Aguero netted his second ofthe evening and 14th of this Premier League term to add to ManuelPelligrini’s delight, as City ran out deserved winners and claimed a thirdstraight league victory in doing so.

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

Arsenal 1 Southampton 0

RonaldKoeman’s Saints came very close to earning a point at the Emirates, only forthe Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez to continue his fine start to the season witha ninth league goal in the 89th minute.

Southampton can countthemselves a little unlucky in that they had been reduced to only ten men bythen due to injury, but when Sanchez netted he was one of a number of redshirts queuing up in the centre of goal to score as the away team’s defence wasfinally stretched to breaking point. Southampton are in the middle of a run oftricky matches at present and after consecutive losses are now down to third inthe table, whereas Arsenal are up to an improving 6th place.

Thesouth coast club were indebted to goalkeeper Fraser Forster for a string offine saves that kept his side level up to the final stages.

After Danny Welbeckhad wasted a good chance for the Londoners when clear on goal, the impressive GrazianoPelle volleyed over in response to illustrate that Southampton were not just makingup the numbers. Arsenal provided the greater threat though and despite Forster’sheroics to keep out a succession of headers from Welbeck (twice) and OlivierGiroud, he could do nothing to prevent Sanchez at the death.

Everton 1 Hull City 1

Hullended their depressing run of recent form with a spirited draw at Goodison Parkto give manager Steve Bruce something to hold on to, but they still sitprecariously one place above the relegation zone.

Ithad looked like another disappointing night for the Tigers when Belgian RomeluLukaku scored on 34 minutes, after being set up by the ever dangerous KevinMirallas. Hull’s prospects seemed to improve after the introduction ofsubstitute Sone Aluko and a twisting run from him (which confused Sylvian Distinin the Everton defence) just before the hour mark was rewarded with a goal pastTim Howard.

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

Toffees’ fans wereclearly not best pleased at the result which leaves them only 11th inthe league, showing their displeasure with the performance by booing the teamoff at the final whistle. Roberto Martinez attempted to divert the pressurefrom his players when interviewed afterwards, intimating that the result wasdown to the spoiling tactics of the opposition. Few neutrals would berate Bruce’smen for their approach though, given that they are in a dogfight at the wrongend of the table at present.
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