Benitez boosted by Chelsea win

Chelsea remain in third position after thrashing Wigan as Arsenal and Swansea also record wins in English Premier League

    Benitez boosted by Chelsea win
    Stamford Bridge erupts as Brazilian midfielder Ramires scores opener against Wigan [AFP]

    Chelsea eased the pressure on boss Rafael Benitez with a 4-1 win over Wigan, while England star Jack Wilshere suffered a worrying thigh injury in 10-man Arsenal's 1-0 victory at Sunderland on Saturday.

    Benitez admitted this week that he hasn't spoken to notoriously demanding Blues owner Roman Abramovich for three weeks, sparking suggestions the Spaniard could be in danger of losing his job after Chelsea's recent poor run.

    But the third placed Blues were too strong for struggling Wigan at Stamford Bridge and cruised to their first win in five matches in all competitions.

    Tottenham remain in fourth place after a 2-1 victory over Newcastle in the early kick-off in which Gareth Bale scored twice.

    Chelsea produced a sweeping move to open the scoring as Fernando Torres played a fine first-time pass towards Ramires and the Brazil midfielder fired home in the 23rd minute.

    Premier League Results 

    Saturday February 9

     Tottenham 2-1 Newcastle
     Chelsea 4-1 Wigan
     Norwich 0-0 Fulham 
     Stoke 2-1 Reading 
     Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal
     Swansea 4-1 QPR
     Southampton 3-1 Man City 

    Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard doubled Chelsea's lead with a cool finish from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross in the 56th minute.

    Wigan replied through Shaun Maloney two minutes later, but in-form England midfielder Frank Lampard and Marko Marin notched late goals to seal the hosts' victory.

    Manchester City's hopes of retaining the Premier League suffered another major blow as the champions crashed to a shock 3-1 defeat against Southampton. 

    Roberto Mancini's side desperately needed a victory at St Mary's to keep the pressure on leaders Manchester United, but instead they slumped to their third league defeat of the season after delivering a lacklustre display.

    Jason Puncheon and Steven Davis put Saints 2-0 ahead by the 22nd minute and, although Edin Dzeko got one back before the break, a Gareth Barry own goal early in the second half sealed City's fate.

    Man United can stretch their advantage at the top to 12 points with 12 games to play if they beat Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday

    There was less good news for Wilshere, who starred in England's midweek win over Brazil, as the Arsenal midfielder sustained an injury that forced him off early in the second half at the Stadium of Light.

    Arsene Wenger's team went ahead in the 35th minute when Theo Walcott set up Santi Cazorla and the Spanish midfielder fired home.

    Wilshere hobbled off following a strong challenge from Alfred N'Diaye and Arsenal were reduced to 10 men when right-back Carl Jenkinson was dismissed for a second booking after fouling Stephane Sessegnon in the 62nd minute.

    Wenger was furious with Sunderland's physical approach, but despite those setbacks Arsenal held on for their third win in four league matches and climbed above Everton into fifth place.

    Swans glide to win

    Reading's hopes of avoiding relegation suffered a setback with a 2-1 defeat at Stoke.

    Brian McDermott's team, two points above third bottom Aston Villa, fell behind when German defender Robert Huth headed in from Glenn Whelan's 67th minute corner.

    Cameron Jerome got the hosts' second in the 81st minute and Adrian Mariappa's 83rd minute reply wasn't enough to spark a Reading revival.

    Michu scored twice to leave QPR rooted to the bottom of the table after a 4-1 defeat at Swansea.

    The Spanish forward slotted in his 14th league goal of the season after Julio Cesar fumbled Nathan Dyer's cross in the eighth minute.

    Swansea doubled their lead 10 minutes later when Angel Rangel converted at the second attempt.

    Bobby Zamora gave QPR hope three minutes after half-time, but Pablo Hernandez struck two minutes later and Michu then netted his second to leave Harry Redknapp's side six points from safety.

    In the day's other 1500GMT fixture, Norwich shared a dour 0-0 draw with Fulham at Carrow Road.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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