Torres brace boosts Chelsea to victory

Rafael Benitez gets his first win in the Premier League and there are victories for Arsenal, Norwich and Southampton.

Back to his old self? Torres scored two goals including his first penalty in the Premier League [EPA]
Back to his old self? Torres scored two goals including his first penalty in the Premier League [EPA]

Chelsea won their first match in eight Premier League games on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland.

It was a win Chelsea fans can take a lot out of with new boss Rafael Benitez claiming his first league win and a Fernando Torres double suggesting he is back to his old goal-scoring self. Torres has now scored four goals this week after two against Nordsjaelland on Wednesday. 

The Spain striker volleyed the ball into the net with the studs of his boot in the 11th minute and converted a penalty in the 45th, his first in English football. 

He was unlucky not to get a hat-trick after hitting the goal-frame in the 48th, but the rebound fell to the ever-impressive Juan Mata to make it 3-0. 

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson scored a consolation goal in the 66th.

Premier League
Results and Fixtures

Saturday December 8

 Arsenal 2-0 West Brom
 Aston Villa 0-0 Stoke
 Southampton 1-0 Reading
 Sunderland 1-3 Chelsea
 Swansea 3-4 Norwich
 Wigan 2-2 QPR 

Sunday December 9

 Man City v Man Utd
 Everton v Tottenham 
 West Ham v Liverpool

Chelsea remain third, seven points behind leaders Manchester United but having played a game more. Sunderland dropped into the relegation zone, two points from safety. 

Mikel Arteta halted Arsenal’s three-game winless run in the Premier League by scoring two penalties in a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich.

Arteta’s first goal in the 26th minute came after Santi Cazorla went down lightly under Steven Reid’s challenge.

But there was no disputing Arsenal’s second penalty when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought down by Chris Brunt in the 64th. 

After rising to third place following four straight wins, West Brom have now lost three in a row to drop to fifth.

A second victory in seven matches for the Gunners lifted them provisionally up four places to sixth, two points behind West Brom.

An alarming decline has engulfed Emirates Stadium in negativity in recent months – a position acknowledged by captain Thomas Vermaelen in the matchday program as he urged fans to ‘stick together.’

But after enduring their worst start to a league campaign since Arsene Wenger arrived 16 years ago, the Gunners will take comfort from beating a side above them.

Goals galore 

There was a remarkable match at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium which saw Norwich go three goals up in the first half. 

Steven Whittaker, Sebastien Bassong and captain Grant Holt all got on the scoresheet to give the Canaries an enviable lead.

However, Michael Laudrup’s team talk must have been good because his team came out fired up and pulled two goals back through Michu and Jonathan de Guzman. But Norwich weren’t through with scoring and Robert Snodgrass put away his team’s fourth with a left-footed free-kick.  

Swansea refused to give up narrowing the gap once more with a late Michu goal. 

It was Swansea’s first Premier League defeat in seven matches while Norwich extended their unbeaten run to nine.  

Southampton jumped out of the relegation zone after a second half Jason Puncheon goal gave them a 1-0 victory over Reading. 

Reading are second from bottom and six points from safety. The Saints dominated the match with Reading struggling to make any sort of impact on the game. 

Midfielder James McCarthy scored twice as Wigan held QPR to a 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium, extending the London club’s winless run to open the season to a Premier League record 16 games.

The home side opened the scoring in the 19th minute after a poor clearance from a corner reached McCarthy, whose well-struck volley took a deflection before beating goalkeeper Rob Green.

Defender Ryan Nelsen equalised for the visitors in the 26th when he headed in Adel Taarabt’s corner, and QPR took the lead when Djibril Cisse turned in a cross by Shaun Wright-Phillips in the 71st.

But the lead lasted just three minutes with McCarthy equalising from inside the penalty area.

QPR remain bottom of the table with seven points, eight behind Wigan in 17th.

In the other Premier League fixture, Aston Villa and Stoke played out a 0-0 draw. It was a drab match which saw Stoke defender Ryan Shotton sent off in injury-time for a second yellow. 

Villa remain two points clear of the relegation zone while Stoke are in a comfortable ninth. 

The big game of Sunday sees leaders Manchester United travel across town to play reigning champions Manchester City. The teams are separated by just three points and United will be looking to avenge the 6-1 defeat by City at Old Trafford last season. 

Source : News Agencies

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