Football: Record-breaking Chelsea surge nine points clear

Sports Monday 26/December/2016 21:54 PM
By: Times News Service
Football: Record-breaking Chelsea surge nine points clear

London: Chelsea's grip on the Premier League title race tightened on Monday as they beat Bournemouth 3-0 for a club record 12th successive league win that took them nine points clear at the top.
Approaching the halfway point of the season Chelsea have 46 points to the 37 of Liverpool, who host Stoke City on Tuesday, and Arsenal, who needed a late Olivier Giroud goal to beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0.
Manchester City are on 36 points while Manchester United closed in on the leading pack, moving alongside Tottenham Hotspur on 33 points after a 3-1 home win over Sunderland.
With Diego Costa suspended Chelsea boss Antonio Conte opted to play without a recognised striker, with Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian attacking from midfield.
It proved an astute approach as Pedro showed a forward's nose for goal with a sumptuous chip to put Chelsea ahead after 24 minutes.
Hazard made it 2-0 with a penalty at the start of the second half after the in-form midfielder had been tripped and a deflected Pedro shot in stoppage time completed a great day for the Londoners.
Chelsea's 12th victory took the winning run past the 11 they managed in 2009 and left them within two of the top-flight record set by Arsenal in 2002.
The current Arsenal side unsurprisingly made all the running at home against West Brom but lacked spark for long spells.
Alexis Sanchez hit the post and West Brom's defenders made a series of desperate interventions until their resistance was broken by Giroud's header four minutes from time.
Manchester United were in command all day against Sunderland as former boss David Moyes returned to Old Trafford but the game remained tense until the latter stages as the hosts missed a series of chances.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up Daley Blind to fire in the opener in the 39th minute but inspired goalkeeping by Jordan Pickford prevented further damage until Ibrahimovic slotted the second in the last 10 minutes after a neat pass from the impressive Paul Pogba.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan completed a fifth straight win for United when he cleverly flicked in the third before Fabio Borini grabbed a last-minute consolation for Sunderland.
Champions Leicester continued to struggle as they were beaten 2-0 at home by Everton and it was another uncomfortable day for Bob Bradley as his Swansea side were crushed 4-1 at home by West Ham United.
Burnley edged further away from the danger zone with a 1-0 win over fellow-strugglers Middlesbrough and Sam Allardyce's first match as Crystal Palace manager ended in a 1-1 draw at Watford.