Chelsea went back to third place in the Premier League as they cruised to a 4-0 victory over Stoke in a physical encounter.
The visitors went ahead when Jonathan Walters put the ball into his own net with a diving header late on in the first half. Bad became worse for Walters when he scored another own goal with a second header beyond keeper Asmir Begovic. Frank Lampard added a third for Chelsea with a well taken penalty and Eden Hazard’s powerful shot increased the margin of victory.
Walters’ miserable afternoon was complete when he missed a penalty in the closing stages. Another bright spot for the Blues was John Terry returning as a substitute after two months out because of injury.
Southampton earned a crucial 1-0 win away at Aston Villa. The Saints had the better of the chances but when their goal came it was in controversial circumstances. A penalty was awarded for a foul when there appeared to be little contact and Rickie Lambert stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way as he struck the ball into the other corner.
Reading earned a dramatic 3-2 victory over West Brom. The Baggies were in firm control as Romelu Lukaku struck twice but the Royals scored three times in the final 10 minutes. Jimmy Kebe then Adam Le Fondre gave Reading a foothold in the game before Pavel Pogrebnyak’s winning goal in the last minute.
Sunderland impressed as they ran out 3-0 winners against West Ham. Sebastian Larsson opened the scoring in the first half with a fine strike from outside of the area. Just a couple of minutes after the interval Adam Johnson doubled the Black Cats’ advantage before James McLean sealed the win with a third.
Fulham drew 1-1 against Wigan at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers broke the deadlock when Giorgos Karagounis unleashed a powerful strike from outside the area which flew into the bottom corner. A stunning effort from Franco Di Santo earned the visitors a point.
Everton were frustrated at Goodison Park in the 0-0 stalemate against a well organised Swansea City side.