Chelsea tightened their grip on the Premier League title race after a 3-1 win over Swansea, courtesy of goals from Fabregas, Pedro and Diego Costa, whilst the chasing pack could only shuffle places with Tottenham Hotspur winning 4-nil against Stoke City, courtesy of a Harry Kane hat-trick and Delli Alli goal, and Arsenal and Manchester City having no game due to postponements related to the EFL Cup Final.
Meanwhile, Liverpool play managerless Leicester City on Monday night, whilst Manchester United collected the League Cup, the first silverware of the season, with a 3-2 win over Southampton at Wembley.
Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the table to 10 points over Tottenham, both having played 26 matches, with Manchester City third with 52 points, Arsenal fourth with 50 points, Liverpool fifth with 49 points, and Manchester United sixth with 48 points. With Chelsea having 12 matches remaining, it appears unlikely that there are enough matches left for the chasing teams to close the gap, as it would require a major drop in Chelsea’s performances to date.
In the relegation battle, Bournemouth sank further in the contest due to their 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace gained a vital 1-nil victory over fellow battlers Middlesborough, Sunderland were beaten 2-nil at Everton, whilst Hull City drew at home to Burnley, meaning that Leicester City, following the sacking of manager Claudio Ranieri, dropped into the relegation zone, despite not playing until Monday night’s fixture at Liverpool, along with Hull City and Sunderland.
Meanwhile, in the EFL Cup Final, Manchester United took a two goal first half lead through a free kick from Zlatan Ibrahimovich and a Jesse Lingard strike, but were pegged back to level terms by goals either side of the half time break by Gabbiadini. However, despite not playing their best, United won the match with an 87th minute header from Ibrahimovich from a cross from Ander Herrera.
Chelsea restored their 10 point lead at the top of the Premier League courtesy of a fine individual goal from Eden Hazard in the 25th minute, and a close range finish from Diego Costa in the second half that underlined their overall superiority at West Ham’s London Stadium. West Ham scored a late consolation through Lanzini,but with 11 games now remaining games are running out for any other team to catch them.
Allan Jackson has been involved in soccer for more than 40 years as a player, referee, administrator and freelance writer.