Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Torres fires Chelsea to victory


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LONDON: Fernando Torres scored twice as third-placed Chelsea won 3-1 at Sunderland to record their first Premier League win under interim manager Rafael Benitez on Saturday.

The often-criticised Spaniard struck twice in the first half, his second from the penalty spot, and he almost completed a hat-trick shortly after halftime when his ferocious shot rebounded off the post for compatriot Juan Mata to tap home.

“It was a long time not to score in the Premier League. But I have scored a few this week, and I was very happy to see the team winning,” Torres said after the game.

“We are playing a bit different now, and we do not pass the ball as much as we did in the final third and we play a bit more direct. We are attacking more and creating more.

“Normally, it takes some time with a new manager but the last two results will give us more confidence.”

Bottom club Queens Park Rangers set an unwanted Premier League record when a 2-2 draw at Wigan Athletic meant they have failed to win any of their first 16 matches.

Two Mikel Arteta penalties helped Arsenal to a 2-0 home win over West Bromwich Albion, a first victory in four league games moving the Gunners up to sixth place.

The midfielder’s first spot-kick came after Steven Reid was controversially adjudged to have fouled Santi Cazorla.

The visitors thought they should have had a penalty for a Per Mertesacker handball but they struggled to create any real chances.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was fouled by Chris Brunt for Arteta’s second and a first Arsenal win in four league games.

Arsenal were watched by former striker Thierry Henry amid talk he could return to the club on a temporary basis from MLS club New York Red Bulls, but he will have seen a side a shadow of the title-winning ones he spearheaded.

Asked about the first penalty, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said, “”No I haven’t reviewed it. I am sorry if it was not a penalty but I have spoken to Santi and he said he has been touched and lost his balance. Maybe he made more of it, I don’t know. It’s a difficult decision, it can go against you, it went for us today. That’s what it is.

“What I mean is, when he [a player] is touched, he goes down, the referee can give or not give the penalty. Of course I will speak to Santi if he has not been touched. I will look at it, don’t worry.”

Norwich City are unbeaten in 10 matches in all competitions after a 4-3 victory at Swansea City.

Southampton climbed out of the relegation zone above Sunderland with a 1-0 defeat of second-bottom Reading while Aston Villa and Stoke City produced a dull 0-0 draw.

Leaders Manchester United face champions Manchester City on Sunday protecting a three-point advantage over their neighbours.

Chelsea are in third place with Tottenham fourth and West Brom fifth. Below Arsenal are Everton, Swansea, Stoke and West Ham. (Reuters)


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