LONDON: For all the mumblings and mutterings after the surprise Champions League upset against Basel in midweek, Chelsea went top of the Premier League after winning 2-0 against Fulham.
Oscar’s second-half strike and Jon Obi Mikel’s first goal in almost seven years ended a four-match winless streak, provided a first win in a month and extended manager Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten home league record to 63 matches with a first victory since the defeat of Aston Villa.
The 2-0 win means Fulham’s 34-year wait for victory at Stamford Bridge went on to the relief of Chelsea, who responded from defeats against Everton and Basle by moving top of the table.
Liverpool will be relieved to have Luis Suarez available again after the end of his suspension: they need more footballing ‘bite’ on the evidence of a 1-0 home defeat by Southampton in the Premier League.
Defender Dejan Lovren’s second-half header snatched a surprise 1-0 win for the Saints which condemned Brendan Rodgers’s men to their first Premier League defeat of term.
The Croat headed home Adam Lallana’s 54th minute corner despite Steven Gerrard’s desperate bid to stop the ball crossing the line.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men had goalkeeper Artur Boruc to thank for reaching the interval on level terms after he produced a fine save to deny both Gerrard – from a 22nd minute free-kick – and Victor Moses.
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet also impressed by keeping out a Lallana shot early in the second half but Saints kept pressing and looked more likely to add a second after Lovren’s opener.
Mignolet produced a superb one-handed save to deny Daniel Osvaldo, then made three stops in quick succession after Luke Shaw surged into the box.
Liverpool’s loss left neighbours Everton as the only unbeaten team in the top flight this season after Leighton Baines inspired a dramatic 3-2 win at 10-man West Ham.
Ravel Morrison put the Hammers ahead at the break with a deflected drive, but Baines equalised just after the hour by thundering a free-kick past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Mark Noble restored Hammers’ advantage from a penalty in the 76th minute after Kevin Nolan was tripped but turned from hero to villain seven minutes later when he was sent off for a fouling Ross Barkley just outside the box.
Baines thumped his second goal from the resulting set-piece and substitute Romelu Lukaku grabbed the winner two minutes later when he headed home a Kevin Mirallas cross.
Immutable law of the ex
Stephane Sessegnon needed only 20 minutes to heap more misery on his former club as West Bromwich scored a 3-0 win over Paolo Di Canio’s struggling Sunderland at The Hawthorns.
Having left the Black Cats under a cloud on transfer deadline day, Sessegnon bundled home a scrappy opener midway through the first half.
Liam Ridgewell fired Albion’s second on 76 minutes and the impressive Morgan Amalfitano completed the scoring in stoppage time.
Sone Aluko fired a late winner for Hull as the Tigers twice hit back from behind to beat Newcastle 3-2 in a thriller at St James’ Park. Loic Remy’s brace proved in vain for the Magpies as the Frenchman also missed a fine chance of an equaliser in stoppage time.
Remy opened the scoring from close range in the 10th minute before Robbie Brady drove the equaliser under Tim Krul just before the half-hour.
Remy put Newcastle back in front just before the break but Ahmed Elmohamady headed an equaliser three minutes into the second half.
Aluko won it for the visitors with a superb side-footed volley from the edge of the box in the 76th minute.
Villa clean sheet
Libor Kozak came off the bench to earn the three points for Aston Villa in a 1-0 win over Norwich at Carrow Road.
Villa’s hopes were hit by the withdrawal of Christian Benteke in the 27th minute with a hip injury but replacement Kozak needed only three minutes to make his mark as he swept home an assist from Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan had saved a seventh minute penalty from Robert Snodgrass after Ciaran Clark was penalised for a handball, and also denied Canaries debutant Gary Hooper by tipping his late header over the bar.