LONDON: Diego Costa took his Premier goals tally for the season to 17 as Chelsea extended their lead to five points with a crushing 5-0 win at Swansea.
Costa and Oscar claimed two goals each in the first half to underline Swansea’s loss of Manchester City-bound Wilfried Bony.
Jose Mourinho’s men seized control after only 50 seconds on the clock when Oscar won the ball from Gylfi Sigurdsson and fired home from 25 yards. Sigurdsson almost atoned when he hit a post from long range but that was the closest Swansea came to a goal.
Costa made it 2-0 after 20 minutes and a blunder by Federico Fernandez gifted the Spain striker his second goal just after the half-hour. Oscar put the Blues four-up two minutes later.
Chelsea might have scored more. Willian hit the woodwork twice in the first half before substitute Andre Schurrle completing the scoring after the interval.
Louis Van Gaal had luck on his side as Manchester United returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers.
United keeper David De Gea made two fine early saves from Charlie Austin before Marouane Fellaini achieved the breakthrough in the 58th minute. James Wilson secured victory with his first goal of the season in stoppage time.
Eljero Elia scored both goals as Southampton won 2-1 at Newcastle. The Dutchman, on loan from Werder Bremen, scored his first goal for Saints with 14 minutes gone. He also claimed the winner after Yoan Gouffran’s 29th-minute equaliser.
Jermain Defoe’s return to his former club proved an unhappy one as Christian Eriksen’s late finish gave Tottenham a 2-1 win over Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
New signing Defoe was handed a start by Gus Poyet but it was the hosts who made the brightest start with Jan Vertonghen hitting a third-minute opener after a mistake by Santiago Vergini. Sebastian Larsson equalised with a brilliant free-kick on the half-hour and Sunderland could have grabbed a late lead when Danny Graham scuffed a shot straight at Hugo Lloris.
The Black Cats proved out of luck three minutes from time when Eriksen scored from close range. Later Vertonghen had an effort ruled out for offside.
Goals from Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert helped Liverpool continue their recent improvement with a 2-0 win at beleaguered Aston Villa. Borini opened the scoring with a 20th-minute volley and despite a second-half surge from Villa in which Christian Benteke and new boy Carles Gil came close, substitute Lambert wrapped up the points late on.
Dwight Gayle scored twice as Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace surged back from 2-0 down to beat Burnley 3-2 at a snowy Turf Moor. Goals from Ben Mee and Danny Ings set Burnley off to a flying start in the first 15 minutes before Gayle pulled one back in the 28th minute.
Jason Puncheon equalised three minutes into the second half and Gayle pounced three minutes from time.
A second half goal from Bojan Krkic earned Stoke a hard-fought 1-0 victory at bottom club Leicester. He made amends after team-mate Marko Arnautovic shot into the side netting minutes earlier.