Premier League review

Arsenal cruise, Chelsea late show

February 22, 2014
By ESPN staff



Arsenal took out their Champions League frustrations on Sunderland as Olivier Giroud put aside his recent off-field problems by scoring twice in a 4-1 victory at the Emirates.

Olivier Giroud
EmpicsGiroud struck twice for Arsenal against Sunderland.



After suffering a 2-0 first leg loss to Bayern Munich on Wednesday night having played the majority of the match with 10 men, Arsenal returned to winning ways with a dominant win to close the gap to league-leaders Chelsea to one point.

Giroud has been left out of the starting line-up for the past two games and he took five minutes to get on the scoresheet on his comeback following a neat finish from Jack Wilshere's pass.

The France international then pounced on Santiago Vergini's terrible back pass to grab his second goal after the half-hour mark as Sunderland could hardly get into the match.

With Arsenal in complete control, the third strike of the day rivalled their fine team goal that Wilshere scored against Norwich at the beginning of the season, with Tomas Rosicky scoring after some superb one-touch passing on the edge of the Sunderland box. Rosicky dinked the ball over Vito Mannone from Giroud's backheel flick to end a move he began.

Laurent Koscielny then got in on the act as he made it four after he was unmarked from a corner. Emanuele Giaccherini scored a consolation for Sunderland nine minutes from time with an effort from outside the box.

Yaya Toure ensured Manchester City put their midweek Champions League defeat to Barcelona behind them with his second-half strike earning a 1-0 win over Stoke.

Yaya Toure
EmpicsYaya Toure's goal was the difference for City versus Stoke.

Toure pounced with 20 minutes remaining at the Etihad Stadium, converting Aleksandar Kolarov's low cross from eight yards out.

Moments later Edin Dzeko spurned a glorious chance to double City's lead, missing an open goal from two yards out with the ball bouncing off his standing foot. The striker then kicked the goalpost in frustration.

The result leaves City in third, three points off Premier League leaders Chelsea with a game in hand.

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Returning captain John Terry bundled in a stoppage-time goal as Chelsea beat Everton 1-0 to consolidate their lead at the top of the Premier League.

It appeared two points would be dropped by Jose Mourinho's men as an entertaining contest remained goalless until Phil Jagielka was adjudged to have fouled Ramires in the left channel. Frank Lampard's inswinging free-kick was glanced down by Branislav Ivanovic and Terry slid in to score past Tim Howard.

It was a timely intervention from Terry, who returned following a three-game absence with a gluteal muscle problem. Chelsea had won once in his absence, but they now travel to Galatasaray for the Champions League last-16 first leg with Didier Drogba's side on Wednesday after a morale-boosting victory.

Manchester United went sixth with a 2-0 win Crystal Palace thanks to goals from Robin van Persie and a fine strike from Wayne Rooney.

The England forward signed a fresh £300,000-a-week deal on Friday and, after being on the periphery for much of the game, thrashed in United's second. Rooney had not scored since another sweetly-hit strike in the 3-2 comeback victory over Hull on Boxing Day but he pounced six minutes after a Robin van Persie penalty, following a foul on Patrice Evra.

Manager David Moyes yet again saw his side labour in an attempt to create chances, with the attacking quartet of Van Persie, Rooney, Juan Mata and Adnan Janujaz not yielding the expected results, but they clicked in the second half to secure the points.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's hopes of steering Cardiff to Premier League safety suffered a brutal blow as a home 4-0 thrashing from Hull left them rooted in the relegation zone.

Nikica Jelavic
EmpicsJelavic helped himself to a brace against Cardiff.

The manager had started to believe that his players were starting to feel comfortable at the Cardiff City Stadium but a 4-0 reverse left any new-found confidence it tatters.

Cardiff looked rudderless and showed no sign of the fillip Solskjaer had given the club when he took charge last month.

Tom Huddlestone opened the scoring for Hull before Nikica Jelavic grabbed two goals to effectively end the contest before Jake Livermore completed the humiliation.

Cardiff were booed off by their own fans at half-time and would have finished the day bottom of the table but for West Brom's late equaliser against Fulham.

New Fulham manager Felix Magath looked to have got his much-talked about reign off to a flying start thanks to Ashkan Dejagah's 28th minute strike at The Hawthorns.

But his team were left propping up the table when Matej Vydra put the ball into the bottom corner of the goal with four minutes to play to secure a 1-1 draw.

Such tension at the bottom of the table must seem like a distant memory for West Ham now after they beat Southampton 3-1 at Upton Park.

Sam Allardyce's in-form side West Ham earned their fourth consecutive league victory and they sit relatively comfortably in mid-table but they had to come from behind to gain another three points.

Maya Yoshida headed Southampton in front early on when he converted Steve Davis' free-kick but Matt Jarvis equalised with a tap in the 20th minute.

Three minutes later Carlton Cole fired home on the volley -- his 50th career Premier League goal -- for 2-1 before Rickie Lambert hit the post for Southampton.

Kevin Nolan made the game safe with a volley from close range in the 71st minute and can take a lot of credit for inspiring West Ham's push towards safety.

His latest goal was his sixth in his last seven Premier League games, during which he has also provided three assists.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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