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    • #5901
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      Marcos Alonso, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas were all on target as Chelsea defeated Arsenal 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to move 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

      Alonso opened the scoring in the 13th minute and Hazard added an excellent second eight minutes into the second half before Fabregas made it three against his old club, with Olivier Giroud pulling one back for Arsenal, as the Blues took a major step towards the title.

      It was Arsenal who created the first chance of the game inside the second minute, with Alex Iwobi picking up the ball on the edge of the box and seeing his strike deflect just wide of the goal.

      Chelsea fashioned their first opportunity after 11 minutes when Pedro found Gary Cahill inside the area with a free kick, only for the centre-back to head his cross over the bar.

      The hosts, however, managed to break the deadlock two minutes later, with Alonso beating Hector Bellerin to a loose ball to head home the rebound after Diego Costa had first crashed his own header back off the crossbar.

      Chelsea, in control of the game at this point, nearly made it two soon after with Pedro playing in Costa, only for the striker to fire an effort into the side netting.

      The Blues kept up the pressure against the visitors and created another opportunity after 32 minute when Alonso found Pedro in the box, with the Spaniard then forcing Petr Cech into a save.

      Arsenal improved towards the end of the half and could well have equalised through Gabriel, but the unmarked defender saw his header tipped over by Thibaut Courtois after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had whipped in a cross.

      The Gunners then had another opportunity to draw level on the stroke of half-time as Mesut Ozil picked up the ball unmarked inside the box, but dawdled in possession before eventually striking a low hit at goal that Courtois was able to save.

      Chelsea did not have to wait long to double their lead after the restart, with Hazard finding the back of the net in style in the 53rd minute, driving from his own half towards goal, while shaking off Francis Coquelin in the process, before gliding into the box and slotting past Cech.

      Arsenal brought on Giroud and Danny Welbeck in an attempt to get back into the game but struggled to create anything clear-cut until the 77th minute when the latter planted a header on goal which Courtois did brilliantly to tip round the post.

      The Gunners came close again from the ensuing corner with Shkodran Mustafi arriving at the near post unmarked before failing to hit the target with a header.

      There was still time for a third late on for Chelsea, with Fabregas getting in on the act against his former side, sending the ball into an empty net from distance after intercepting a poor clearance from Cech.

      Giroud scored a consolation goal for Arsenal deep into stoppage time, heading in a Nacho Monreal cross, but it was too little, too late for the visitors.

      Credit: ESPN

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