Chelsea Beats Sunderland for Benitez’s First Premier League Win
Chelsea beat Sunderland 3-1 to give Rafael Benitez his first Premier League victory as Blues manager, while Queens Park Rangers remained winless.
Fernando Torres scored twice for Chelsea, which had two draws and a loss in the league since Benitez was named manager for the rest of the season after Roberto Di Matteo was fired Nov. 21.
QPR’s winless run to start the season extended to 16 games after a 2-2 draw at Wigan, while Arsenal beat West Brom 2-0, Southampton defeated Reading 1-0, Norwich held on for a 4-3 win at Swansea and Aston Villa and Stoke finished 0-0.
Juan Mata also scored as Chelsea ended a seven-match winless run in the league and consigned Sunderland into the three relegation places at the bottom of the standings.
“The team was focused; you could see the commitment was there,” Benitez told Sky Sports. “Little by little, we are adjusting to things.”
Torres opened the scoring in the 11th minute by volleying in Eden Hazard’s cross, and added a penalty kick in injury time after Sebastian Larsson fouled Ramires. Mata made it 3-0 early in the second half when he put in the rebound after Torres hit the post.
Adam Johnson got a consolation goal for Sunderland, which fell to 18th in the 20-team league, two points behind Wigan above it.
It was Benitez’s second straight win in all competitions after the Blues beat Nordsjaelland 6-1 in the Champions League three days ago.
Wigan’s James McCarthy scored his second goal of the game in the 74th minute to deny QPR its first victory. It came just three minutes after Djibril Cisse gave QPR a 2-1 lead.
McCarthy had given Wigan the lead in the 19th minute and Ryan Nelsen tied the score with a header seven minutes later. QPR has drawn three of the four games since manager Harry Redknapp replaced the fired Mark Hughes last month.
Mikel Arteta scored twice with penalty kicks to give Arsenal its first win in four league matches.
The goal came in the 26th minute after Santi Cazorla went down near Steven Reid, though television replays showed the Spaniard appeared to dive.
Arteta struck again from the spot in the second half after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken down by Chris Brunt. West Brom lost its third straight game to drop one spot to fifth place.
Jason Puncheon’s goal in the second half lifted Southampton past Reading and out of the relegation zone three spots up to 15th place.
Norwich held on to win at Swansea and extend its unbeaten league run to nine games. Steven Whittaker, Sebastien Bassong, Grant Holt and Robert Snodgrass scored as the Canaries won their first away match in the league.
Miguel Michu scored twice for Swansea, pushing his season total to a league-best 12 goals.
Stoke extended its unbeaten run to six matches with the goalless draw at Aston Villa. Potters defender Ryan Shotton was sent off in second-half stoppage time for a second yellow card.
Premier League leader Manchester United visits second-place Manchester City, Everton hosts Tottenham and Liverpool is at West Ham tomorrow, with Fulham home for Newcastle in two days.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.