LONDON: Chelsea overpowered West Ham United and Manchester City outclassed West Bromwich Albion as the Premier League title rivals signalled their intent at the start of a hectic holiday programme on Friday.
Goals from John Terry and Diego Costa helped leaders Chelsea to a dominant 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge before City overwhelmed West Brom 3-1 at snowy Hawthorns — Fernando, Yaya Tour and David Silva on target for the champions.
Wayne Rooney struck twice for chasing Manchester United in a 3-1 home win over Newcastle United while Southampton’s return to form was underlined by a 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace which lifted the Saints back into the top four.
Terry tapped in Chelsea’s opener after 31 minutes and Costa sealed the points for Jose Mourinho’s side, although the scoreline disguised a gulf in quality between the two sides who were separated by only three places in the table at kickoff.
West Ham ground out a 0-0 draw in the corresponding fixture last year when Mourinho accused them of playing 19th Century football but once Terry had scored they offered little.
Chelsea moved to 45 points from 18 games, three more than champions City and 10 ahead of United.
Tottenham Hotspur beat bottom club Leicester City 2-1 for a third successive league win — Harry Kane again on target for the London club who moved up to sixth, just ahead of Swansea City who beat Aston Villa 1-0.