Chelsea’s new signing Gonzalo Higuain scored his first two Premier League goals in Chelsea’s 5-0 thrashing of Huddersfield Town, while Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-Min struck late for a 1-0 win over Newcastle United as they moved into second place.On a day when most of the top teams did not play, Wolverhampton Wanderers won 3-1 at Everton, while at the bottom Fulham lost 2-0 at Crystal Palace, Burnley drew 1-1 with Southampton and Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford finished goalless.
In the day’s late game, Bobby Reid scored twice as Cardiff City beat Bournemouth 2-0 in a match that turned into a celebration of Bluebirds player Emiliano Sala, who is missing and presumed dead following a suspected plane crash.
The Cardiff players held up a T-shirt bearing the image of the 28-year-old Sala, who never played a game for the club, after Reid rifled home an early penalty to give the relegation-threatened hosts the lead in the fifth minute.
At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s new loan signing quickly displayed his potency. First Higuain made space in the area to fire home from a tight angle after 16 minutes and then produced a shot that deflected past the keeper in the 67th.
With Eden Hazard also scoring twice and David Luiz adding the fifth, Chelsea gave the prefect response to their 4-0 midweek drubbing at Bournemouth, which had piled pressure on coach Maurizio Sarri.
Hazard said: “I think he (Sarri) will be happy, because he was wanting a reaction from us and we gave him one.
“We try to work with each other, Higuain is a new player but he knows what the manager wants. He is a great striker and he can score a lot of goals. England is different than Italy and Spain but he has that ability.”
The win took Chelsea back to fourth place, three points above Arsenal, who visit third-placed Manchester City on Sunday, while Huddersfield stay stuck in the basement, six points off second-bottom Fulham. Leaders Liverpool visit West Ham on Monday.
Spurs are making a habit of scoring late winners with Son, who also got the equaliser against Watford in midweek, bagging their third in successive league games to take them above Manchester City by a point and within four of Liverpool.
Having wasted a series of chances, Tottenham finally scored in the 81st minute although Son owed a vote of thanks to Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka, who somehow allowed a hopeful shot from outside the area to creep under his body.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was delighted at the way they bounced back after two domestic cup exits but questioned why they are playing their next league game on Sunday week when their Champions League round of 16 first leg opponents Borussia Dortmund will play on Saturday.
“Twenty four hours can make a massive difference,” said the Argentine. “It is difficult to understand.”
Wolves’ win at Goodison Park equalled their highest tally of 11 victories in a Premier League season, dating back to the 2010-2011 campaign.
Ruben Neves, Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker scored the goals as Everton’s underwhelming campaign continued.
Wolves’ final goal triggered a bizarre episode when a cat ran on to the pitch, causing a hold-up for several minutes before it was eventually chaperoned out.
Palace’s new loan striker Michy Batshuayi made an instant impact off the bench late on, turning and shooting to set up their second goal for Jeffrey Schlupp as Fulham, who remain the only league side still to register an away win, succumbed.
Luka Milivojevic scored Palace’s first from the penalty spot.
At Turf Moor, Ashley Barnes took full advantage of Burnley’s first penalty in 68 games to equalise after Nathan Redmond’s earlier strike, while Brighton’s draw with Watford arrested their slide down the table.
Argentinian Sala, who had agreed to join Cardiff for a club-record fee of STG15 million (A$27 million) from French Ligue 1 club Nantes, was aboard a small plane that disappeared on January 21, and he and pilot David Ibbotson are believed to have died as it crashed into the sea.
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