London, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Mohamed Salah scored on his full debut as Chelsea returned to the top of the Premier League standings with a convincing 3-0 victory over Stoke City Saturday at Stamford Bridge.
Frank Lampard netted the rebound from his own saved penalty and Willian rifled home another score as Jose Mourinho’s wards took a one point lead over Liverpool and a two-point edge over Manchester City.
The win also preserved Chelsea’s unbeaten home record in the top flight this season. The result also extends Chelsea’s excellent record against Stoke on home soil, with the Potters losing on their last eight visits and failing to score in the last seven.
“I keep saying that we don’t depend only on ourselves and we never did. I was waiting to be top of the league and depending on ourselves but that never happened. We depend too much on other results,” said Mourinho, who last week downplayed his team’s title chances.
Salah made the breakthrough 31 minutes into the game, firing in an excellent first-time effort after good work down the left from Nemanja Matic.
Mourinho introduced Hazard from the bench and the Belgian immediately had an impact, playing a neat backheel into Salah inside the box, where the Egyptian was brought down by half-time substitute Andy Wilkinson for a Chelsea penalty in the 61st minute.
Lampard’s effort was initially saved by Stevan Begovic down to the goalkeeper’s right, but the England midfielder responded first to tap the loose ball into an empty net.
Willian stroked home a tremendous effort from the edge of the box with 18 minutes left to put the game away.
Meanwhile, Manchester City kept its title hopes very much alive with a 4-1 win over Southampton at Etihad Stadium.
In other matches, Crystal Palace blanked Cardiff City, 3-0; West Bromwich Albion beat Norwich City, 1-0; Manchester United crushed Newcastle United, 4-0; Fulham downed Aston Villa, 2-1; and Hull City defeated Swansea City, 1-0.