London - Fernando Torres claimed a brace as
Chelsea ended a run of seven Premier League games without victory by
prevailing 3-1 at Sunderland on Saturday in their last game before the
Club World Cup.
The Spaniard had not scored in the league since
October 6 but he found the net twice in the mid-week thrashing of FC
Nordsjaelland in the Champions League and was in unforgiving mood once
again at the Stadium of Light.
He opened his account in the 11th
minute, guiding Eden Hazard's cross into the top-left corner with a fine
volley to end a 770-minute goal drought in the league.
been overlooked for penalty-taking duties in the 6-1 win against
Nordsjaelland, but he notched his second goal from the spot on the
stroke of half-time after Sebastian Larsson slid in on Ramires.
Mata made it 3-0 early in the second half, side-footing home after a
Torres shot came back off the crossbar, before a fine effort from Adam
Johnson gave Sunderland a consolation.
It was a first win in four
Premier League games for Chelsea's interim manager Rafael Benitez, whose
side closed to within four points of second-place Manchester City.
host leaders Manchester United on Sunday, when Alex Ferguson's men will
be bidding to move six points clear at the top of the table.
also returned to winning ways after three games without victory,
beating West Bromwich Albion 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium through a pair
of Mikel Arteta penalties to climb to sixth.
Both penalties carried an air of controversy.
to Arteta's 26th-minute opener, Steven Reid was penalised for a foul on
Santi Cazorla despite failing to make any contact with the Spanish
midfielder, who collapsed theatrically.
Arteta's second arrived in
the 64th minute and although there was no doubt about Chris Brunt's
foul on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, West Brom felt the England winger had
committed an offence of his own in the build-up.
It was a third straight defeat for fifth-place West Brom, whose lead over Arsenal has been cut to two points.
club Queens Park Rangers remain without a win in 16 games -- a new
Premier League record -- after being held to a 2-2 draw at Wigan
QPR captain Ryan Nelsen cancelled out James McCarthy's
19th-minute opener for the hosts before substitute Djibril Cisse gave
the visitors the lead from Shaun Wright-Phillips' pass in the 71st
Harry Redknapp was less than 20 minutes away from a first
win as QPR manager, only for McCarthy to strike again in the 74th
minute, controlling Jean Beausejour's left-wing cross and then coolly
prodding the ball home.
Southampton clambered out of the
relegation zone and up to 15th place after a 61st-minute strike from
Jason Puncheon secured a 1-0 win at home to second-bottom Reading.
Saints' win saw Sunderland slip into the bottom three, while Aston
Villa fell one place to 16th after drawing 0-0 at home to Stoke City.
clash at Liberty Stadium between Swansea City and Norwich City was a
pulsating affair, the visitors winning 4-3 to end the Swans' six-game
unbeaten run and prolong their own run of games without defeat to nine
Goals from Steven Whittaker, Sebastien Bassong and Grant
Holt put Norwich 3-0 up at the break but Swansea came back into the game
through Michu and Jonathan De Guzman before Robert Snodgrass'
77th-minute free-kick made it 4-2.
Michu found the net again in
injury time - his 12th goal of the season - but it was too late to
prevent Norwich moving up to 11th.