2 Nov 2014

Chelsea stay top of Premier League

10:03 am on 2 November 2014

A second half penalty enabled Chelsea to preserve their four-point lead in English football's Premier League with a narrow 2-1 win at home to London rivals Queens Park Rangers.

Chelsea player tries to control the ball.

Chelsea player tries to control the ball. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Diego Costa returned for Chelsea after four games out with hamstring trouble and he watched his side take a 32nd-minute lead when Cesc Fabregas teed up Oscar to bend in an exquisite shot with the outside of his right foot.

Charlie Austin equalised for QPR just after the hour when he beat Thibaut Courtois with a clever back-heel from Leroy Fer's cross-shot to claim his third goal in two games.

But Eden Hazard gave Chelsea victory in the 75th minute when he calmly beat Rob Green from 12 yards after he had gone down under a challenge by Eduardo Vargas.

"My team didn't play well, or well enough, or so well as I was expecting," said Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

"We had periods of good football, not consistently. I was expecting more. I'm happy with the points. I think we deserved (to win), no doubt."

"But one thing is deserve and another thing is deserve and play very, very well, which we didn't."

"With our quality I would expect us to be stronger and to get a different result."

Hazard's goal enabled the Blues, who visit Maribor in the Champions League on Thurdsday, to preserve their four-point advantage over second-placed Southampton, who won 1-0 at Hull City.

Arsenal climbed into the Champions League places after Alexis Sanchez scored twice in a 3-0 success at home to winless bottom club Burnley.

The Gunners, who welcomed Theo Walcott back from a long-term knee injury, moved into fourth place at the expense of West Ham United, who came from two goals down to record a 2-2 draw at Stoke City.

Missing top scorer Diafra Sakho due to a shoulder injury, West Ham fell 2-0 behind through goals from Victor Moses and Mame Biram Diouf either side of half-time.

But Stewart Downing crossed for Enner Valencia to reduce the arrears on the hour and the Ecuador international returned the favour for Downing to drill home an equaliser with 17 minutes to play.

Earlier, Liverpool slumped to their fourth defeat of the season as Spanish substitute Ayoze Perez earned in-form Newcastle United a 1-0 victory at St James' Park.

Liverpool, for whom striker Mario Balotelli endured another frustrating afternoon, were beaten when Alberto Moreno failed to clear and Perez pounced to lash home in the 73rd minute.

It was Newcastle's fourth consecutive victory in all competitions, following their shock League Cup win over holders Manchester City in mid-week, and helped Alan Pardew's side climb to 11th place in the table.

Runners-up to City last season, Liverpool are now 12 points behind leaders Chelsea, who visit Anfield next weekend.

The weekend's headline fixture arrives tonight, when third-placed Manchester City, nine points behind Chelsea, and seeking a first win in four games, welcome derby rivals Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium.