London: Eden Hazard`s exquisite strike inspired Premier League leaders Chelsea to a 3-1 victory over Arsenal that shattered their rivals` title challenge, while spluttering Liverpool hit a new low in a 2-0 defeat at Hull on Saturday.
Belgian winger Hazard left a trail of defenders in his wake to double Chelsea`s lead in the 53rd minute at Stamford Bridge.
Marcos Alonso had opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a contentious effort as the Chelsea defender clattered into Arsenal`s Hector Bellerin before heading home.
Cesc Fabregas rubbed salt into Arsenal`s wounds in the 85th minute when the former Gunners midfielder chipped into the empty net after a woeful miskick from ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Olivier Giroud`s stoppage-time goal was no consolation for third placed Arsenal, who trail Chelsea by 12 points with 14 games remaining.
It was Chelsea`s 16th win in their last 18 league games, prompting Blues boss Antonio Conte to hail the triumph as a significant moment in the title race.
“I consider Arsenal one of the six teams that can fight for the title. To put them 12 points behind is very important for us,” Conte said.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger fumed over Alonso`s opener, saying: “It was 100 percent a foul. It was even dangerous play.
“That doesn`t take anything away from the performance of Chelsea. They look solid and we needed to be better.”
Second placed Tottenham can close the gap to nine points with a victory at home to Middlesbrough later on Saturday.
At the KCOM Stadium, Liverpool fell behind in the 44th minute when Alfred N`Diaye took advantage of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet`s poor handling to bag a debut goal.
Jurgen Klopp`s side were finished off in the 84th minute when on-loan Everton striker Oumar Niasse raced clear to boost third bottom Hull`s survival bid.
Liverpool have won only once in their last 10 games in all competitions and will be knocked out of the top four if Manchester City avoid defeat against Swansea on Sunday.Sunderland stunned their former boss Sam Allardyce with an incredible first half goal rush to demolish fellow strugglers Crystal Palace 4-0 at Selhurst Park.
David Moyes` side drew first blood when Lamine Kone, signed by Palace chief Allardyce when he was in charge at Sunderland, swept home after Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey dropped a 10th minute free-kick.
The Black Cats were two up in the 43rd minute through Didier Ndong`s first goal for the club.
Jermain Defoe put the result beyond doubt with two goals in first half stoppage-time as one furious Palace fan to run onto the pitch to confront defender Damien Delaney.
Sunderland remain bottom of the table but they are now level on points with Palace, who drop to 19th place, and just two points from safety.
Romelu Lukaku scored four times, including the joint fastest Premier League goal this season, in Everton`s 6-3 victory against Bournemouth.
Ronald Koeman`s side were ahead after just 30 seconds at Goodison Park as Belgian forward Lukaku started his goal spree.
It was the joint quick Premier League goal of the season, joining Pedro`s effort for Chelsea against Manchester United.
Everton doubled their advantage through James McCarthy in the 23rd minute and Lukaku notched his second six minutes later.
Bournemouth`s Josh King set up a tense finale as he netted in the 59th and 70th minutes.
Lukaku struck again in the 83rd and 84th minutes to cap his memorable afternoon before Harry Arter`s 90th minute reply and Ross Barkley`s sixth for Everton.
West Ham bounced back from their mauling against Manchester City with a 3-1 win at Southampton.
Thrashed 4-0 by City on Wednesday, Slaven Bilic`s team were behind again when Saints striker Manolo Gabbiadini scored on his debut in the 12th minute.
But Andy Carroll equalised two minutes later and Pedro Obiang put West Ham in the 44th minute before Mark Noble`s 52nd minute effort sealed the points.
Watford consigned 10-man Burnley to a seventh successive away league defeat with a 2-1 success at Vicarage Road.
The Clarets had Jeff Hendrick sent off in the sixth minute for a lunge on Jose Holebas and Watford went ahead through Troy Deeney in the 10th minute.
M`Baye Niang struck in first half stoppage-time and Ashley Barnes` 78th minute penalty came too late for Burnley.
West Bromwich Albion beat Stoke 1-0 thanks to James Morrison`s sixth minute goal.
Source: Zee News