Alvaro Morata bagged a classy hat-trick as Chelsea made short work of beating Stoke 4-0 to keep up the pressure on the Premier League leaders on Saturday.
Pedro also scored for Antonio Conte’s side, who remained just three points off the top of the table with their title defence gathering steam.
They brushed aside an under-strength Potters side, who paid for some costly defensive errors as Morata scored early and then twice late on to take his season’s tally to seven goals in six games for club and country.
Having scored his first three goals for his new club with his head, the £60 million signing from Real Madrid netted all three goals with his feet in the Potteries and he might have added to his total from two late chances.
It was a chastening afternoon for Stoke, who went into the game with just one senior centre-back available in Bruno Martins Indi.
Chelsea led after just 81 seconds as Stoke’s makeshift back three were undone by a straightforward long pass.
It was played from the Chelsea defence by Cesar Azpilicueta and collected by Morata after a simple run between Glen Johnson and Bruno Martins Indi. He composed himself before beating Jack Butland low to his left.
The champions doubled their lead on the half-hour thanks in no small part to an error by Darren Fletcher. The former Manchester United man tried to chest down a high header from Erik Pieters but only succeeded in guiding it into the path of Pedro, who skipped away from Martins Indi and rifled a superb, right-footed shot past Butland for his first league goal of the season.
Stoke went close two minutes before the break when Joe Allen found space wide on the right and crossed for Mame Diouf, who sent an overhead kick just wide at the far post.
Spurs see off West Ham
Harry Kane struck twice as 10-man Tottenham Hotspur survived a late scare to maintain their perfect away record with a 3-2 victory at West Ham United on Saturday.
Kane’s double, taking his tally to six in four games, and a third from Christian Eriksen gave Mauricio Pochettino’s side a three-goal lead on the hour before Javier Hernandez started the Hammers fightback.
The home side were helped by the 70th-minute dismissal of Serge Aurier for a second yellow card and were given further hope when Cheikhou Kouyate headed home from Arthur Masuaku’s 87th-minute cross.
But Spurs held on to claim a third win in three away games, a record that eases the pressure over their continuing problems in their temporary home at Wembley, where they have yet to win in the league.
Tottenham manager Pochettino had taken a 49-strong group of players and club staff out for a mid-week meal at a London steak restaurant to strengthen the bond within the squad.
His side needed to draw on all of that team spirit to stand firm when it looked as though they might squander the chance to close the gap on the Premier League leaders.
West Ham may have been unable to match Tottenham’s progress in recent years, but they have had the edge over their London rivals on home turf. Twice in the last two seasons, a 1-0 home win for West Ham has brought an end to Spurs’ title challenge.
For the opening half hour at London Stadium it looked as though the home side would be capable of once again upsetting Pochettino’s men.
The warning signs, though, were there for West Ham in the 24th minute when Aurier was sent clear on the right by Moussa Sissoko. His low cross would have brought the opening goal had Kane not mistimed his forward run.
- Stoke 0 lost to Chelsea 4 (Morata 2, 77, 82, Pedro 30)
- West Ham United 2 (Hernandez 65, Kouyate 87) lost to Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Kane 34, 38, Eriksen 60)
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