Chelsea's Fernando Torres (2nd L) celebrates scoring a
penalty against Sunderland during their English Premier
League match in Sunderland. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis
Fernando Torres scored twice as third-placed Chelsea won
3-1 at Sunderland to record their first Premier League victory
under interim manager Rafael Benitez.
The often-criticised Spaniard struck twice in the first half,
his second from the penalty spot, and he almost completed a
hat-trick shortly after halftime when his ferocious shot
rebounded off the woodwork for compatriot Juan Mata to tap
Bottom club Queens Park Rangers set an unwanted Premier
League record when a 2-2 draw at Wigan Athletic meant they
have failed to win any of their first 16 matches.
Two Mikel Arteta penalties helped Arsenal to a 2-0 home win
over West Bromwich Albion, a first victory in four league
games moving the Gunners up to sixth.
Norwich City are unbeaten in 10 matches in all competitions
after a 4-3 victory at Swansea City although Michu's double
for the Swans after the break nearly helped the home side
make an unlikely escape having trailed 3-0 at halftime.
Southampton climbed out of the relegation zone above
Sunderland with a 1-0 defeat of second-bottom Reading while
Aston Villa and Stoke City produced a dull 0-0 draw.
Leaders Manchester United face champions Manchester City on
Sunday protecting a three-point advantage over their
Torres had gone two months without scoring a Premier League
goal but after scoring twice in his side's 6-1 thrashing of
Nordsjaelland in the Champions League in midweek El Nino
appears to be re-discovering some confidence in front of
"Torres was always around but we needed to create more
chances for him and he will score goals," Benitez, who can
land some early silverware when he takes his side to the
World Club Cup in Japan next week, told Sky Sports.
He struck in the 11th minute with a classy finish from Eden
Hazard's cross and doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime
when he sent Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet the wrong way
from the penalty spot.
Surprisingly it was the first penalty Torres had taken in
Mata was on hand to make it 3-0 in the 49th minute when he
converted a rebound after Torres let fly with his left foot
and the ball cannoned against the crossbar.
Sunderland, who are heading for a relegation battle,
responded with Adam Johnson's sweetly struck shot but Chelsea
stood firm in the face of some belated home pressure to move
to 29 points, seven behind leaders Manchester United.
QPR drew for a third match in a row since Harry Redknapp
replaced Mark Hughes as manager and remain rooted to the
bottom of the table having surpassed the 15-match winless
streak from the start of a Premier League season recorded by
Djibril Cisse had given the London side hope of a win when he
shot them ahead after 70 minutes but James McCarthy deprived
them of an unwanted place in the record books.
Arsenal were good value for their win against West Brom but
the main talking point was an apparent dive by Santi Cazorla
in the 26th minute which allowed Arteta to score from the
There was no question about the legitimacy of Arsenal's
second penalty in the 64th minute when Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken out in the area by Chris Brunt.
Swansea may have lost at home to Norwich in a thrilling
encounter in south Wales but Michu's stock is soaring after
he underlined his position as the Premier League's top scorer
with 12 since his move from Rayo Vallecano.
Goals from Steven Whittaker, Sebastien Bassong and Grant Holt
had given Norwich a 3-0 lead at halftime.