Chelsea survive Adam missile, Arsenal blitz Liverpool
Chelsea weathered an extraordinary 65-yard goal by Charlie Adam to re-establish their seven-point lead at the Premier League summit with a 2-1 defeat of Stoke City on Saturday.
Arsenal had trimmed Chelsea’s lead to four points by blitzing Liverpool 4-1 and a twist appeared in store when Adam cancelled out Eden Hazard’s 39th-minute penalty in show-stopping fashion at Stamford Bridge.
A minute before half-time, the Scottish midfielder picked up a loose ball deep inside his own half and launched a raking shot with his left foot that Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois could only help into the net.
It was a goal that brought to mind David Beckham’s famous lob against Wimbledon in 1996 and Chelsea’s cause was further harmed when Diego Costa limped off with a hamstring injury 10 minutes after coming on at half-time.
But Loic Remy gave Chelsea victory in the 62nd minute, tapping home a pass from Hazard after Willian had intercepted Asmir Begovic’s throw, to leave Jose Mourinho’s side seven points clear with a game in hand.
Arsenal had earlier dealt Liverpool’s Champions League qualification hopes a massive blow with a stylish victory that lifted Arsene Wenger’s side to second place.
Arsenal scored three times in a dizzying eight-minute spell immediately prior to half-time at the Emirates Stadium, with Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil, from a direct free-kick, and Alexis Sanchez on target.
Jordan Henderson hit back with a 76th-minute penalty, but after Emre Can was sent off for two bookable offences, Olivier Giroud slammed home Arsenal’s fourth in stoppage time.
“It was a very great day,” said Arsenal manager Wenger. “It was an important game today. We had the chance to make a difference with Liverpool and we took the chance.”
Beaten 2-1 by Manchester United before the international break, Liverpool have now lost twice in succession and were left seven points below the top four after United beat Aston Villa 3-1.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admitted that it would be “very, very difficult” for his side — previously unbeaten in 13 games — to secure a place in the top four and return to the Champions League.