LONDON: Arsenal stepped up their renewed challenge for a top four place in the Premier League with a ruthless 5-0 demolition of struggling Aston Villa on Sunday.
Arsene Wenger's side moved above Tottenham into fifth place and within touching distance of fourth-placed Southampton in the race to qualify for the Champions League thanks to their biggest win of the season.
Olivier Giroud opened the scoring early in the first half at the Emirates Stadium and Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin struck after the interval to seal Arsenal's fifth successive win in all competitions.
After their impressive victory at champions Manchester City last month, this was more evidence that Arsenal, who were able to leave new Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista as an unused substitute, are finally hitting their stride after a spluttering first half of the season.
Mourinho imposes press blackout
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho kept his thoughts to himself after his side consolidated their position atop the Premier League with a 1-1 home draw against nearest rivals Manchester City.
Having cancelled his weekly press conference on Friday, he refused to speak on television either before or after Saturday's game, while in contravention of Premier League rules, reporters attending his post-match press conference were greeted by the sight of an empty blue chair.
Saturday's draw, in which City midfielder David Silva cancelled out Loic Remy's opener, left Chelsea five points above City, the defending champions, with 15 matches of the season remaining.
But although the Chilean admitted he was ‘not happy’ with a point, he declared that there was plenty of time for his side to engineer a repeat of their surge to the title last season.
"Of course it was important to try to close the gap," said Pellegrini. "We tried, but we couldn't. We still have 45 points more to play [for]. I said before the game also that this was a very important game, [but] it was not a final.”
Meanwhile in the other fixtures, Liverpool defeated West Ham 2-0 as injured striker Daniel Sturridge marked his return with a spectacular goal, while Manchester United overcame Leicester City 3-1 to record their 12th win of the season.
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