Chelsea’s lead swells to 8 points at top of EPL

London, Jan 23 (IANS) Returning striker Diego Costa scored as Chelsea thumped Hull City 2-0 to extend their lead at the top of the English Premier League (EPL) to eight points at the Stamford Bridge here.

The Spanish international, who was dropped from Chelsea’s squad last week against Leicester City owing to a back injury, on Sunday fired home a cross from Victor Moses in the seventh minute of added time of the first half.

Gary Cahill’s header off a free-kick from substitute Cesc Fabregas in the 81st minute gave a 2-0 victory for Antonio Conte’s side which now has 55 points from 55 — eight points more than second-placed Arsenal, who won over Burnley.

In a weekend where five of the title contenders, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United lost, it was a crucial win for Chelsea.

“A lot of our opponents dropped points. It’s not easy to play the last game of the weekend and know the results of the other teams. In different aspects there was pressure on us. We had to exploit this weekend and it’s not easy,” Conte told his club’s website.

He also praised goal-scorer Costa, who reportedly had an disagreement with him during training before Leicester game.

“You must tell me if I did well to put Diego in the starting 11. I told you in the press conference (on Friday) I have to make the best decision for the team, and if he wasn’t ready to play, or my choice was bad, it’s my fault, not the player’s fault,” Conte said.

“He played a very good game with a good attitude. Now it’s important to rest because he used a lot of physical and mental energy.”

–IANS

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