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Rediff.com  » Sports » EPL PHOTOS: Moyes can smile as United sink Swansea; Chelsea on top

EPL PHOTOS: Moyes can smile as United sink Swansea; Chelsea on top

January 12, 2014 12:49 IST

EPL PHOTOS: Moyes can smile as United sink Swansea

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Manchester United returned to winning ways after three straight defeats with a 2-0 Premier League home victory over Swansea City on Saturday, avenging last week's FA Cup loss to the Welsh club.

Without strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, United laboured before halftime but Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck scored early in the second period to calm any jitters and put a smile back on the face of manager David Moyes.

United remained in seventh place with 37 points from 21 games, nine points behind leaders Chelsea, but victory at least improved the mood at Old Trafford, even if the performance was not memorable.


Image: Wilfried Bony of Swansea City is challenged by Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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'In the end we got the result we deserved'

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"In the end we got the result we deserved," Moyes, who was charged with misconduct by the FA on Friday for comments he made about officials after Tuesday's League Cup semi-final, first leg defeat at Sunderland, told Sky Sports.

"At halftime I said we had to work a bit harder and make more chances and they (the players) went about their jobs very well."

Michael Laudrup's injury-hit Swansea dominated possession with their patient passing style but apart from a Jonjo Shelvey shot easily held by David de Gea they created few chances.

United also struggled, however, with the game looking eerily similar to last Sunday's FA Cup third round tie at Old Trafford that Swansea won 2-1 with a late Wilfried Bony goal.


Image: Manchester United Manager David Moyes is greeted by mascot Fred the Red
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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'Sometimes you need that bit of luck'

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There was to be no repeat on Saturday though as United, with teenager Adnan Januzaj switched from a central role to the wing at halftime, took the lead two minutes after the interval.

Valencia was on hand to tuck away a rebound after Shinji Kagawa's header was parried by Swansea keeper Gerhard Tremmel.

"Not many have dropped for us in the box lately and sometimes you need that bit of luck," Moyes said.

Welbeck glanced in Patrice Evra's shot on the hour to give United daylight and they should have added more goals late on.


Image: Luis Antonio Valencia of Manchester United celebrates scoring the opening goal
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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'All you can get is three points'

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If Moyes was a relieved man after another week of intense scrutiny he was not showing it, however.

Asked how big the victory was, the Scot simply said: "Same size as any other one. All you can get is three points."

United visit Chelsea next week when they hope to have Rooney available after a "warm weather" break to heal a groin problem.


Image: Luis Antonio Valencia of Manchester United scores
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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Hazard and Torres fire Chelsea top

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Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres applied the gloss to a workmanlike 2-0 victory at Hull City that lifted Chelsea ominously to the top of the Premier League on Saturday.

In true Jose Mourinho style, the Londoners first nullified the minimal threat posed by Hull, then cut through at will after the break when classy goals by Hazard and Torres earned the Blues a fourth consecutive league victory.

Mourinho's in-form side have 46 points, one more than second-placed Arsenal who visit Aston Villa on Monday and two ahead of Manchester City who travel to Newcastle United on Sunday.

"Do we like to be leaders? Yes, we like, but maybe tomorrow we are second and maybe Monday we are third," manager Mourinho told reporters.

"The important thing is we all know we are going in the right direction."


Image: Fernando Torres of Chelsea
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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Clean sheets

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It was about as stress-free a Saturday lunchtime as Chelsea could have wished for at Hull.

They easily coped with the home side's lacklustre attacks and when they attacked Hazard provided the spark.

The Belgian fired a low shot home following a jinking burst in the 56th minute and Spain striker Torres marked his 200th Premier League appearance with a clinical late strike.

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech also set a club record of 209 clean sheets, 150 of them in the league.

The Czech international was barely troubled as he edged in front of Stamford Bridge great Peter Bonetti, his only save of note coming from Jake Livermore's swerving effort before halftime.

Without scaling the heights Chelsea are beginning to hit top gear at just the right time, churning out wins and clean sheets just as they did in Mourinho's first stint in charge.

"Today we had the extra pressure of not losing the chance to be top even for a few hours," the manager said.

"I feel the team is improving step by step, all the players are stable and the young players are improving. You can feel the evolution in the team.

"We could do better because we lost some points that we shouldn't have but it could also be worse. Not a five out of 10, not a 10...seven, seven-and-a-half, eight, around there," Mourinho added when summing up their season.

After a dull start Hazard carved out Chelsea's first chance on the half hour, teeing up Oscar with a neat pull back but the Brazilian's point-blank shot was brilliantly turned over the crossbar by Allan McGregor.

McGregor also had to be on his toes to deal with a dipping shot from David Luiz before halftime as the visitors gradually asserted their superiority.

Hazard broke through, rifling a shot past McGregor after skipping away from Hull's defence.

One goal looked like being enough for the Londoners but Torres made sure of the points after 87 minutes when he raced clear to beat McGregor.


Image: Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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Defoe begins long goodbye from Spurs with typical goal

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Everton rose to fourth with 41 points courtesy of a 2-0 home win over Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur have 40 in fifth after beating Crystal Palace 2-0.

Gareth Barry's 50th league goal helped Everton to victory over Norwich at Goodison Park before Kevin Mirallas made it 2-0 with a free kick.

England striker Jermain Defoe reminded Tottenham fans what they will be missing when he joins Toronto on February 28, scoring the second goal against Palace after coming off the bench to replace Roberto Soldado.

Palace wasted the chance to go ahead in the first half when Jason Puncheon sliced a penalty high and wide.

With Sunderland winning 4-1 at Fulham and West Ham United sinking Cardiff City 2-0, Palace now prop up the table although only six points separate them from 10th-placed Hull.

New West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel watched his new club lose 1-0 at mid-table Southampton.

After conceding 11 goals without scoring in two crushing cup defeats and falling into the bottom three, West Ham produced a gutsy display to win at Cardiff despite having James Tomkins sent off and fellow defender Guy Demel taken to hospital.

Carlton Cole gave the Hammers the lead and Mark Noble scored in stoppage time after being set up by fit-again England striker Andy Carroll who was making his first appearance of the season.

Adam Johnson grabbed a hat-trick to lift Gus Poyet's Sunderland off the bottom.


Image: Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates his goal
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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