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PHOTOS: Chelsea hit Villa for eight, leaders United held

Last updated on: December 24, 2012 12:05 IST

PHOTOS: Chelsea hit Villa for eight, leaders United held

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Chelsea, playing with a swagger missing for much of the season, routed Aston Villa 8-0 on Sunday.

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres began the goal glut after three minutes at Stamford Bridge and David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic made it 3-0 at the break.


Image: Fernando Torres of Chelsea (right) celebrates with Victor Moses
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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'We had the balance we are looking for'

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"As a team we had the balance we are looking for," Benitez, whose arrival to replace the sacked Roberto Di Matteo last month was opposed by many Chelsea fans, told Sky Sports.


Image: Oscar of Chelsea shoots from the penalty spot
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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500th Premier League game for Lampard

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Frank Lampard marked his 500th Premier League game and first league start since October with a rasping fourth before Ramires (two), Oscar and Eden Hazard joined the fun as Chelsea, who also missed a penalty, secured a first home league win under interim manager Rafael Benitez to move up to third.

"I think we showed a great appetite. The early goal helped," said the 34-year-old, who became Chelsea's record top-flight league scorer with 130 goals


Image: Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Swansea ride their luck to hold leaders United

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Leaders Manchester United were held to a draw for the first time in the Premier League this season after Swansea City rode their luck at home in an entertaining clash that ended 1-1 on Sunday.

Defender Patrice Evra headed United ahead from a Robin van Persie corner on 16 minutes but the league's top scorer Michu netted his 13th goal of the campaign, moving the Spaniard one ahead of Van Persie, to level just before the half-hour.

United, who hit the woodwork twice in the second half through Van Persie and Michael Carrick, hold a four-point advantage over Manchester City heading into a busy holiday programme.


Image: Patrice Evra of Manchester United celebrates
Photographs: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

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'We absolutely battered them and we are very unlucky'

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"We absolutely battered them and we are very unlucky," United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports.

"It should have been a six point gap (over City) today and that is the disappointment."

Swansea welcomed back goalkeeper Michel Vorm after he missed 10 games with a groin injury and the Dutchman was soon called into action to beat away a Wayne Rooney drive before he quickly followed up to deny Ashley Young.

However, from the resulting corner Evra met Van Persie's delivery with a glancing header that eluded Leon Britton who was stationed on the goalline.

United have scored 10 goals from corners in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.

Their lead lasted 13 minutes with United's defence, welcoming back Serbian Nemanja Vidic for his first start since September, unable to stop Michu pouncing from close range.


Photographs: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

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Victory eluded Manchester United

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Wayne Routledge was the creator for the equaliser, his well-timed pass playing in Jonathan de Guzman and when David de Gea failed to hold his well-struck low shot, Michu was on hand to follow up.

United had the better of the second-half although the hosts, again displaying the attractive attacking verve that has won Michael Laudrup's side many admirers this season, were also a threat until tiring in the closing stages.

Van Persie's mishit volley struck the crossbar before Vorm came to Swansea's rescue when he tipped Carrick's glancing header on to the woodwork.

Young was then denied by a brave block as United pushed hard for a victory that was to elude them.


Photographs: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

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