London – Chelsea overcame a difficult start to beat Newcastle 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, moving two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after Manuel Pellegrini’s side were held to a 1-1 draw at Everton.
Oscar led Jose Mourinho’s team to victory yesterday, putting Chelsea ahead in the 43rd minute against the run of play after a quickly worked corner by Willian and Branislav Ivanovic.
Oscar then set up Diego Costa’s second-half goal by controlling Eden Hazard’s chipped pass and flicking it into the path of the onrushing Costa, all in one movement, before the striker slotted in his 15th goal of the season to make the game safe.
At Goodison Park, City took the lead through Fernandinho’s strike in the 74th, but Steven Naismith headed an equaliser for Everton four minutes later to end its slide of four straight defeats.
City introduced Sergio Aguero in the 67th for his first appearance since sustaining a knee injury in December, but the Argentina striker was unable to find a winning goal for the Premier League champions.
Earlier Saturday, Liverpool won 1-0 against 10-man Sunderland thanks to Lazar Markovic’s first-half strike.
Liverpool are only four points away from the top four, though 17 points behind Chelsea.
In the late game of the day, new Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew began with a 2-1 comeback victory against Tottenham.
Harry Kane continued his formidable scoring form when he put Mauricio Pochettino’s side ahead in the 49th. He received a low pass from Nacer Chadli, turned into space and drilled a low shot across Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni and into the far corner of the net.
But Pardew’s team equalised through Dwight Gayle’s penalty, after Joe Ledley was felled by a challenge from Benjamin Stambouli.
And substitute Wilfried Zaha then weaved beyond Tottenham defender Kyle Walker and teed up Jason Puncheon, who curled his shot low into the left corner of Hugo Lloris’ goal.
Elsewhere, Swansea fought back to earn a point at home to West Ham; West Bromwich Albion took all three points in their first Premier League game under new manager Tony Pulis with a 1-0 triumph against Hull.
Burnley consigned Queens Park Rangers to a record 10th straight league defeat away from home with a 2-1 win. QPR replaced Burnley in the bottom three of the league standings.
Last-place club Leicester, meanwhile, continued its resurgence with a 1-0 victory at home to Aston Villa.