Chelsea followed up their Capital One Cup victory with a hard-fought 1-0 win on their return to Barclays Premier League business at West Ham.
Jose Mourinho won a first trophy of his second spell as Blues boss with a 2-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday and Chelsea remain well placed to add a first Premier League title in five years.
The Hammers had one win in 17 against the Blues entering the contest but refused to be cowed by the leaders and deserved more, only for Eden Hazard’s first-half header to settle the contest, keeping Chelsea five points clear of second-placed Manchester City.
Mourinho spoke of short celebrations after the Wembley win and captain John Terry insisted they had been postponed until the end of the season, when he hoped there would be further cause to party.
Yet at times it appeared as though Chelsea’s defenders had a hangover as the pace of Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Stewart Downing found holes.
Terry was booked for pulling down Valencia in the first half and cautious thereafter, with Chelsea indebted to a number of fine saves from the restored Thibaut Courtois – namely from Cheikhou Kouyate and Sakho – as the Hammers pressed forwards.
David Silva and James Milner struck late in each half as under-fire reigning champions Manchester City grabbed a scrappy but much-needed 2-0 win over Leicester.
Silva pounced from close range to put City ahead after an unconvincing start at the Etihad Stadium and Milner came off the bench to settle nerves in the last minute. It was far from a fluent display from City but the result will at least take some of the heat off manager Manuel Pellegrini after a testing few days.
City ultimately deserved the win but the Foxes were denied three penalties – two appeals looking particularly strong – and defeat was harsh on the hard-working bottom side
England winger Ashley Young fired Manchester United to a last-minute victory at Newcastle to maintain their charge for a top-four finish.
The game looked to be heading for a draw when Magpies keeper Tim Krul could only stab a hurried clearance straight to the wing-back, who steered the ball past him to secure a precious 1-0 win.
Stand-in captain Jordan Henderson led from the front with his second goal in successive matches as Liverpool maintained their pursuit of a top-four place with a straightforward 2-0 victory over Burnley achieved with the minimum of fuss. Henderson, in possession of the armband in the absence of Steven Gerrard, back in training this week after a hamstring injury, slotted home just before the half-hour and Daniel Sturridge’s header just after the break sealed the result at Anfield.
Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez guided Arsenal to a routine 2-1 victory at toiling QPR, despite Charlie Austin striking back late on.
Tottenham got their top-four tilt back on track by overcoming Swansea 3-2 on a night when Bafetimbi Gomis’ collapse had those inside White Hart Lane fearing the worst.
As play was about to restart following Nacer Chadli’s wonderful, early opener, paramedics and medical staff raced onto the field to tend to the French striker after he went down.
Hush fell on the ground where Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest three years ago, but good news emanated from the Swansea dressing room that Gomis was fine and had not been hospitalised after fainting. Garry Monk’s side will have unlikely been aware of the positive news when Ki Sung-Yueng drew parity in a match which Spurs would go onto win, with second-half strikes from Ryan Mason and Andros Townsend securing the result after Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late strike.
The win was a fitting way to remember great Dave Mackay after he passed away on Monday.
Spurs greats led a minute of applause before kick-off and the current squad wore black armbands in remembrance of one of the finest players to ever don the lillywhite shirt.
Everton endured further league misery as goals from Victor Moses and Mame Biram Diouf condemned them to a 2-0 defeat at Stoke.