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English Premier League

Pedro gem moves clinical Chelsea closer to title

Spaniard’s sublime strike breaks Everton’s resistance as the Blues romp to a 3-0 victory in the English Premier League

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 April, 2017, 11:33pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 April, 2017, 11:37pm

Pedro’s sublime strike fired Chelsea a step closer to the Premier League title as the ruthless leaders swept to a 3-0 win at Everton on Sunday.

Antonio Conte’s side had to work hard to break down Everton’s stubborn resistence, but Pedro’s majestic second-half goal put Chelsea on course for a fourth win in their last five league games.

Late goals from Gary Cahill and Willian wrapped up the victory as the Blues opened up a seven-point lead at the top, with second-placed Tottenham to play Arsenal in the north London derby later on Sunday night.

Chelsea’s steely display ensured the destiny of the title remains in their hands with four matches left against Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion, Watford and Sunderland.

The Blues are on 81 points after 34 matches. Third-placed Liverpool are on 66, as is Manchester City, who drew 2-2 with Middlesbrough away.

“We get a result, it feels massive, then they [Tottenham] respond. It’s been like that every week. You can see from the celebrations, this was like a cup final for us, one of our hardest with the form Everton have been in at home. To win 3-0 is fantastic,” captain Cahill told Sky TV.

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“It was convincing but we had to work hard for it. Pedro’s goal was special, at times you need a bit of class to open up a team, that’s what he did today. I’m buzzing with that, it’s a huge result for us.

After defeats against Manchester United and Crystal Palace raised questions about their ability to get over the finish line, Chelsea have been revitalised by their FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham.

They beat Southampton in midweek to re-establish control of the title race and ending Everton’s eight-match winning streak at home was another significant step towards the title.

At Old Trafford, Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free kick dented Manchester United’s Champions League hopes as Swansea drew 1-1 to enhance their Premier League survival bid. It was a deflating way for fifth-placed United to set a club record unbeaten streak: 25 matches dating back to October 23.

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Marcus Rashford won a penalty just before half-time and Wayne Rooney converted but Sigurdsson bent the ball home in the 79th minute.

“We didn’t look exhausted. We are exhausted,” United manager Jose Mourinho said. “If some people want to analyse the performance, do it in context.

“Nine matches in April, with a squad of 22. We are very tired so I don’t take the performance out of context.”

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press