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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Feb 8, 2014

Reds rout Arsenal, Blues top, City held

Liverpool produced one of the most stunning opening 20 minutes seen at Anfield -- and arguably one of the best ever -- to blow away Arsenal 5-1 and give their own title hopes a boost.

Liverpool celebrate their outstanding performance versus Arsenal.
Liverpool were in scintillating form against Arsenal.

Brendan Rodgers' side fired four goals before the visitors knew what had hit them, and they were incapable of finding a response.

The irony was that the league's leading striker Luis Suarez, whom Arsene Wenger tried so hard to sign in the summer with a cheeky 40,000,001 pound bid, did not get near any of them.

• Brewin: Three conclusions
• McNicholas: Damaged credibility

Suarez, who deserved a goal for a brilliant volley which beat goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny but not the post, could claim an assist for Raheem Sterling's first of two but Liverpool were well in control by then thanks to two from defender Martin Skrtel -- the first after just 52 seconds.

There was a sense of incredulity around Anfield when Daniel Sturridge caressed home the fourth with less than a quarter of the match played but for Arsenal it was more a feeling of bewilderment as an eight-game unbeaten run came to an end with Mikel Arteta's second-half penalty no consolation.

Chelsea moved to the top of the Premier League after Eden Hazard scored a hat trick in a comfortable 3-0 victory over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

The brilliance of Hazard secured an eighth league win in 10 for Jose Mourinho's men, who recorded back-to-back victories following their triumph over Manchester City on Monday. And now they are in first place following Arsenal's humiliating 5-1 loss to Liverpool earlier in the lunchtime kick-off.

Hazard gave Chelsea the lead after getting onto the end of Branislav Ivanovic's cutback from the edge of the penalty area to beat Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul from the far post.

He then collected his second goal of the game just seven minutes later. Hazard played a one-two with Samuel Eto'o, who found his teammate with a superb backheel, to enable Hazard to curl his effort into the far post.

And Hazard sealed his hat trick from the penalty spot after Eto'o was fouled.

Manchester City failed to capitalise on Arsenal's heavy loss at Liverpool and go top of the Premier League as they were held to a goalless draw by Norwich at Carrow Road.

Stevan Jovetic was unable to fire Man City to victory at Norwich.
City could not find a breakthrough at Norwich.

City would have moved to the summit of the league table on goal difference had they found a winning goal in Norfolk, but now sit third -- two points off new leaders Chelsea following their comfortable win over Newcastle.

In stark contrast to their 7-0 defeat at the Etihad earlier this season, Norwich impressed in an edgy first half as Nathan Redmond caused particular problems to City's defence.

Gary Hooper thought he had put the home side in front midway through the first half, but the striker was judged to have been offside before he tapped in from close range. Shortly after, Stevan Jovetic similarly had a goal chalked off as Alvaro Negredo strayed offside.

Negredo almost found the breakthrough with his head but, despite beating John Ruddy, his effort crashed against the woodwork as a tight first half drew to a close.

Russell Martin went close following good work from Hooper, before City's pressure looked set to take its toll with Edin Dzeko and Jesus Navas both going close.

However, Norwich weathered the storm and proved good value for a share of the spoils, although Ricky van Wolfswinkel was aggrieved in added time following an off-the-ball incident with Yaya Toure.

Garry Monk's audition for the Swansea manager's job got off to the perfect start with a handsome 3-0 victory over local rivals Cardiff in a frenetic south Wales derby.

Monk, installed as head coach following Michael Laudrup's dismissal, watched Wayne Routledge give his side the lead just after the break before Nathan Dyer and Wilfried Bony secured the bragging rights late on.

Kenwyne Jones missed two excellent first-half chances for Cardiff, while the superb Craig Bellamy rattled the crossbar. Cardiff have now lost four of the five league games Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken charge of and remain 19th, three points adrift of safety.

Tom Ince and Joe Ledley both scored on their Crystal Palace debuts to secure another vital three points in the battle against relegation as they beat West Brom 3-1, while the bottom rungs were shuffled dramatically once again by victories for Hull and West Ham.

Ince took just 15 minutes to open his Crystal Palace account against West Brom following a deadline day loan from Blackpool, clipping the ball over an onrushing Ben Foster after being sent through on goal by Yannick Bolasie. Ledley followed suit soon after, the former Celtic man -- being deployed at left-back by Tony Pulis, being set up by Ince on 27 minutes.

West Brom hit back through half-time substitute Thievy Bifouma just 48 seconds after his introduction, but the match was sealed midway through the second half as Foster was adjudged to have brought down Marouane Chamakh in the area, and the Palace striker converted from the penalty spot. Palace are now 13th in the Premier League table, three points above the relegation zone.

Pete the Eagle embraces Tom Ince after he scored on his debut for Crystal Palace against West Brom.
Tom Ince opened the scoring for Palace against West Brom.

At the Stadium of Light, Shane Long scored his second goal for Hull in three games since joining the club in January to help propel them to a 2-0 victory over Sunderland. Wes Brown was sent off for the second time this season after only three minutes as he hauled down Long when clean through on goal. It made for a long afternoon for Sunderland, who fell behind to Long's goal on 16 minutes and could not prevent Nikica Jelavic opening his account for Hull in the second half.

Two goals in the first three minutes of the second half by Kevin Nolan guided West Ham to a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park. The result moves Sam Allardyce's side out of the relegation zone and within two points of their hosts, who slip to 11th.

Peter Crouch scored his 22nd league goal for Stoke -- as many as he has scored for any other club -- as his side drew 2-2 at Southampton. The hosts led twice, first through Ricky Lambert on six minutes and then Steven Davis, but Peter Odemwingie and Crouch both notched equalisers in the first half.

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