By ADAM TROXTELL
There was no slip up for Jose Mourinho’s men in this time around.
Perhaps still smarting from a December defeat, Chelsea secured revenge over Newcastle in a 2-0 win that sees them climb two points ahead in the Premier League title race. Despite the hard work from Newcastle in the first half, a goal right before halftime set the tone for the rest of the game.
A short corner taken by Willian caught the visitors sleeping, and the cross to the back post found a wide open Oscar for the 1-0 lead. From there it always looked like a Chelsea win. Most of Newcastle’s five shots on target came in the first 45 minutes.
The Blues capitalized on 63 percent possession through Oscar once again. A neat flick by the Brazilian in the box sent the ball to Diego Costa, and the Spaniard completed the win with his 15th goal of the season. Newcastle have yet to register a win in three games under interim boss John Carver.
Here’s a recap of all the action from across Europe on Saturday:
LATE EVERTON EQUALIZER FORCES DRAW AGAINST MAN CITY
The return of Sergio Aguero looked to boost Manchester City ahead of what is often a tricky visit to Goodison Park.
The Argentine’s impact was minimal, however, in a 1-1 draw against Everton. Steven Naismith sailed in front of Joe Hart for the equalizer in the 78th minute to cancel out Fernandiho’s deflected goal.
It was perhaps vindication for Everton, who seemed to think Pablo Zabaleta had handled the ball in the build-up to the opening goal. In equaling Man City’s four shots on target — and with a Seamus Coleman volley that bounced off the cross bar — it was clear Everton were out to put their troubles behind them.
MARKOVIC LIFTS LIVERPOOL OVER SUNDERLAND
The Toffees are still on a run of six games without a win.
The other half of Liverpool is on the way up, however, with a 1-0 win at Sunderland in the early kickoff. Lazar Markovic scored nine minutes into the game for all three points, and it came after the Reds had a decent penalty appeal turned down when the Serbian was brought down by Wes Brown in the box.
Charlie Austin scored against his former club but it was Burnley who got the better of QPR 2-1 in a battle of relegation candidates. Elsewhere, Alan Pardew’s first league game with Crystal Palace ended in delight with a 2-1 comeback win at home against Tottenham Hotspur.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE RESULTS
Sunderland 0, Liverpool 1
Burnley 2, QPR 1
Chelsea 2, Newcastle 0
Everton 1, Man City 1
Leicester City 1, Aston Villa 0
Swansea City 1, West Ham 1
West Brom 1, Hull City 0
Crystal Palace 2, Tottenham 1
PSG FALLS IN LIGUE 1 TABLE ON BASTIA UPSET
In the first full weekend back from the winter break, PSG will probably want a mulligan.
The defending champions were upset 4-2 by 14th placed Bastia to open Saturday’s action. Lucas Moura and Adrien Rabiot had them up 2-0 after just 20 minutes, but the half-hour signaled the start of trouble.
Ryad Boudebouz converted a penalty before assisting on Fancois Modesto’s equalizer on the stroke of halftime. The second half was all Bastia, who ended up scoring on all but one of their shots on target. Julien Palmieri did the honors for goals three and four.
The loss leaves PSG three points away from league leaders Marseille and in fourth place after Saint Etienne grabbed a 2-1 win over Reims later in the day.
FRENCH LIGUE 1 RESULTS
Bastia 4, PSG 2
Reims 1, Saint Etienne 2
Nice 3, Lorient 1
Lille 1, Caen 0
Guingamp 2, Lens 0
Evian 1, Rennes 1
REAL MADRID ROUTS ESPANYOL
Real Madrid produced a stunning free kick goal in their 3-0 rout of Espanyol, but it didn’t come from the usual source.
Gareth Bale bent a left-footed free kick into the upper right-hand corner for Real’s second goal during their ninth win in 11 matches against Espanyol. James Rodriguez opened the scoring after just 12 minutes.
Nacho Fernandez arrived at the back post for Real’s third goal, which they scored down a man courtesy of a straight red card for Fabio Coentrao. It didn’t seem to bother them too much, though, as they still produced 17 shots.
SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISION RESULTS
Real Madrid 3, Espanyol 0
Malaga 1, Villareal 1
Celta de Vigo 1, Valencia 1
Eibar 2, Getafe 1
TWO DRAWS IN ITALIAN SERIE A ACTION
Both Saturday matches in Italy produced 1-1 draws, though the more entertaining one came between Torino and AC Milan.
Jeremy Menez had Milan up 1-0 in the first half through a penalty in just the third minute after he was fouled in the box by Kamil Glik. Torino were the more dominant force on the day, however, calling Diego Lopez into action to bail out the Milan defense.
Everything changed as the first half ended. Mattia De Sciglio was sent off for his second yellow card in the 45th minute, leaving Milan to defend a lead with 10-men.
It worked up until the 81st minute. Glik made up for his earlier foul when he headed in Bruno Peres’ corner for the equalizer that takes Torino up to 13th place. It will surely be considered points lost for AC Milan who are chasing a UEFA Champions League spot sitting in seventh.
Sassuolo’s Simone Zaza struck against Udinese in just the 15th minute only to see Cyril Thereau equalize in their 1-1 draw earlier in the day.