By ADAM TROXTELL
If Jose Mourinho’s comments that Chelsea are treated differently than other teams come with any anger, the team took it out on Swansea.
Oscar and Diego Costa each scored twice in a 5-0 rout of the Welsh team that takes Chelsea five points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League. The Blues have put together three straight shutout victories in the wake of that humbling by Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea wasted no time showing their intent against Swansea. Oscar latched onto a poor pass back toward goal by Gylfi Sigurdsson to go clean through and score in just the first minute.
Costa made it two in the 20th minute, finishing off a team move that included a decisive pass from Cesc Fabregas. He and Oscar would both double their personal tallies before halftime as Chelsea entered cruise control.
Without Wilfried Bony to hold up the ball and relieve pressure at the other end, Swansea wilted under a relentless Chelsea attack. Four minutes after coming on, Andre Schurrle added number five to complete the rout. It was one of 12 shots on target for the Blues.
Elsewhere, Manchester United got the same result with a much more subdued performance. The Red Devils bounced back from last week’s loss in a 2-0 win against QPR.
In Italy, AS Roma could only manage a draw against Palermo. Lyon remain top of Ligue 1 in France.
Here’s more from the action in Europe on Saturday.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
After an all too ordinary first half, Louis Van Gaal knew change was necessary.
In came Marouane Fellaini and out went Manchester United’s three-back system. It worked, as Fellaini scored the first goal in a 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers.
The Red Devils went on to dominate a much-improved second half, though substitute striker James Wilson’s stoppage time goal makes it seem more impressive than it actually was. If not for David De Gea’s acrobatic saves – including one on a Charlie Austin volley destined for the upper right corner – Man United could easily have been chasing a point when Van Gaal switched things up.
Their goal was the opener, however, when Wayne Rooney picked out Antonio Valencia down the right. He pulled it back for a wide open Fellaini who placed his strike into the roof of the net.
Radamel Falcao could have justified his inclusion in Man United’s starting lineup, but he couldn’t get a foot on Wilson’s pass across a wide-open net midway through the second half. The youngster turned finisher four minutes into extra time to keep Man United in fourth for the weekend.
They briefly displaced Southampton in third before two goals from Eljero Elia took the Saints 2-1 past Newcastle. Meanwhile, new Sunderland signing Jermain Defoe failed to score in his first start for the club that ended in a 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur.
Here are Saturday’s results from England:
Aston Villa 0, Liverpool 2
Burnley 2, Crystal Palace 3
Leicester City 0, Stoke City 1
QPR 0, Manchester United 2
Swansea City 0, Chelsea 5
Tottenham Hotspur 2, Sunderland 1
Newcastle 1, Southampton 2
ITALIAN SERIE A
Palermo had only lost one of their nine home league games entering Saturday, and AS Roma found out why.
The Rosanero counter-attacked their way to a 1-1 draw against Roma in the evening game. The visitors had to come back from a goal down to earn the point against a packed Palermo defense.
A poor back pass from Davide Astori put Roma down 1-0 in just the second minute. Paulo Dybala was played in one-on-one with Morgan De Sanctis and easily finished near post for his 10th goal of the season.
From there, Palermo knew they could play a conservative game and employed it effectively. Roma put just three of their nine total shots on goal, but they only needed one.
Just after halftime, Miralem Pjanic’s free kick was passed back across goal by Kevin Strootman. Mattia Destro tapped the ball in to put Roma within two points of first-placed Juventus.
Elsewhere, Inter Milan can count themselves fortunate that five shots on target for Emploi could not break a 0-0 draw.
SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISION
Valencia must have been wondering what else was needed to beat Almeria.
Despite dominating possession and restricting the opposition to just two shots on target, Valencia still needed a late Alvaro Negredo strike to seal a 3-2 win.
Almeria matched them blow for blow. Daniel Parejo’s opener for Valencia in the 11th minute was countered by Tomer Hemed’s equalizer two minutes later. Rodrigo’s strike was canceled out once again by Hemed, this time with a five minute gap.
So when substitute Negredo headed in Jose Gaya’s cross at the near post, some inside the Mestalla may have still been holding their breath. That decisive goal takes Valencia ahead of Atletico Madrid into third with both on 38 points.
Elsewhere, Denis Cheryshev’s strike and a converted penalty from Bruno gave Villareal a 2-0 win at home against Athletic Bilbao. Former Man United striker Manucho handed former Man United manager David Moyes a loss as Rayo Vallecano beat Real Sociedad 1-0, while a late Felipe Caicedo goal gave Espanyol a 1-0 win over Celta de Vigo.
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Two goals in five minutes will keep Olympique Lyonnais top of the table in France for another weekend.
Lyon beat Lens 2-0 in the early game on Saturday. An unfortunate own goal from Jean-Phillipe Gbamin was followed by Alexander Lacazete’s converted penalty in the 26th minute.
Lens fought back, putting four shots on the Lyon goal with the home crowd behind them. In the end, Lyon climbed four points clear of nearest challengers Marseille.
Caen got their first win in six games in a 4-1 rout of Reims, and American Alejandro Bedoya was subbed out with three minutes remaining in Nantes’ 1-0 loss to Monaco.
Here are Saturday’s results from France:
Lens 0, Lyon 2
Caen 4, Reims 1
Lorient 1, Lille 0
Metz 2, Montpellier 3
Monaco 1, Nantes 0
Toulouse 1, Bastia 1