By ADAM TROXTELL
A decade after Jose Mourinho won his first trophy with Chelsea, history is repeating itself.
Now in his second stint with the club, the English League Cup is still the first prize for the Portuguese manager as Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-0 in the final at Wembley Stadium. While it lacked an element of flair, the Blues put in an efficient shift to win the first of three potential trophies this season.
The first half went by without many solid chances on goal, but Chelsea captain John Terry, who was there for the 2005 triumph, put the club on the path to victory just before halftime. A corner kick sent in by Willian bounced off of Eric Dier and fell at the top of the box to an unmarked Terry for an easy finish.
Tottenham attempted to control the tempo coming out of halftime, lest Chelsea should gain any more momentum. Spurs’ efforts were in vain, however, since they were unable to make a decisive pass out of midfield.
The inevitable occurred in the 56th minute when Cesc Fabregas found Diego Costa down the left. After rushing into the box, he sent a low shot that deflected off of Kyle Walker and past a bewildered Hugo Lloris in goal.
With a 2-0 lead, Chelsea settled back into a defensive shell that was nearly impossible to penetrate. It is the third League Cup trophy won by Mourinho at Chelsea.
Elsewhere in England, the Blues’ title charge remained intact as Liverpool beat Manchester City at Anfield. Lazio beat Sassuolo to maintain a challenge for European spots in Italy while Valencia did the same in La Liga play.
Here are more recaps from Sunday’s action across Europe’s top leagues:
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Manchester City was denied a chance to cut Chelsea’s lead at the top of the league, but at least it was done in style.
Two long-range strikes from Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho gave Liverpool a 2-1 win against the Citizens. The Reds jumped ahead of Southampton into fifth place with their fourth consecutive league win.
Vincent Kompany’s recent struggles continued before Liverpool took the lead. He lost the ball at midfield, allowing Coutinho and Raheem Sterling to lead an attack that eventually saw the ball land to Henderson about 20 yards from goal. His strike sailed into the upper right hand corner after just 11 minutes.
Man City’s response came through Edin Dzeko, who was there to send Sergio Aguero’s cross into the back of the net. It was the Citizens’ only shot on goal for the match while Liverpool had one more bullet in the gun.
Sterling again set it up, getting the ball to Coutinho before the Brazilian cut to his right and sent a shot inside the far post in the 75th minute. It capped an impressive second half for Liverpool as they put five shots on the Man City goal.
That win had Liverpool briefly level with Arsenal, that is until the Gunners beat Everton 2-0 at the Emirates to climb up to third place. It is the 11th loss of the season for the Toffees, who lost eight games in the whole of last season.
Olivier Giroud gave Arsenal the lead in the 38th minute when Mesut Ozil found him in the middle of the box. While Everton put three shots on goal, Arsenal never looked like losing and solidified their victory through Tomas Rosicky’s deflected strike in the 89th minute.
SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISION
A Pablo Piatti brace handed Valencia a valuable 2-0 win against Real Sociedad.
The Argentine winger scored in the 53rd and 56th minute as Valencia pulled seven points ahead of Sevilla in fourth place. While they shared possession with Real Sociedad, Los Che did much more with theirs to record 17 shots.
Valencia now has four straight wins in La Liga and six wins in its last seven games. It has helped them pull away from Sevilla, who had a goalless draw with third-place Atletico Madrid later in the day.
ITALIAN SERIE A
Inter Milan’s hot streak came to an abrupt end as Fiorentina took a 1-0 win away from the Giuseppe Meazza.
Former Chelsea striker Mohamed Salah scored his fourth goal for the Viola since joining them in January with a 56th minute strike. Inter’s Samir Handanovic was unable to make full contact with a corner kick and the ball fell to Salah to smash home.
Despite putting five shots on target, Inter was unable to get one past Neto in goal. The loss brings the Nerazzurri’s winning streak in the league to an end at three.
Fiorentina had to win to keep up with Lazio in fourth place after the Biancocelesti defeated Sassuolo 3-0. Felipe Anderson scored just before halftime, and Miroslav Klose and Marco Parolo added two more as the game fizzled out.
Elsewhere, Parma’s financial troubles are taking a further toll on the league schedule since its away match against Genoa had to be canceled. Players and staff have not been paid by Parma since the season began, and last weekend the club had to postpone a home game against Udinese.
Here are more results from Italy:
Cagliari 1, Hellas Verona 2
Atalanta 1, Sampdoria 2
Cesena 1, Udinese 0
Palermo 0, Empoli 0
Werder Bremen took the lead against Wolfsburg three times but was unable to hold on in the end.
Die Wolfe came away with a 5-3 win in the late Bundesliga game on Sunday. Bas Dost scored two goals three minutes apart to hand Wolfsburg its first lead in the second half, and the second-placed team in Germany never looked back.
Zlatko Junuzovic had Bremen ahead after just nine minutes, but Daniel Caligiuri equalized immediately afterward. Then it was Franco Di Santo’s turn to score in the 16th minute, only to see the Bremen lead disappear again two minutes later.
A Vieirinha own goal finally looked to send things Bremen’s way for good in the 28th minute. Then Dost got going just three minutes into the second half for his 10th and 11th goals of the season, and there was no going back from there. Caligiuri added his second in the 53rd minute to apply the dagger.
The result brings Bremen’s streak of seven games without a loss to an end. Wolfsburg has still not lost since Nov. 27 in all competitions.
The early match in Germany saw Borussia Monchengladbach climb to third with a 2-0 win against Paderborn. US international Fabian Johnson opened his 2015 Bundesliga scoring account with a deflected strike from just outside the box while Patrick Herrmann sealed the win late on.
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Nantes finally has its first league win of 2015.
The club climbed up to eighth place with a 1-0 win against Guingamp, who now has two league losses in a row after a lengthy winning streak of its own. Yacine Bammou handed Nantes the win with a goal in the 68th minute.
Elsewhere, Montpellier kept itself in the race for a Europa League spot with a 2-1 win against Nice. Eric Bautheac’s penalty was canceled out by strikes from Bryan Dabo and Lucas Barrios.