London, Jul 4 (efe-epa).- Chelsea rebounded Saturday from their embarassing loss to West Ham United, dominating Watford 3-0 to reclaim fourth place in the Premier League after being briefly overtaken by Manchester United in the duel for the final Champions League slot.
Coach Frank Lampard’s public happiness with the poor defensive performance against the Hammers clearly made an impression on his men, who limited the Hornets to three shots on target.
Olivier Giroud put the Blues on the scoreboard in the 28th minute with an assist from Ross Barkley.
Willian made it 2-0 for the hosts 15 minutes later, converting from the spot after Christian Pulisic was fouled in the box. It was the Brazilian’s fourth goal since the Premier League season resumed after being sidelined for 100 days by the coronavirus pandemic.
Barkley followed up on his assist by scoring in second-half stoppage time, breaking a 20-month goal drought in the Premier League.
The only dark cloud for Chelsea was the injury that forced N’Golo Kante to leave the pitch in the 78th minute.
With 57 points from 33 matches, the Blues trail third-place Leicester City by a point and are 2 points up on Man United.
Watford remain 17th with 28 points, just one more than Aston Villa, who have a game in hand.
Saturday’s other action saw Arsenal continue their positive trajectory with a 2-0 away win against Wolverhampton.
Bukayo Saka put the Gunners ahead with a goal in the 43rd minute and Alexandre Lacazette scored with four minutes left in regulation to close the door on a Wolves comeback.
The London club are seventh with 49 points, 3 less than sixth-place Wolverhampton, positioning Arsenal to make a run for the Europa League spots in former captain Mikel Arteta’s first season as coach.
The hosts began the contest undefeated in their last eight matches and having not conceded a goal in the Premier League since before the season was suspended in March.
Wolves’ best chance of the afternoon fell to Adama Traore, whose strike skipped over the cross-bar.
The team just above Wolves in the table, Manchester United, stretched their streak of consecutive matches without a loss in all competitions to 16 on Saturday, punishing Bournemouth 5-2 at Old Trafford.
Fighting to stay up, the 19th-place Cherries took the lead in the 16th minute on a goal from a seemingly impossible angle by Junior Stanislaus.
United pulled level in the 29th minute courtesy of budding star Mason Greenwood, who would end the contest with a brace, and took the lead six minutes later when Marcus Rashford converted from the spot.
The hosts went to the dressing room up 3-1 after Anthony Martial scored in first-half stoppage time, but Joshua King’s successful penalty kick in the 49th minute following a hand ball by Eric Bailly brought Bournemouth to within a goal.
Greenwood snuffed out the Cherries’ hopes of a comeback when he scored his second of the game in the 54th minute and Bruno Fernandes added a fifth goal for United just before the hour mark.
With 55 points, United moved into fourth place, the final Champions League berth, albeit just for a few hours.
Bournemouth remained second-to-last on 27 points.