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West Ham stun Chelsea; Arsenal win 3rd in a row

London, Jul 1 (efe-epa).- Beleaguered West Ham United put 3 points between themselves and the Premier League drop zone with a 3-2 upset win here Wednesday against fourth-place Chelsea.

The Hammers, who came into the derby without a victory since the Premier League returned to action June 17, climbed to 30 points and 16th place with six matches left.

With their first loss since the re-start, Chelsea squandered an opportunity to claim third place from Leicester City. Instead, the Blues remained on 54 points, just 2 more than Manchester United and Wolverhampton in what is shaping up to be a battle royale for the final two Champions League places.

West Ham appeared to grab the lead in the 35th minute with Tomas Soucek’s goal off a corner, but an extended VAR review found that Michail Antonio was offside and the goal was disallowed.

Minutes later, Issa Diop brought down Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic in the box and the referee awarded a penalty. Willian fooled Hammers goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski with a feint to the right before blasting the ball down the left into the net to put the Blues up 1-0.

But a blunder by Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga allowed Soucek to equalize for West Ham in first-half stoppage time.

Antonio scored in the 51st minute to give West Ham a 2-1 edge that endured until the final 20 minutes, when Willian brought Chelsea level with a masterful free kick.

Pressing hard for another goal, the Blues lost possession deep in the West Ham zone and Antonio released Andriy Yarmolenko on the counter.

The Ukraine international got around Anthony Rüdiger with relative ease and beat Kepa with a low shot to make it 3-2 West Ham in the 89th minute.

Earlier Wednesday, Arsenal hammered last-place Norwich City 4-0 to go seventh in the Premier League and give themselves a chance of qualifying for Europa League play in 2020-2021.

Losers in their first two matches after the 100-day hiatus for the coronavirus, the Gunners beat Southampton 2-0 last week in the Premier League and triumphed 2-1 over the weekend against Sheffield United to advance to the FA Cup semifinals.

Arsenal carried that good form into the contest at London’s Emirates Stadium.

The visitors took a 2-0 lead to the dressing room at half time on goals by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Granit Xhaka in the space of five minutes.

Aubameyang added a second goal in the 67th minute and Cedric Soares marked his season debut with Arsenal by scoring with nine minutes left in regulation to complete the rout.

The Gunners, with 46 points from 32 matches, trail Wolves and Man United by 6 points and are a point ahead of North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Norwich are 6 points adrift and seemingly doomed to relegation.

In other action, third-place Leicester City fell 2-1 to Everton, who have taken 7 of 9 possible points since the re-start while the Foxes last won on March 9.

Richarlison put the Toffies ahead with a blast from close range in the 10th minute. Gylfi Sigurdsson doubled the advantage in the 15th, converting from the spot after a VAR review detected a hand-ball by Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi.

Kelechi Iheanacho pulled back a goal for Leicester in the 51st minute, as an attempted clearance struck him in the chest and ended up in the net.

The result lifted Everton to 44 points, good enough for the 11th spot in the league table. Leicester, on 55 points, remain third.

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