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Rafa Benitez enjoyed his first Premier League win as Chelsea manager, but the wait goes on for Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp.

Last Updated: 09/12/12 at 08:47

Fernando Torres bagged a brace for Chelsea at Sunderland

Fernando Torres bagged a brace for Chelsea at Sunderland

Torres inspires Chelsea; QPR held at Wigan; Norwich edge thriller

Rafa Benitez enjoyed his first Premier League win as Chelsea manager as a revitalised Fernando Torres inspired victory at Sunderland, but the wait goes on for Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp.

Norwich City continue to be in flying form after edging a seven-goal thriller at Swansea City and Southampton won the battle of the top-flight strugglers after seeing off Reading.

Arsenal bounced back to form after getting the better of West Bromwich Albion as Aston Villa and Stoke City extended recent unbeaten runs after playing out a scoreless draw.

Benitez claimed his first three points since replacing Roberto Di Matteo as Chelsea boss following a 3-1 win at Sunderland which heaps more pressure on his counterpart Martin O'Neill.

Chelsea took the lead on 11 minutes following a slick break as Victor Moses released Eden Hazard down the left-hand side and the Belgian's cross was met perfectly by Torres' outstretched boot.

The Spaniard, fresh from his brace against Nordsjaelland in midweek, scored the second at the end of the first half when confidently dispatching a penalty after Sebastian Larsson's needless challenge on Ramires.

Torres almost completed his hat-trick four minutes after the interval when his shot struck the crossbar following a mistake by Phil Bardsley, but team-mate Juan Mata was on hand to convert the rebound.

Sunderland pulled a goal back on 66 minutes when Adam Johnson's swerving left-footed effort from the left side of the penalty area completely deceived Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.

Redknapp was denied a first win as Queens Park Rangers manager as James McCarthy scored twice in Wigan's 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium.

QPR had started brightly, but fell behind on 19 minutes when the ball dropped to McCarthy on the edge of the box and his volley took a nick off Jamie Mackie on its way past Robert Green.

But QPR were level just seven minutes later when Adel Taarabt's corner from the left was met with a powerful header by Ryan Nelsen.

The visitors completed the turnaround on 71 minutes when Wigan were sloppy in possession and Shaun Wright-Phillips teed up substitute Djibril Cisse to side-foot beyond Ali Al Habsi.

The lead lasted just three minutes, however, as Wigan, who had earlier struck the bar through Jordi Gomez, drew level when McCarthy controlled Jean Beausejour's cross before flicking the ball past Green.

Mikel Arteta scored a penalty in each half as Arsenal got back on track with a 2-0 success over West Brom at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal went ahead in contentious circumstances on 26 minutes when Arteta scored from the penalty spot after Santi Cazorla had gone down theatrically under a challenge from Steven Reid.

Arteta converted another penalty on 64 minutes, but there was again dispute from the Baggies, who felt Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had fouled Goran Popov in the build-up before the Arsenal winger was brought down in the box by Chris Brunt.

Norwich extended their unbeaten run to 10 games in all competitions after hanging on for a thrilling 4-3 win over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.

The Canaries were three goals to the good by half-time and took the lead on 16 minutes when Steven Whittaker exchanged passes with Robert Snodgrass before continuing his run into the box and firing a low shot past Gerhard Tremmel.

The Swansea keeper was again beaten at his near post five minutes before half-time when Sebastien Bassong continued his recent good run of form by heading home Grant Holt's deep cross.

Holt got in on the act a minute before the break when Snodgrass' perfect delivery was met by the striker, who had been left unmarked to head beyond Tremmel.

Swansea gave themselves hope of a comeback six minutes into the second half when top scorer Michu swept home left-footed from Ben Davies' low cross.

The hosts then scored a second just before the hour mark as Norwich failed to clear a cross and Jonathan de Guzman's controlled volley beat Mark Bunn at the near post.

But Swansea's fightback was killed off 13 minutes from time when Snodgrass got the goal his performance merited as he curled a free-kick over the wall and inside the post before Michu scored a late consolation.

Southampton won the battle of the two promoted clubs to climb out of the relegation zone following a 1-0 home success over Reading.

Goals have been in plentiful supply at St Mary's this season, but it was the 61st minute before the breakthrough arrived when Jason Puncheon collected Nathaniel Clyne's low pass into the box and finished confidently past Adam Federici.

Darren Bent made a rare appearance for Aston Villa in a 0-0 draw at home with Stoke, who had Ryan Shotton sent off late on for a second bookable offence.

England striker Bent was unable to make a difference after coming on as a second-half substitute before Shotton was harshly sent off in the final minute.

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Readers' Comments

W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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