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Costa rescues another EPL win for Chelsea

Associated Press logo Associated Press 11/12/2016 Steve Douglas

Fiery striker Diego Costa used his aggression to positive effect to extend ladder leader Chelsea's winning run in the Premier League to nine games with a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

Costa muscled defender Gareth McAuley off the ball before cutting inside and curling a shot into the top corner in the 76th minute to seal victory at Stamford Bridge.

The nine-match winning run - Chelsea's best since 2009 - powered the Blues to the top of the standings, with Costa having scored in seven of those victories, the Spanish international the top scorer in the Premier League with 12 goals.

Last season, Costa appeared to be more interested in picking fights than scoring goals and it hurt Chelsea, who finished 10th in a dismal title defense.

But Costa is leading Chelsea's revival under coach Antonio Conte this season as they moved three points clear of second-placed Arsenal, who beat Stoke City 3-1 the previous day.

Liverpool dropped six points off top spot after conceding more sloppy goals in a 2-2 draw at home to West Ham.

Under-fire goalkeeper Loris Karius, criticised for his fumble that gifted Bournemouth an injury-time winner last weekend, got a hand to Dimitri Payet's 27th-minute free kick but failed to keep it out as West Ham canceled out Adam Lallana's early goal at Anfield.

Liverpool center back Joel Matip then allowed a long ball down the middle to get through to Michail Antonio, who prodded a finish past a static Karius to put the visitors ahead in the 39th.

Another mistake, this time from West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph, earned Liverpool a point, after he flapped at Sadio Mane's cross and the ball fell to the feet of Divock Origi, who tapped home from close range in the 48th

"It's difficult to stay in the race with Chelsea when they win everything and we didn't," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.

"I don't think about it. When we were first or second I wasn't thinking about it. This is the moment to collect points as much as possible.

"At this moment six points behind is not what we wish but we cannot change it. The only thing we can do is do what we do best."

After being slowly integrated at Manchester United, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is looking the part, scoring the only goal in the 1-0 win over Tottenham - a significant win for Jose Mourinho's team against a rival for Champions League qualification.

Mkhitaryan raced onto Ander Herrera's through-ball and drove home a rising shot in the 29th minute, but he was forced off with an ankle injury in the 85th - Mourinho expecting to be without the Armenian for two weeks.

United are three points below fifth-placed Tottenham and six adrift of Manchester City, who occupies the fourth and final Champions League place.

Sofiane Boufal showed just why Southampton broke their transfer record to sign him in the off-season, with his first Premier League goal since joining from French club Lille securing a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

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