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Hammers and Chelsea get it done in EPL

Associated Press logo Associated Press 14/01/2017 Rob Harris

Top-scorer Diego Costa wasn't missed by English Premier League leader Chelsea.

Dimitri Payet's absence wasn't felt by West Ham.

Both teams won their games 3-0 despite missing their talisman on Saturday, but uncertainties linger about the future of the duo in English football.

West Ham, who beat Crystal Palace, went public with Payet's bombshell that he wants to leave and is refusing to play.

The east London club insist the France midfielder will not be sold in the January transfer window which runs for another two weeks.

The situation surrounding Costa isn't as clear, with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte's coy answers after beating champions Leicester highlighting deeper issues.

After twice referencing the "truth," Conte stressed: "I like to tell the truth and not lie. Diego stopped training on Tuesday because he felt a pain in his back and from that moment he didn't train in the week."

Conte didn't elaborate on the apparent injury, any further assessment by Chelsea's medics, or when the striker is likely to be fit again.

"It's a bit difficult to tell you this now," Conte said.

Costa's absence followed the Spain international being linked with a big-money move to the ambitious Chinese Super League and reports of a rift with the Chelsea coaching staff.

Pointedly, there was no denial from the manager who had already expressed a desire not to lie in public.

"If there are problems, I prefer to solve the problem in the changing room and not in the press conference," Conte said. "If there are problems."

Chelsea's win moved them seven points clear atop the EPL ladder, with Marcos Alonso scored twice before Pedro Rodriguez headed home.

Tottenham, who ended Chelsea's 13-match winning run in their last game, was rampant again in dispatching West Brom 4-0.

Harry Kane's hat-trick gave Tottenham a club record-equalling sixth straight league win and Gareth McAuley's own goal ensured more misery for West Brom.

Arsenal hammered Swansea 4-0, rising to third with Olivier Giroud scoring in his fifth consecutive game.

The loss sees Swansea go to the bottom of the standings in Paul Clement's first home game in charge since replacing the fired Bob Bradley.

Andy Carroll helped West Ham fans forget Payet's unsettling conduct by scoring a magnificent bicycle kick as West Ham's three-match losing run in all competitions ended.

Joey Barton marked his EPL return with a goal in Burnley's 1-0 win over Southampton.

Barton came off the bench in the second half and bent a free kick around the wall in the 78th minute.

The 34-year-old Barton, who last played in the top-flight with Queens Park Rangers in 2015, spent last season with Burnley in the second-tier but left after winning promotion for an ill-fated spell in Scotland at Rangers.

In other matches, Hull beat Bournemouth 3-1, Watford and Middlesbrough drew 1-1 and Stoke defeated Sunderland 3-1.

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