LONDON >> Chelsea routed Swansea 5-0 for the leader’s biggest win of the English Premier League season on Saturday, while Manchester United produced only its third away success of the campaign at Queens Park Rangers.
Diego Costa and Oscar both scored twice before Andre Schuerrle completed Swansea’s home humiliation, to go provisionally five points ahead of Manchester City, which hosts Arsenal on Sunday.
“The team is playing with high quality and has a clear identity of playing,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. “Sometimes teams are good and play well without the clear identity, but all this season we are going in a certain direction.”
United labored through the first half at QPR before a second-half turnaround saw substitutes Marouane Fellaini and James Wilson clinch a 2-0 victory. QPR remains in the relegation zone after a fifth straight winless league match, while United remains fourth, two points behind Southampton.
The south-coast team won 2-0 at Newcastle after the first goals from Eljero Elia since joining on loan from Werder Bremen this month.
Tottenham moved up to fifth with a 2-1 victory over Sunderland, Liverpool won 2-0 at Aston Villa, bottom-place Leicester lost 1-0 to Stoke, and Crystal Palace came from two goals down to beat Burnley 3-2, making it two wins out of two under Alan Pardew.
There were also five goals in south Wales but they were all scored by Chelsea — four in the opening 36 minutes. And the first came 49 seconds into the match from Oscar’s 20-yard (meter) shot.
Cesc Fabregas’ 15th assist of the league season set up Diego Costa’s first, and the striker then seized on poor defending to score his 17th goal of the campaign.
Costa’s cut-back allowed Oscar to net Chelsea’s fourth with ease. The only surprise was it took Chelsea until the 79th to net again, with Schuerrle tapping Branislav Ivanovic’s cross into an empty net.
By contrast, United has been struggling to score. Fellaini’s opener at QPR — from Antonio Valencia’s pass — was only the team’s second goal in six hours of league action.
The second at Loftus Road came in stoppage time on the counterattack, when QPR was pushing for an equalizer, with Wilson netting from the rebound after first being denied by goalkeeper Robert Green.
At White Hart Lane, there was no debut goal from Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe against his former club.
Jan Vertonghen’s second-minute opener for Tottenham was canceled out by Sebastian Larsson’s curled free kick, but Christian Eriksen struck the hosts’ winner in the 88th.
There was a fourth win in five games for seventh-place Liverpool. Fabio Borini volleyed in his first goal of the season before Rickie Lambert’s low strike at Villa, which has gone nearly nine hours without scoring.