Chelsea, Man Utd score important wins
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
Fiery striker Diego Costa used his aggression in the right way to keep Chelsea's winning run going in the English Premier League yesterday.
Costa muscled West Bromwich Albion defender Gareth McAuley off the ball before cutting inside and curling a shot into the top corner in the 76th minute to seal a 1-0 win for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have won their last nine matches in the league - the team's best run since 2009 - to power to the top of the standings and Costa has scored in seven of them. The Spain international is the top scorer in the Premier League with 12 goals.
Last season, Costa - a striker who constantly plays on the edge - appeared to be more interested in picking fights than scoring goals and it hurt Chelsea, which finished 10th in a dismal defense of their title.
Fast forward to this season and Costa is leading Chelsea's revival under coach Antonio Conte, who reacted to the winning goal by punching the air in delight and jumping into the arms of two members of the coaching staff.
Since Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation following a 3-0 loss at Arsenal on September 24, Chelsea haven't dropped a point and are three points clear of second-placed Arsenal.
Liverpool dropped six points behind Chelsea after conceding more sloppy goals against West Ham.
Under-fire goalkeeper Loris Karius, who was 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 cancelled out Adam Lallana's early goal at Anfield.
Liverpool centre 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. Randolph 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
After being slowly integrated at Manchester United, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is looking the part and scored the goal in a significant win for Jose Mourinho's team against Tottenham - a rival for Champions League qualification.
Mkhitaryan raced onto Ander Herrera's through-ball and drove home a rising shot in the 29th minute for his first Premier League goal. In his last four games in all competitions, Mkhitaryan has scored two goals and set up two others, underling his growing importance to United.
An ankle injury that forced him off in the 85th minute will set back his progress, though. Mourinho expects the Armenian to be out for around two weeks.