Updated: Sunday, 02 March 2014 02:58 | By Agence France-Presse

Chelsea pull clear, Pardew sent off for headbutt

An Andre Schurrle hat-trick saw Chelsea stretch their lead in the Premier League on Saturday, while Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew was sent off for headbutting an opposition player.


Chelsea pull clear, Pardew sent off for headbutt

Chelsea's striker Andre Schurrle celebrates scoring his third goal during an English Premier League football match in London on March 1, 2014 - by Ian Kington

Germany international Schurrle scored three times in 17 second-half minutes as Chelsea won 3-1 at Fulham and a 1-0 loss for Arsenal at Stoke City left Jose Mourinho's side with a four-point lead over their London rivals.

New Fulham manager Felix Magath was overseeing his first home game and he almost saw his side take an early lead when Clint Dempsey headed wide from close range.

However, after Fulham goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg had saved from Fernando Torres just before half-time, Schurrle made the breakthrough in the 52nd minute when he ran through to score from a lofted Eden Hazard pass.

Hazard teed up Schurrle for his second goal in the 65th minute before Torres released the former Bayer Leverkusen man for his third goal four minutes later.

Victory extended Chelsea's lead to six points over Manchester City, who have two games in hand, while Fulham, who replied through Jonny Heitinga, remain four points adrift of safety at the foot of the table.

"Schurrle is cold in front of the goal," said Chelsea manager Mourinho.

"At half-time, I told them nothing. Nothing, not a word. I walked in, then I walked out. I don't know if anyone else gave a team talk. The second half was a great reaction to the worst performance of the season.

"We have four points more than Arsenal. The gap to Man City is a fake advantage. If they win their games in hand, they're top of the league. We're behind them."

Unlike City, who tackle Sunderland in Sunday's League Cup final, second-place Arsenal do not have the consolation of any games in hand on Chelsea after their defeat at Stoke.

- 'Massive setback' for Arsenal -

Manager Arsene Wenger had Mesut Ozil back in the squad after injury, but he saw his side beaten by a 76th-minute Jonathan Walters penalty after Laurent Koscielny had been penalised for handball.

Arsenal's defeat, their fifth of the season, means that they could be overtaken by Liverpool, who visit Southampton later on Saturday.

"It is not slightly worrying, it is a big worry for us to lose a game like that. It's a massive setback," said Wenger.

"In a game like that, we didn't produce the performance we wanted. To win a title when you are expected to perform, you have to perform. It's as simple as that."

Newcastle won 4-1 at Hull, but the match was overshadowed by Pardew's dismissal for aiming a headbutt at home midfielder David Meyler.

Pardew was ordered from the dugout following a touchline clash with Meyler in the 72nd minute and Football Association chairman Greg Dyke subsequently announced that his organisation would investigate the incident.

Pardew issued a public apology moments after the final whistle, telling Sky Sports: "It was a heat-of-the-moment thing. I massively regret it and I will have to sit down from now on.

"Of course, I didn't mean to do anything aggressive. I did move my head forward, and that's enough. Of course I apologise. I represent a big club."

Moussa Sissoko scored twice for Newcastle, with Loic Remy and Vurnon Anita also on target, while Curtis Davies replied for Hull.

Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku marked his return from a month-long absence with an ankle injury by coming off the bench to score the winning goal for Everton in a 1-0 win at home to West Ham United.

The Belgian slammed home from Leighton Baines's pass in the 81st minute to end West Ham's run of four consecutive wins and take Everton to within two points of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn