EPL: Chelsea on third spot, Newcastle and Villa struggle

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Chelsea cruise, Villa enter drop zone
London, Jan 13: Chelsea bounced back to third place after a 4-0 thumping of Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

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Two own goals from Jonathan Walters along with goal from Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard gave Chelsea a comfortable win after the shocking Capital One Cup loss to Swansea.

As expected, Rafa Benitez was under pressure to hand Demba Ba his Premier League debut but the Senegalese could hardly cause any trouble for the Stoke defence. However, Chelsea are the first team in the league to beat the Potters in their own den.

The Blues are currently third with 41 points, 11 behind leaders Manchester United and also have a game in hand which will be played against Southampton on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa entered the drop zone after losing 1-0 to Southampton on Saturday. Controversy surrounded the penalty decision as Jay Rodriguez was thought to have gone down without any contract but Ricky Lambert converted from the spot.

Paul Lambert's job is under threat after Villa's poor show in the last five league games, losing four and one drawn. The Villans have now conceded 18 goals in the five matches scoring twice.

Newcastle United are constantly dropping points and are nearing the relegation zone after another disappointing result at Norwich City. The match ended 0-0 which took just two points above the drop zone.

Alan Pardew earlier blamed injury problems to key players for their downfall. The Magpies last won agaisnt league strugglers QPR and have not won in four league games since then.

QPR dropped down to 20th spot after drawing 0-0 to Tottenham at Loftus Road while Reading moved up to 19th after a thrilling 3-2 comeback agaisnt West Brom.

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