Chelsea manager Antonio Conte declared his side’s Premier League title defence over after Marko Arnautovic’s goal condemned the champions to a 1-0 defeat at West Ham United yesterday.
Chelsea’s defeat, their first in eight league games, left them 11 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who visit second-placed Manchester United today’s Manchester derby.
“We have to consider that this is the fourth game we’ve lost in 16 games,” Conte told Sky Sports at the London Stadium. “In my previous experience, it won’t be possible to fight for the title. With four defeats in 16 games, we must have another target.”
Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur ended a run of four games without victory with a thumping 5-1 home win over Stoke City at Wembley in which Harry Kane scored twice.
Having previously been beaten by Burnley, Manchester City and Crystal Palace, Chelsea have lost just one fewer game than in the entirety of their triumphant 2016-17 campaign.
Austria international Arnautovic struck in the sixth minute, neatly exchanging passes with Manuel Lanzini and cutting inside Cesar Azpilicueta before curling a low shot past Thibaut Courtois.
It was West Ham’s first win in nine league games and confirmed the progress they have made under new manager David Moyes, who saw his side narrowly beaten 2-1 at Manchester City last weekend.
“The win, the spirit of the team, how they stuck together and more importantly a lot of the basics were done well today,” said Moyes. “All that really pleased me.”
West Ham remain in the relegation zone, but they are now level on points with fourth-bottom West Bromwich Albion, who lost 1-0 at Swansea City in Alan Pardew’s second game as manager.
Spurs claimed a fourth successive four-goal win over Stoke, making Mauricio Pochettino’s side the first team to have won by four goals in four consecutive English top-flight meetings with the same opponents.
Son Heung-Min’s cross was deflected in via Stoke defenders Kurt Zouma and Ryan Shawcross to put Spurs ahead and Son made it 2-0 by rattling in a pass from Dele Alli in the 53rd minute.
Kane’s two goals – a header from a Ben Davies cross and a left-foot curler – took his tally for the season to 18 in all competitions and Christian Eriksen completed the rout.
Spurs moved above Arsenal into fifth place on goal difference ahead of their local rivals’ trip to Southampton today while Stoke, who replied through Shawcross, have now lost 1 000 top-flight games.
“That is how we need to play from now,” said Spurs manager Pochettino.”Consistency between now and the end of the season is so important if we want to finish in the top four. The team showed their true quality.”