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September 20, 2017

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Chelsea continue march to top of Premier League

LONDON -- Chelsea kept up its remorseless march to the English Premier League title with a 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham on Saturday, while a rejuvenated Mesut Ozil helped Arsenal secure a place in the FA Cup semifinals for the first time since 2009.

With none of its title rivals — Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City — in league action this weekend, Chelsea provisionally extended its lead to seven points after capitalizing on a woeful second half from Spurs to score all its goals in the final 34 minutes.

Samuel Eto'o opened the scoring and then was fouled in the area by Younes Kaboul, earning the French defender a straight red card. Eden Hazard converted the 60th-minute penalty, and substitute Demba Ba added two late goals in the space of 75 seconds.

Liverpool and Arsenal are seven points behind the leaders with a game in hand but Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho still thinks Manchester City, which is nine points adrift in fourth place having played three matches less, is the title favorite.

"We don't have control of our destiny," Mourinho said, "if we win all our matches then maybe we are not champions. If Man City win all their games, they are champions."

Elsewhere in a truncated league program, beleaguered champion Manchester United eased past West Bromwich Albion 3-0 to climb to sixth and keep alive its faint hopes of finishing in the Champions League positions.

Arsenal beat Everton 4-1 at Emirates Stadium to become the first team through to the last four of the FA Cup, with substitute Olivier Giroud scoring two of the hosts' three goals in the final 22 minutes.

Yet it was the display of Ozil that stood out, the Germany playmaker responding to criticism of his lackluster recent performances by scoring the opening goal in the seventh minute, setting up Giroud's second and working tirelessly for the team.

"Physically he looked regenerated, with more power in his runs," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said, "and, as well, what I liked is he did a lot of dirty work for a player like him."

Arsenal is without a trophy since 2005, with the FA Cup its likeliest chance of ending the drought after a drop in form in the league and a 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

The other FA Cup quarterfinal matches are on Sunday.

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