LONDON (AP) ― Samuel Eto’o capitalized on a slack defense for his first Chelsea hat trick in a 3-1 victory over Manchester United on Sunday that further underlined the struggles of the Premier League champions under David Moyes.
United has seven league losses and is not only 14 points behind leader Arsenal but six points from the fourth Champions League spot.
“We won’t throw the towel in until we can’t get there,” Moyes said. “The job is to try and finish first. I will keep trying to do that.”
For Jose Mourinho, it was his 100th Premier League win and it kept Chelsea within two points of first. Eto’o, a Cameroon striker who joined the club during the summer transfer window, scored in the 17th, 45th and 49th minutes. Javier Hernandez scored for United in the 78th minute.
“I’m very happy,” Eto’o said in French. “My career wouldn’t have been as beautiful if I hadn’t gone to Chelsea.”
United slumped to its fourth loss in five games in all competitions at the start of 2014. To add to its troubles, Moyes faces three matches without Nemanja Vidic after his captain was sent off in stoppage time for lunging at Eden Hazard.
Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice in a 3-1 victory over Swansea. Tottenham is even on points with fourth-place Liverpool but behind on goal difference in fifth. Swansea is three points above the relegation zone.
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid were both held to draws, tightening the Spanish league title race with Real Madrid only one point behind the co-leaders.
Barcelona’s potent attack led by Lionel Messi was held 1-1 at Levante, leaving the door open for Atletico to later claim sole possession of the league lead.
But Atletico conceded a second-half penalty at home against Sevilla to also finish 1-1 and squander its chance to rise to the sole lead in the standings for the first time since September 2010.
Madrid won 5-0 against bottom-side Real Betis on Saturday.