Chelsea rout Rovers to go top

Frank Lampard scored twice as Chelsea leapfrogged champions Manchester United into top spot in the English Premier League with a 5-0 rout of Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

An own goal in the 20th minute from French defender Gael Givet, who turned Nicolas Anelka’s cross past goalkeeper Paul Robinson under pressure from Didier Drogba, put the Blues ahead.

England midfielder Lampard scored his first Premier League goal since April when he fired home from Drogba’s pull back before Michael Essien wrapped up the points in the 52nd minute when he beat Robinson with a curving shot from fully 35 yards out.

Lampard scored his second, and Chelsea’s fourth, from the penalty spot after Drogba was brought down seven minutes later by Rovers captain Ryan Nelsen, the New Zealand defender.

The impressive Drogba then added a fifth in the 64th minute.

Earlier, Tottenham Hotspur missed the chance to go level on points with United after losing 1-0 late on at home to Stoke City.

The match was goalless until four minutes from time when Glenn Whelan, played in by Ricardo Fuller, struck against a home team a man down with England winger Aaron Lennon off the field after the north Londoners had used all three of their substitutions.

Lennon took himself off and Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said: “I was hoping he could stay on but he couldn’t and suddenly we were down to 10 men.

“We’re not sure what the problem is. He just said he couldn’t carry on and that was that.”

Stoke boss Tony Pulis, once Redknapp’s assistant at Bournemouth, said: “Ricardo’s pulled a genie out of the bottle again. That was terrific and Glenn finished it with aplomb.”

At the bottom of the table, basement club Portsmouth were held to a goalless draw by fellow strugglers Hull.

Meanwhile, Birmingham beat their former manager Steve Bruce’s Sunderland side 2-1 and Colombia’s Hugo Rodallega scored twice as Wigan came from behind to end Burnley’s 100% home record this term in a 3-1 win.

Elsewhere, Wolves drew 1-1 with Midlands rivals Aston Villa.

Burnley took an early lead at Turf Moor when Steven Fletcher turned in Robbie Blake’s cross in the fourth minute.

But Wigan equalised in bizarre fashion seven minutes later when Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen slipped as he came for a Mario Melchiot cross, allowing Rodallega to shoot into the unguarded net.

Jensen went off injured moments later.

Rodallega then made it 2-1 when he turned in Jason Scotland’s 51st-minute cross before Emmerson Boyce scored from a corner.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, who has seen Rodallega score in all of the Latics’ four wins this season, said of the striker: “His work rate was exceptional, but then he is a clinical finisher and to have that instinct in your play is a massive asset.”

At St Andrews, in Birmingham’s first home game since Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung bought the club, the Blues went ahead eight minutes before half-time when Liam Ridgewell got on the end of a Sebastian Larsson free-kick.

And soon after the break Scotland striker James McFadden doubled Birmingham’s lead following good work by Larsson.

“I am pleased for the owners,” said Blues boss Alex McLeish.

“They are absolutely ecstatic, and so they should be because it was a great home start for them in what was a thoroughly deserved victory.”

In a dire opening period at the KC Stadium, Portsmouth striker Tommy Smith squandered a couple of chances for the visitors.

After halftime, Pompey’s Aruna Dindane and Hassan Yebda were both denied by Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.

“I think that is the worst we have played in a month and we still created chances, and in the second half we should have won it,” said Pompey manager Paul Hart.

It was all square in the early kick-off at Molineux until England forward Gabriel Agbonlahor put visitors Villa ahead 11 minutes from time.

But Wolves rescued a point four minutes later through Sylvan Ebanks-Blake’s first Premier League goal, a penalty after Michael Kightly was brought down in the box.

Manchester United will end the weekend on top if they win away to arch-rivals Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

In Sunday’s other top-flight matches, Arsenal travel to West Ham for an all-London clash, Manchester City face Fulham and Everton make the short journey to Bolton Wanderers.—Sapa-AFP


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