/ 8 March 2011

Chelsea win 3-1 at Blackpool

Chelsea Win 3 1 At Blackpool

Two goals from Frank Lampard and another from John Terry gave Chelsea a 3-1 win at Blackpool on Monday to renew its hopes of retaining the Premier League title.

After an unmarked Terry made it 1-0 with a 20th-minute header from a corner, Lampard scored twice within four second-half minutes at Bloomfield Road for Chelsea to move within nine points of leader Manchester United having played one fewer match.

Lampard converted a penalty in the 63rd minute after Salomon Kalou had been fouled by Blackpool defender Ian Evatt. Three minutes later, Kalou slipped a pass through the defense for Lampard to slide the ball beyond goalkeeper Richard Kingson.

Chelsea was 15 points off the pace and seemingly out of the running for the title a week ago, but its victory over Man United followed by the leaders’ loss at Liverpool on Sunday has rejuvenated its campaign.

“We have to believe,” Lampard said. “It is a long shot and we have a lot to do, but if we go and win every game we will have a great chance to do it, but it will be very difficult.

“It’s been a good week for us. We weren’t at our best tonight, we were a bit sloppy and we cannot afford to be like that if we want to do anything. If we win every game we still have a chance, but Arsenal and Manchester United are good sides and they have a good lead.”

Chelsea has also solidified its hold on the final Champions League place, moving three points clear of fifth-place Tottenham. While Blackpool is two points above the drop zone after recording only one win in its past nine matches to be in 15th place.

Blackpool refused to curb its attacking style, testing goalkeeper Petr Cech throughout the first half and scoring a consolation goal in the 86th from Jason Puncheon.

Chelsea struggled to find any fluency in attack until Kalou came on for Didier Drogba, who injured his hip. Fernando Torres lacked a cutting edge in front of goal and is yet to score in five matches since moving from Liverpool in a £50-million transfer.

“I am happy as he is working hard, supporting the team defensively and he has very good behavior on the pitch,” Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said of Torres.

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway was critical of referee Mike Dean’s decision to award the penalty.

“I think that was key, particularly when Lampard is going to take it as he normally scores,” Holloway said. “He [Kalou] couldn’t wait to go down, and we were a bit naive and the ref couldn’t wait to give it. In the Championship that may not have been given.

“We deserved a goal in the first half, but unfortunately last year’s champions are good enough to hurt you. But I am proud of the team, we kept going and I felt we could have got something.” — Sapa-AP