LONDON: Fernando Torres got his first hat trick in more than 2 1/2 years Sunday to lead Chelsea to a 6-1 win over Queens Park Rangers in the English Premier League.
Tottenham returned to fourth place with a 2-0 win over Blackburn, moving ahead of Newcastle on goal difference and pulling within three points of third-place Arsenal. Chelsea trails Spurs by a point with three games remaining.
Defending champion Manchester United holds a three-point lead over second-place Manchester City heading into Monday's game between the rivals at Etihad Stadium.
In Chelsea's first match since reaching this season's Champions League final, Daniel Sturridge scored just 49 seconds in, John Terry headed in a corner kick in the 13th minute and Torres scored in the 19th, 25th and 64th for his first three-goal game since Liverpool's 6-1 win over Hull on Sept. 26, 2009. Florent Malouda made it 6-0 in the 80th.
Djibril Cisse scored in the 84th for QPR, which remains out of the relegation zone on goal difference over Bolton.
After just eight goals in his first 61 games since joining Chelsea for $80 million, Torres has four in his past two matches.
"I was feeling very good, very sharp, playing well, but I couldn't score," Torres said. "Now I feel I'm not playing as well as before, but I am scoring goals, which is the important thing for the strikers."
A large number of Chelsea fans jeered and taunted QPR defender Anton Ferdinand throughout the match for his accusation earlier this season that Terry had racially abused him. Terry lost the England captaincy and faces a criminal trial after the European Championship.
The furor meant that the traditional pre-match handshake between the sides was abandoned Sunday to avoid the players coming into contact outside of the game.
Rafael van der Vaart scored in the 22nd minute for Spurs and Kyle Walker added a goal in the 75th for Tottenham, which outshot Blackburn 19-0.