Chelsea revive title bid with win over Pompey
LONDON: Chelsea closed to within just a point of Premier League leaders Manchester United with a 5-0 win away to Portsmouth.
Didier Drogba scored twice to take his tally to 24 goals in 27 league matches. Florent Malouda also scored twice with England midfielder Frank Lampard adding a fifth goal late on.
Elsewhere, Australia’s Tim Cahill scored for Everton in a 2-0 victory over Manchester City as the Merseysiders became the first away side to win in the league at Eastlands this term. Meanwhile Aston Villa and Sunderland drew 1-1 and Blackburn defeated Birmingham 2-1.
David James helped gift Chelsea a 32nd minute lead. Nicknamed ‘Calamity’ for a series of high-profile mistakes, the England goalkeeper wasn’t helped by a bad bounce as he missed completely with an attempted kick in a bid to clear Deco’s header. James’ error let in Drogba, who shot into the empty net.
Malouda doubled Chelsea’s lead early in the second half with a fierce shot. Malouda then put the result beyond doubt on the hour mark when, after James palmed out Lampard’s shot, he followed up to score. And there was still time for Drogba to get his second goal, in the 77th minute, when he ran onto Jon Obi Mikel’s pass, shrugged off Steve Finnan and scored at the near post.
Manchester City kicked-off fifth in the table. With only the leading quartet at the end of the season guaranteed Champions League football next term, Roberto Mancini’s men were looking to leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur into fourth place. But it was the visitors who took the lead when Cahill headed in a cross from Leighton Baines’s through a crowd of players in the 33rd minute. Cahill’s clever dummy then set up Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, who sealed victory five minutes from time.
Sunderland went ahead at Villa Park when Fraizer Campbell latched onto Kieran Richardson’s defence-splitting pass in the 22nd minute. However, eight minutes later Villa, still in the hunt for fourth place, were level after in-form Norway striker John Carew headed in England international winger Ashley Young’s fine cross.
At Ewood Park, David Dunn put Blackburn ahead against his former club in the fifth minute with a fine strike from the edge of the penalty area. Scotland international James McFadden equalised for Birmingham in the 55th minute with a perfectly-placed free-kick, but Dunn grabbed the winner in the 67th minute, heading home El-Hadji Diouf’s corner.
London: Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp will take on his old club Portsmouth at Wembley after a second-half comeback earned his team a 3-1 win against Fulham in Wednesday’s FA Cup quarter-final replay.
The visitors to White Hart Lane led at half-time thanks to a Bobby Zamora strike but goals from David Bentley, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Eidur Gudjohnsen ensured Spurs’ passage to the semi-final.
The much-travelled manager won the Cup with Pompey in 2008 but will be desperate to get one over his former employers, who now find themselves in dire financial straits, when they meet on April 11.