LONDON: Salomon Kalou scored a hattrick as Chelsea returned to the top of the English Premier League with a 7-0 thrashing of Stoke at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Victory saw Carlo Ancelotti’s men leapfrog champions Manchester United and left the Londoners a point in front with two games to play after they scored seven goals in a match for the third time this season. Ivory Coast international Kalou stooped to head the Blues in front from a Didier Drogba cross in the 24th minute. Seven minutes later, he doubled the Londoners’ lead with a driven strike. Before half-time, he was involved in the build up to Chelsea’s third which came after visitors Stoke had seen goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen go off with a shoulder injury.
Kalou went down under a challenge from former Chelsea defender Robert Huth which began outside the box but a penalty was awarded and England midfielder Frank Lampard scored from the spot. Kalou’s grand day got even better in the 68th minute when he completed his treble on the follow-up after Stoke substitute keeper Asmir Begovic had blocked his initial shot. Lampard added a fifth and further goals from Daniel Sturridge and Florent Malouda gave Chelsea a plus eight goal difference advantage over United, which could yet prove crucial in deciding the title race.
Liverpool keep Europe bid alive At the other end of the table, Burnley’s relegation from the English Premier League was confirmed with a 4-0 loss to Liverpool that saw the Clarets go straight back down to the Championship where they will be joined by previouslyrelegated Portsmouth. Victory was secured by four second half goals with England midfielder Steven Gerrard netting twice and Maxi Rodriguez and Ryan Babel weighing in with one apiece.
Villa prevail in derby James Milner kept Aston Villa’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League by scoring a penalty in a 1-0 derby win over Birmingham City. Everton overcome Fulham Mikel Arteta’s late penalty saw Everton to a 2-1 win at home to Fulham after they had equalised through a Chris Smalling own-goal in a match where the Cottagers had gone ahead through Erik Nevland. England midfielder Milner scored after City’s Roger Johnson was ruled to have brought down Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor in the box. However, Birmingham were incensed by referee Martin Atkinson’s decision, with replays indicating Johnson had won the ball.
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