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Monday, Oct. 26, 2009

Lampard hits double as Chelsea goes top

LONDON (AP) Frank Lampard scored twice Saturday to lead Chelsea to a record 5-0 win over Blackburn and first place in the Premier League.

Chelsea dominated throughout and led at halftime through an own-goal by Gael Givet, before four second-half goals at Stamford Bridge sealed its biggest ever win in 102 years of games against Rovers.

Lampard scored with a firm shot, Michael Essien scored from about 35 meters, Lampard hit a penalty and Didier Drogba headed in — all by the 64th minute — as Chelsea recovered from last week's 2-1 loss at Aston Villa.

"We wanted to bounce back and we've done it in style today," Lampard said. "It was a determined performance and we've shown a little bit of what we're about."

Chelsea now leads by two points from defending champion Manchester United, which could retake top spot if it wins at fierce rival Liverpool in one of Sunday's four matches.

Tottenham, Aston Villa and Sunderland all missed good chances to close on the leaders on Saturday.

Tottenham could have gone level on points with Man United with a victory but stayed in third place after a 1-0 loss to visiting Stoke, while Aston Villa drew 1-1 at lowly Wolves.

Sunderland was hoping to move into the top four but lost 2-1 at Birmingham.

Givet put Chelsea ahead in the 20th minute when he redirected Nicolas Anelka's pass into his own net, but the Blues had to wait until three minutes into the second half to score again.

Lampard rushed into the area to smash in a rebound, and nine minutes later Essien scored with a similarly fierce shot from about twice as far out.

Lampard scored a 59th-minute penalty following a foul by Ryan Nelsen on Drogba, and the Cote d'Ivoire striker rounded off the scoring with a close-range header from a corner.

Chelsea twice beat Blackburn 5-1, most recently in 1964.

The Blues moved up to 24 points from 10 games, two more than United and five more than Tottenham, which dominated visiting Stoke but played the last 13 minutes with 10 men after an injury to winger Aaron Lennon and conceded a goal with four minutes left.

Ricardo Fuller burst down the right at White Hart Lane and cut a pass back to substitute Glenn Whelan, who smashed a shot past goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.

"We had so many chances, the keeper's made great saves, they've kicked shots off the line and they've only had one shot worth talking about," Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said.

Tottenham's third loss of the season left it likely to be overtaken by Arsenal and Manchester City on Sunday.

Villa is two points behind Tottenham in sixth place.

It took the lead in the 79th at Wolves through Gabriel Agbonlahor's sixth goal of the season but Sylvan Ebanks-Blake equalized four minutes later with a penalty awarded for a foul by Steve Sidwell.

Liam Ridgewell and James McFadden gave Birmingham victory over Sunderland, which scored only in the 82nd through an own goal.

Hugo Rodallega scored twice to lead Wigan to a 3-1 win at Burnley, while Portsmouth and Hull stayed in the bottom three after a 0-0 draw.

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