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Monday, Aug. 23, 2010

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Gunning for trouble: Arsenal's Marouane Chamakh scores his side's sixth goal during the Gunners' 6-0 victory over Blackpool on Saturday in London. AP PHOTO

Premier League heavyweights lay waste to opposition

LONDON (AP) Chelsea and Arsenal crushed their Premier League opponents 6-0 on Saturday in ruthless displays of their title credentials.

Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou scored two goals each for Chelsea at Wigan, a week after the defending champions condemned West Bromwich Albion to the same 6-0 defeat in the season-opener.

Chelsea had only led through Florent Malouda's goal at half time, but Anelka quickly netted twice after the break and after Yossi Benayoun completed the rout in stoppage time following Kalou's double.

"We scored six but we suffered a lot in the first half," Chelsea striker Didier Drogba said. "The fact that we scored quickly at the start of the second half settled us down a lot."

Arsenal responded to its draw at Liverpool by routing newcomer Blackpool, with Theo Walcott scoring his first hat trick for the club as it chases its first title since 2004.

"What was pleasing today with Theo was that he made the right decisions in the final third and was calm in front of goal," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "He could finish but also give final balls. That shows he has improved."

Tottenham, which finally broke into the Premier League's top four last season, relied on Gareth Bale's double to edge Stoke 2-1.

Craig Gardner also scored twice as Birmingham beat Blackburn 2-1, Johan Elmander's pair helped Bolton win 3-1 at West Ham, Peter Odemwingie scored on his West Bromwich Albion debut to clinch a 1-0 victory over Sunderland, and Wolverhampton held Everton 1-1.

At the DW Stadium, Chelsea took its goal tally in its last five league matches to 29 goals — stretching back into last season when the west London club put eight past Wigan to win the title.

Wigan has already conceded 10 this season, after being stunned 4-0 by Blackpool last Saturday.

Malouda tapped in Chelsea's opener in the 34th minute after goalkeeper Chris Kirkland parried Frank Lampard's effort.

After the break, Anelka's clinical finish and a close-range header by the 52nd minute put the game beyond reach for Wigan.

Didier Drogba set up Kalou to slot home in the 78th and turned provider again in stoppage time, with the Cote d'Ivoire forward heading in a second goal after Kirkland flapped at the incoming cross.

There was still time for Yossi Benayoun to get on the scoresheet after sending Paulo Ferreira's pullback into the far corner.

Around 3,000 Blackpool fans traveled to London buoyed by a dazzling Premier League debut last weekend, but there would be no repeat of the 4-0 victory over Wigan as the northwest side faced a ruthless attacking display.

"We were doing OK before the referee deemed Ian Evatt's challenge a sending off," Blackpool manager Ian Holloway said. "It absolutely ruined the game as spectacle."

It was a less convincing win from Tottenham, which escaped with a victory from Stoke despite a late controversy when Jon Walters thought his header had crossed the line to earn a 2-2 draw but referee Chris Foy disagreed.



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