Chelsea FC returned to the Premier League summit with a resounding 7-0 victory against Stoke City FC, while Aston Villa FC climbed to fifth courtesy of a 1-0 triumph over city rivals Birmingham City FC.
Titleholders Manchester United FC had taken the ascendancy by beating Tottenham Hotspur FC 3-1 on Saturday lunchtime, but the Blues' one-point cushion has now been restored in emphatic fashion. Carlo Ancelotti's side were dynamic from the off against Stoke, Salomon Kalou bundling in Didier Drogba's cross to give them a deserved lead on 24 minutes.
A second arrived seven minutes later when Kalou prodded in after Thomas Sorensen parried Frank Lampard's shot and the England midfielder got in on the act himself with a penalty a minute before half-time.
Kalou completed his hat-trick on 68 minutes before Lampard scored his 20th league goal of the season with an impudent flick (81). Daniel Sturridge rounded substitute goalkeeper Asmir Begović for his first league goal for the club (87) and Florent Malouda completed the scoring a minute from time. Chelsea had previously scored seven against both Villa and Sunderland AFC this season.
The former of those clubs were also victorious, beating Birmingham thanks to James Milner's 83rd-minute penalty. Villa are now behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur FC on goal difference having played a game more.
Two points further back are UEFA Europa League semi-finalists Liverpool FC following their 4-0 success over Burnley FC, whose relegation straight back to the Championship is now confirmed. Everton are five points behind Liverpool in eighth having beaten Fulham FC 2-1, Mikel Arteta scoring the decisive goal from the spot in the 94th minute.
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|Last updated: 02/07/2011 05:31 CET|
Van Persie 48
S. Fletcher 22
A. Johnson 80