Lampard brace opens title race

Lampard brace opens title race

Frank Lampard scored twice as Chelsea closed the gap on league leaders Manchester United to nine points with a game in hand following a 3-1 victory at Blackpool on Monday night. The current champions have seen their Premier League fortunes change radically in a week; having trailed the leaders by 15 points a week ago, two wins for Chelsea and two defeats for United in that time has blown the title race wide open.

Carlo Ancelotti opted for a 4-4-2 formation at Bloomfield Road to give Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres the opportunity to forge a telling strike partnership. However the duo were barely involved, looking lost and disinterested neither posed the Blackpool defence a meaningful threat and Torres is still waiting for his first goal since joining Chelsea in January.

Blackpool looked the brighter side in the opening exchanges but John Terry and Frank Lampard combined to open the scoring against the run of play when the unmarked Terry met Lampard’s swinging corner to head into a gaping net after 20 minutes. The Seasiders continued to try to open up the visitors defence and Jason Puncheon was unlucky to see his shot fumbled off the post by Petr Cech before the keeper made a fingertip save to touch Ian Evatt’s cross-shot over the bar.

Chelsea went into the half-time break with a slender looking 1-0 lead but ten minutes after the restart the game was about to change. Drogba went down under a challenge from James Beattie and was replaced by Solomon Kalou who quickly made his lively presence felt. Within seven minutes of coming onto the pitch Kalou raced into the box to be felled by Evatt’s challenge for a penalty. Lampard stepped up to send Kingson the wrong way and suddenly Chelsea had an unlikely two-goal cushion. Then four minutes later Kalou spotted a trademark Lampard run and slotted the ball into the midfielders path, Lampard made no mistake in stroking the ball beyond Kingson’s reach for his fourth goal in as many games.

Blackpool continued to push forward whenever they could and finally grabbed a consolation when Puncheon shot into the far corner from the edge of the Chelsea box after 85 minutes. The defeat left the Seasiders with one win in nine and in danger of being sucked into the relegation quicksand, just two points from the drop zone. Chelsea on the other hand see some hope of retaining their title and bookmakers have slashed the champion’s odds from 20/1 to 8/1 in the past week as the top of the table becomes a little more congested.
 

PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
Pos Team P Pts
1 Manchester United 29 60
2 Arsenal 28 57
3 Manchester City 29 53
4 Chelsea 28 51
5 Tottenham 28 48

 

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