Drogba double puts Chelsea back on top

Premier League Roundup
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Didier Drogba scored two second-half goals as Chelsea beat West Ham 4-1 Saturday to retake the provisional lead in the Premier League.

Alex and Florent Malouda also hit the target at Stamford Bridge although lowly West Ham was holding Chelsea 1-1 at halftime after Scott Parker's long-range equalizer.

"We had a lot of chances and played well and we maintained a good control of the game also when we were level," said Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti. "We had a good performance."

The result gives Chelsea 64 points from 29 games. Second-place Manchester United, which hosts Fulham on Sunday, can regain the lead with at least a draw. Arsenal, which has 61 from 29, faces Hull later Saturday.

"It will be a long race to win this title," Ancelotti said. "They are strong teams, Manchester United and Arsenal, so we have to maintain our confidence, our play. We want to play our best every game."

In Saturday's other games, Tottenham beat Blackburn 3-1, Birmingham and Everton drew 2-2, Stoke and Aston Villa finished 0-0, Wolves won 2-1 at Burnley and Bolton outplayed Wigan 4-0.

Roman Pavlyuchenko scored twice in Tottenham's victory over Blackburn as Harry Redknapp's team held on to fourth place.

After Blackburn had lost its former Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson with a leg injury, Jermain Defoe turned the ball home from a corner in first half stoppage time and Pavlyuchenko added two more goals in the second half, his first a shot that went under the body of replacement 'keeper Jason Brown.

The victory gurantees Tottenham stays fourth on the day which would mean a shot at next season's Champions League if it stays there until the end of the campaign.

"People have always got doubts about everything, all I've said is we have got a chance," said Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. "It's not impossible, we have had a great year."

It was Blackburn's 11th away defeat of the season but Sam Allardyce's mid-table team appears to be clear of relegation trouble.

Aston Villa's hopes of catching Tottenham for fourth were hit by a goalless draw at Stoke. Villa remains six points behind Spurs, although Martin O'Neill's team has two games in hand.

Manchester City, which is also in contention for fourth, goes to Sunderland on Sunday and sixth place Liverpool, which is four points behind Tottenham, faces last place Portsmouth on Monday.

Wolves revived its survival chances with the victory at Burnley.

Matt Jarvis fired the visitor ahead in the 26th minute before a shot from Adlene Guedioura that took a deflection off Clark Carlisle for a 47th minute own goal made it 2-0. Although Burnley hit back with a 73rd minute header by Steven Thompson, his team remains in the relegation zone with Wolves just outside.

Bolton moved further away from danger with a 4-0 triumph over Wigan which keeps the visitor in trouble. Johan Elmander, Kevin Davies, Fabrice Muamba and Matt Taylor all found the net.

Birmingham rallied from two goals down to draw with an Everton side which appeared in control after two first half strikes in four minutes by Victor Anichebe and Ayegbeni Yakubu. Cameron Jerome and Craig Gardner hit back for the home side.

In the race for promotion to the top-flight, League Championship leader Newcastle was held 2-2 by Middlesbrough in a northeast derby and its lead at the top was cut to four points by West Bromwich Albion, which beat Blackburn 3-2. Two teams go up automatically.

Third place Nottingham Forest lost ground with a 3-2 defeat at Preston and is nine points behind Newcastle and five behind West Brom.