Lampard hits four as Chelsea crush Villa

Premier League Review

Frank Lampard struck four as Chelsea signalled their title intentions in spectacular style with a crushing 7-1 win over Aston Villa while Arsenal suffered an injury-time nightmare at St Andrew's.

Carlo Ancelotti raised eyebrows by leaving Didier Drogba on the bench but the result was the biggest win of his side's season and one which took them back to the Barclays Premier League summit.

And Chelsea's cause was further boosted when Arsene Wenger's men blew three hard-earned points against Birmingham, with Kevin Phillips cancelling out Samir Nasri's opener at the death.

Lampard opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 15th minute but nerves were evident in the way the home side allowed Villa to hit back and level when John Carew converted Ashley Young's cross in the 29th minute.

Lampard's penalty nudged his side back in front just before the break then Chelsea ran riot with a brace for Florent Malouda, one for Salomon Kalou and two more for Lampard, who notched his fifth career hat-trick in the process.

It was a different story for Arsenal who had to battle through every minute of their clash with Alex McLeish's men but looked to have clinched it when substitute Nasri rocketed home a right-foot shot nine minutes from time.

Home keeper Joe Hart had been in good form to deny Theo Walcott in the first half but Birmingham also had their chances and Scott Dann missed a simple rebound after Roger Johnson's flick-on had hit the crossbar.

Wenger's introduction of Nasri and Andrei Arshavin in the 69th minute breathed new life into the Gunners and looked to have paid off handsomely with Nasri and Cesc Fabregas coming close to adding a second.

But the visitors' title push suffered a major blow in the first minute of added time when an attempted clearance in the box struck Phillips and the ball proceeded to loop back over Manuel Almunia into the net.

Tottenham took a firmer grip on the final Champions League place with a 2-0 win over Portsmouth at White Hart Lane with Pompey old boys Peter Crouch and Niko Kranjcar grabbing the goals.

Crouch headed home a Gareth Bale cross in the 27th minute and Spurs dominated with Michael Dawson crashing a long-range shot wide and Crouch and Tom Huddlestone both hitting the woodwork.

Kranjcar converted a Kyle Walker cross after 40 minutes and things got worse for doomed Pompey in the second half with both Hermann Hreidarsson and Danny Webber stretchered off.

Gianfranco Zola's West Ham sunk deeper into the relegation mire after a dismal 1-0 home defeat to Stoke and their cause was not helped by fellow strugglers Hull's 2-0 win over Fulham.

Zola's difficult week ended on a new low note with Ricardo Fuller grabbing the only goal of the game at Upton Park, beating three Hammers defenders before firing the winner in the 69th minute.

Iain Dowie's men are now behind the Hammers on goal difference only after cruising to victory over Fulham with a 16th-minute penalty from Jimmy Bullard and Craig Fagan's 48th-minute header.

Wolves edged closer to safety after hanging on for a goalless draw at home to Everton, for whom Leighton Baines and Leon Osman came close while Ronald Zubar shot just over the crossbar for Mick McCarthy's men.

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence