Lamps shines for Chelsea

Frank Lampard twice ordered to retake penalty as he stretches Chelsea lead at West Ham.

    Lampard hit three penalties in a row before one was allowed to stand [GALLO/GETTY]
    Frank Lampard converted three penalties but only one counted as his Chelsea side pulled four points clear at the top of the English Premier League with a 1-1 draw at West Ham United.

    The England midfielder, back at his old Upton Park stomping ground, kept cool after referee Mike Dean ordered two retakes of his penalty early in the second half because players from both sides encroached into the area.

    Lampard's goal gave Chelsea 41 points from 18 games, four ahead of champions Manchester United who are second after losing 3-0 at Fulham on Saturday.

    West Ham stayed second from bottom, a point ahead of Portsmouth.

    Chelsea, though, gave another lacklustre display and have collected five points from a possible 12 in the league this month.

    United have also been inconsistent, suffering two defeats in their last three games.

    Elsewhere on Sunday, Wolverhampton Wanderers moved up to 12th spot by beating 14th-placed Burnley 2-0 and Everton drew 1-1 at home to Birmingham City.

    The result took Birmingham up to seventh on 28 points while Everton lie 15th.

    Nerves of steel

    After Chelsea were awarded a fortunate spot kick when a 61st-minute challenge by Matthew Upson on substitute Daniel Sturridge was deemed a foul, former West Ham player Lampard showed nerves of steel to convert his thrice-taken penalty.

    "I didn't need that at all, especially after missing one a few weeks ago (in the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City)," Lampard told Sky Sports.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday December 19

     Arsenal 3-0 Hull
     Aston Villa 1-0 Stoke
     Blackburn 0-2 Tottenham
     Fulham 3-0 Man Utd
     Man City 4-3 Sunderland
     Portsmouth 0-2 Liverpool

    Sunday December 20

     Everton 1-1 Birmingham
     West Ham 1-1 Chelsea
     Wolverhampton 2-0 Burnley

    Monday December 21

     Wigan Athletic v Bolton

    "I wish he'd have made me retake the Man City one."

    Chelsea were sluggish for long periods and fell behind on the stroke of half time to Italian Alessandro Diamanti's penalty after England defender Ashley Cole fouled Jack Collison.

    West Ham worked hard and thoroughly deserved a share of the spoils at the end of the London derby.

    Wolves manager Mick McCarthy made nine changes to the controversial line-up that lost 3-0 at Manchester United on Tuesday and was rewarded with goals from Nenad Milijas and Kevin Doyle against Burnley.

    McCarthy had been widely criticised for resting players in midweek, making 10 changes at United to the team that beat Tottenham Hotspur the previous Saturday.

    The Premier League has also asked for an explanation for his actions.

    'Dubious characters'

    "I have to say there have been one or two dubious characters who have been giving me a bit of stick," said McCarthy.

    "They have questioned my honesty and integrity when I think I stand up for those things.

    "I've never cheated in my life so that does bother me. I'm not looking for vindication by it, I'm looking for points."

    At Goodison Park, Everton took an early lead against Birmingham when Diniyar Bilyaletdinov gathered a Louis Saha flick on five minutes and slammed the ball into the net.

    However, Birmingham stretched their unbeaten league run to nine matches when Sebastian Larsson finished off a slick passing move in the 22nd minute.

    On Monday, Wigan Athletic entertain Bolton Wanderers in the Lancashire derby.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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