Chelsea manager realistic as he looks likely to end the season without silverware.
|Chelsea skipper John Terry has a reassuring whisper in the ear of Fernando Torres [AFP]|
Chelsea put their midweek European Champions League loss behind them with a confident 3-1 win against lowly West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Frank Lampard all scored to keep alive the London side’s faint hopes of retaining the Premier League title.
Elsewhere it was trouble at the bottom of the table for Blackpool who went down 3-1 to fellow strugglers Wigan.
Blackpool’s bright start to the season is a fading memory as they recorded their 12th loss in the last 16 league matches and dropped into the relegation zone for the first time.
In the day’s other footballing action, Manchester City beat local rivals Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup semifinal thanks to a goal by Yaya Toure.
Chelsea were the only top-six team in action in the EPL on Saturday as the Blues chalked up their 11th successive league win over West Brom.
After their midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester United, Chelsea’s focus is now entirely on the Premier League and they have Arsenal, and second place, firmly in their sights.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti, widely presumed by many in the British media to be on his way out of the club at the end of the season, started without Fernando Torres or Nicolas Anelka, his preferred strike duo at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Drogba, who came off the bench to score in that match, made the most of his starting opportunity as he scored his side’s opener and had a hand in the next two.
West Brom started full of the confidence that a seven-game unbeaten run builds and went ahead with a neat chipped finish by Peter Odemwingie after 17 minutes.
Saturday April 16
B’ham 2-0 Sunderland
Sunday April 17
Arsenal v Liverpool
Drogba tapped in the equaliser five minutes later and when Scott Carson parried his 26th-minute shot, Kalou banged in the rebound.
Drogba then combined with Florent Malouda to set up Lampard for the third just before the break.
Chelsea cruised home after the break with Torres eventually joining the fray for the last seven minutes and even having the ball in the net – only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
“It was a very important performance after the defeat at Manchester United,” Ancelotti told Sky Sports.
“We were in focus, solid, played a good game and won. We reacted immediately (to their goal) and scored three in the first half.”
Everton continued their late-season rally with a 2-0 win over Blackburn.
Everton are too far behind to make the top four, but stretched their unbeaten streak to seven league matches through goals by Leon Osman and Leighton Baines.
Osman’s deflected shot in the 54th broke the deadlock at Goodison Park before Baines converted a penalty in the 75th after Phil Jones had fouled Seamus Coleman.
Seventh-place Everton are just one point behind local rivals Liverpool, who are aiming to win at the Emirates Stadium for the first time on Sunday.
Birmingham eased their relegation worries with a 2-0 win over Sunderland and Aston Villa did likewise with a 2-1 win at West Ham.
United top the table with 69 points, seven ahead of Arsenal who host Liverpool on Sunday. Chelsea are third on 61 with Manchester City on 56 and Tottenham Hotspur fifth on 53.
London’s Wembley Stadium played host to the Football Association (FA) Cup semi-final between rivals Manchester City and Manchester United.
Yaya Toure shattered United’s treble dream as City won 1-0 to reach next month’s FA Cup final.
Ivory Coast midfielder Toure kept City on course for their first piece of silverware in 35 years after punishing a mistake by United midfielder Michael Carrick to settle a pulsating derby after 52 minutes.
League leaders United had Paul Scholes sent off for an ugly challenge on City defender Pablo Zabaleta as their dreams of repeating their 1999 treble were dashed.