posted on Dec, 18 2004 @ 11:56 AM
Chelsea moved six points clear at the top of the Barclays Premiership with an emphatic 4-0 hammering of struggling Norwich at Stamford Bridge.
The deadlock was broken early in the match when Damien Duff picked up a stray pass and fired the ball past Robert Green. Frank Lampard scored his 50th
Premiership goal in typically thrilling style with half-time approaching, rifling home after good work by Arjen Robben to double the lead. Robben then
got in on the action himself, making it 3-0 a minute before the break. Norwich put up more resistence in the second half, but 24million striker Didier
Drogba came off the bench to grab Chelsea's fourth seven minutes from time.
Second-placed Everton lost ground on the Premiership leaders with a goalless draw at Blackburn. Both sides had chances to win and as the full-time
whistle approached young Rovers striker Paul Gallagher had a goal disallowed for offside.
High-flying Middlesbrough weathered an Aston Villa storm to win 3-0 at the Riverside. Boro took the lead 20 minutes into the game after dominating the
early stages. Gareth Southgate cleared Gareth Barry's effort off the line before George Boateng, fed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink who buried his shot past
Thomas Sorensen from 20 yards. Boro were up against it in the second half but on the counter attack, after Olof Mellberg gave the ball away, Joseph
Desire-Job took advantage to make it 2-0 after 68 minutes. Villa again drove forward with no success and were punished when defender Michael Reiziger
completed the scoring with two minutes left to play.
Harry Redknapp's frustrating start to life in the Southampton hotseat continued at White Hart Lane as Tottenham cruised to a 5-1 walkover. Calamitous
Southampton defending allowed Fredi Kanoute to centre the ball to Jermain Defoe, who slammed it home from six yards. Defoe took his tally to 13 goals
for the season so far when he exposed Southampton's creky defence again after 27 minutes, Kanoute again turning provider to put the home side two
goals up. As Saints waited for the half-time whistle, Kanoute turned goalscorer to put the game beyond the visitors. Peter Crouch pulled one back two
minutes after the re-start with a well-taken header. But any hopes of a real fightback were distinguished when Defoe completed his hat-trick. Antti
Niemi spilled Michael Brown's shot into the England striker's path and with Sven-Goran Eriksson watching, tapped the ball home. Robbie Keane came off
the bench to add further insult to Southampton's injury, scoring to make it 5-1.
In a scrappy Lancashire derby Bolton's poor recent run continued as Manchester City took all three points at the Reebok Stadium. Nicolas Anelka
thought he had been illegally felled in the box, and although no penalty was given, the ball went to midfielder Joey Barton who gleefully fired home
to put City ahead and hand Kevin Keegan a vital win.
Earlier in the day, Birmingham completed their second derby win in a week with a 4-0 thumping of West Brom in a midday kick-off at St Andrews. Former
Blues defender Darren Purse seemed to pull Clinton Morrison over in the box and City midfielder Robbie Savage stepped up to score from the spot just
three minutes into the match. In-form Clinton Morrison quickly doubled the lead with a cool finish 20 minutes later and the game was put beyond Bryan
Robson's men when Emile Heskey showed a cool head to fire home a third on the half-hour mark. The boos rang out from the West Brom section at
half-time as Robson was made to feel the pressure from the Baggies fans. Darren Anderton compounded their misery seven minutes from time when his
deflected free-kick made it 4-0.