News24

Chelsea banish Euro blues

2011-04-16 18:38

London - Chelsea bounced back from the disappointment of their European exit to record a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

With leaders Manchester United taking on Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals and Arsenal playing Liverpool on Sunday, Chelsea's trip to the Hawthorns took centre stage in a reduced Premier League programme.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti -- who admitted on Friday he may face the sack at the end of what is likely to be a trophy-less season -- must have feared the worst after Peter Odemwingie fired the Baggies ahead on 17 minutes.

But Chelsea, who had left record signing Fernando Torres on the bench, responded swiftly, scoring three times through Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Frank Lampard to lead 3-1 at half-time.

Minnows Blackpool sunk into the relegation zone after crashing 3-1 at home to fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic, who moved out of the bottom three for the first time since early February with a vital win.

Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega fired Wigan ahead after only three minutes, taking advantage of a slip by Blackpool defender Craig Cathcart before beating Matt Gilks with a low shot.

Wigan striker Charles N'Zogbia made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time to ensure there was no way back for Blackpool.

Neal Eardley's 67th-minute own goal compounded the Seasiders' misery before DJ Campbell grabbed a late consolation effort.

West Ham's relegation fears mounted after Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor pounced in injury time at Upton Park to give the visitors a 2-1 victory.

West Ham striker Robbie Keane had put the Londoners 1-0 up after only 105 seconds, sweeping into the roof of the net from 12 yards after Villa failed to deal with a corner.

But Villa levelled through Darren Bent on 36 minutes, the England striker heading in from a Luke Young cross. The game seemed destined for a draw until Agbonlahor popped up in the first minute of injury time to sink the Hammers.

The defeat left West Ham second from bottom, two points adrift of safety with five games remaining.

Sunderland's miserable run of form continued after they crashed 2-0 against Birmingham at St Andrews.

Birmingham went ahead shortly before half-time, Swedish international Sebastian Larsson capitalising after Simon Mignolet and Phil Bardsley failed to deal with a Cameron Jerome flick-on.

The Blues made sure of the points on 66 minutes, Craig Gardner lashing in a powerful 20-yard effort to make it 2-0.

Sunderland have now lost eight of their last nine league games to leave themselves only five points clear of the drop zone.

In-form Everton stretched their unbeaten run to six matches with a 2-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers that nudged the Indian-owned Lancashire club ever closer to the relegation zone.

Leon Osman put the Toffees ahead on 54 minutes after a well-worked short corner routine before a Leighton Baines penalty on 75 minutes sealed a win that leaves Rovers just two points clear of the drop in 16th place.

AFP