Chelsea humiliate Stoke
Salomon Kalou gestures to Stoke's captain after scoring. (AFP)
London - Chelsea's Premier League title bid was boosted by a 7-0 demolition of Stoke on Sunday with Salomon Kalou scoring a hat-trick.
Frank Lampard scored twice, while Daniel Sturridge and Florent Malouda added late goals to give Chelsea a one-point lead over defending champion Manchester United and a goal-difference advantage of eight.
Chelsea will win its first championship title since 2006 if it beats Liverpool and Wigan in its last two games.
"I thought 7-0 was a fair scoreline because of the chances we created and how we played," Lampard said. "The goal difference is to our advantage now but we still have to go and win our last two games."
Chelsea was briefly toppled from the summit on Saturday when United beat Tottenham 3-1, but a victory over Stoke never looked beyond Carlo Ancelotti's side.
Captain John Terry, who was suspended after being sent off at Spurs, was not missed in central defense with goalkeeper Petr Cech never troubled.
Chelsea left back Ashley Cole had a comfortable return to action after 10 weeks out with a broken ankle.
Stoke's afternoon began badly when Abdoulaye Faye limped off in the 10th minute with a thigh injury. But his replacement, Ryan Shawcross, immediately made a decisive block as Cole hit the rebound after goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen had parried Lampard's 30-meter (yard) strike.
Soon after, Drogba had a header saved by Sorensen and then volleyed over. The Ivory Coast striker provided the assist in the 24th minute for Chelsea's first goal, with Kalou almost on the ground six meters (yards) out as he met Drogba's cross.
Kalou was on target again seven minutes later when Lampard's shot was parried by Sorensen, sliding to send the ball over the line with his left boot but appearing to catch Sorensen's elbow with his right boot.
The Denmark goalkeeper was carried off on a scretcher and received oxygen after being treated.
Kalou played a part in Chelsea's third goal, earning a penalty after being hauled down by Robert Huth. Lampard slotted the spot kick into the bottom right corner past replacement goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
The fourth goal came in the 68th when Kalou charged down the right flank. Begovic blocked the initial shot from a tight angle shot, but Kalou fired the rebound into the net.
A fifth should have come when Nicolas Anelka crossed to Malouda at the far post, but the France winger sliced wide.
Lampard was on target, though, in the 81st when he volleyed past Begovic after latching on to substitute Sam Hutchinson's cross.
As Stoke completely capitulated - with the team's Premier League survival already guaranteed - Sturridge was fed by Drogba and rounded Begovic before slotting home. Malouda turned home Joe Cole's cross in the 89th.