Premier League Roundup, Mar. 24

BY foxsports • March 24, 2010

Chelsea moved to within a point of leader Manchester United by cruising to a 5-0 victory over bottom-place Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

A blunder by David James gifted Chelsea the lead in the 32nd. James raced out to make a routine clearance after Deco tried to play through Didier Drogba but the England international completely missed the ball, leaving the Ivory Coast forward to tap into an empty net.

Portsmouth's night got worse before the break when Ricardo Rocha clashed with Florent Malouda and was carried off with a suspected fractured cheek bone.

Chelsea took control in the second half with Malouda grabbing two before the hour mark, Drogba adding another before setting up Frank Lampard's header in stoppage time.

In another boost to Chelsea's title hopes, goalkeeper Petr Cech and defender Ricardo Carvalho returned after a month out.

While Portsmouth is consigned to relegation after being docked nine points for seeking bankruptcy protection, it does have an FA Cup semifinal against Tottenham to look forward to on April 11 at Wembley Stadium.

"Portsmouth will have a go at us - they were well smashed up tonight, but Chelsea had to win," Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said.

"Everyone will love to see Portsmouth get to the final (because of its financial problems). I accept that. If I was not the manager of Tottenham or Portsmouth, I would. They have been through the mill this year."

Tottenham's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were boosted by Man City's loss to Everton, with the north London club remaining two points ahead of the fifth-place team with eight matches to go.

Adding to the celebratory mood at White Hart Lane after their FA Cup triumph was Man City's failure to dislodge Spurs from fourth spot by falling at home.

"We got the result tonight and City losing was just the icing on the cake along with Villa not winning," Redknapp said. "But I wouldn't write Liverpool off (in sixth)."

Cahill headed Everton in front in the 33rd after latching onto Leighton Baines' cross. Big-spending City's first home loss of the season was confirmed when Mikel Arteta netted Everton's second in the 85th.

In a fraught conclusion to the match, both managers - City's Roberto Mancini and Everton's David Moyes - were sent off after confronting each other.

Aston Villa is a further two points adrift in seventh after being held to a 1-1 draw by Sunderland.

Villa's hopes of breaking into the top four are fading having drawn seven of its last 10 games.

John Carew, who scored a late equalizer in Saturday's 2-2 draw, rescued another point for Villa by canceling out Fraizer Campbell's goal for Sunderland.

At Ewood Park, David Dunn scored twice against former club Birmingham to clinch a 2-1 victory that moves Sam Allardyce's team 14 points clear of the relegation zone with seven games to play.


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