Chelsea back on top after battering Blackburn

LONDON - Chelsea reclaimed top spot in the Premier League with a crushing 5-0 win over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday but Tottenham Hotspur were brought down to earth when Stoke City snatched a late 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane.

An early own goal and four strikes in 15 minutes in a rampant second half, including two for Frank Lampard, did the job for Chelsea, who lost their last league game at Aston Villa but now top the standings again on 24 points. Glenn Whelan's superb 86th-minute goal secured Stoke their first away win of the season and first at White Hart Lane since 1975. Elsewhere on Saturday, Burnley's 100 percent home record ended with a 3-1 defeat by Wigan Athletic and Sunderland's good run was halted by a 2-1 loss at Birmingham City.

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa drew 1-1 at Molineux while Hull City and Portsmouth produced a dire goalless draw. GOOD SAVES

Chelsea were in control from the start against Blackburn and their pressure paid off when Gael Givet turned a Nicolas Anelka cross into his own net after 20 minutes.

Paul Robinson made some good saves to keep Chelsea at bay in a one-sided first half but he was helpless to keep out Lampard's shot and should have done better when beaten by Michael Essien's 30-metre effort early in the second.

Didier Drogba was brought down for penalty which Lampard dutifully despatched and Drogba headed in from a corner.

There were more plus points for Chelsea with midfielder Joe Cole looking sharp on his first league start since January, a first appearance of the season for substitute Paulo Ferreira and a debut off the bench for Dutch defender Jeffrey Bruma.

"We had to work for it, they're a very difficult team to play against," Lampard told ESPN. "But once we pushed on in the second half that was it.

"I think everyone knows what Cole brings. He's something different, he runs with the ball, he can create something out of nothing. He's a different class."


Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen was taken ill in the warm-up at White Hart Lane but Steve Simonsen proved a more than able replacement as he enjoyed a terrific afternoon.

Niko Kranjcar hit a post and Peter Crouch went close several times as Spurs were denied repeatedly by Simonsen.

Tottenham were reduced to 10 men for the last 12 minutes when Aaron Lennon went off injured with all the substitutes used and Stoke took advantage when Ricardo Fuller stormed down the wing and squared for Whelan to curl in the winner.

"We've got good group of lads, they all work hard, they all have a go and we know that's a great three points today," Stoke manager Tony Pulis told Sky Sports News.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told BBC Radio: "They defended for their lives and did it well and we just couldn't get a break. We had three or four kicked off the line, hit the post and their keeper had a great day but with 10 men that last 15 minutes was difficult."