Mon, Dec 20, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Blues blank the Canaries

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL With No. 2 Everton held 0-0 at Blackburn, the result meant that Chelsea, which has 43 points from 18 games, increased its big lead at the top

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Chelsea's Frank Lampard, right, goes for the ball with Norwich City's Craig Fleming during their English Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in London on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Chelsea scored three first half goals and beat struggling Norwich 4-0 on Saturday to move six points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Damien Duff, Frank Lampard and Arjen Robben put Jose Mourinho's Blues in control at Stamford Bridge and substitute Didier Drogba headed a fourth near the end to complete an easy victory.

With second place Everton held 0-0 at struggling Blackburn, the result meant that Chelsea, which has 43 points from 18 games, increased its big lead.

It also meant that defending champion Arsenal, which visits Portsmouth on Sunday, is now eight points behind the Blues in the title race and two behind Everton while Manchester United remained in contention after a 5-2 beating of Crystal Palace.

"At this moment, I don't think anybody is better than us," Mourinho said after his team's 13th league victory. "A better team than us can stop us but if we keep our mental, tactical and physical condition, nobody can stop us.

"Maybe Arsenal or Manchester United can jump to a different level or maybe we can slide into a lower level. But, at this moment, we feel strong and we are ready for the fight."

There were other one-sided games in the Premier League.

Paul Scholes scored twice to make it six goals in six games as Manchester United outplayed Palace at Old Trafford even though Ian Dowie's men twice equalized.

Wayne Rooney missed a penalty but Alan Smith, John O'Shea and an own goal by Palace defender Emerson Boyce made sure Alex Ferguson men stay in the hunt, although they remain nine points behind Chelsea.

Striker Jermain Defoe of England scored a hat-trick as Tottenham crushed Harry Redknapp's Southampton 5-1 to win for the fourth time in a row.

"We just keep making mistakes and giving goals away," Redknapp said.

Birmingham beat last place West Bromwich Albion 4-0 and Middlesbrough made it six consecutive home victories by scoring a 3-0 victory over seventh place Aston Villa.

Chris Sutton headed Celtic to a 1-0 victory over next to last Dundee United on Saturday as Martin O'Neill's men moved four points ahead of Rangers in the Scottish title race.

Rangers can cut that to one by winning at Kilmarnock on Sunday when Dundee United will slip to last if Livingston upsets Hearts. Dundee climbed away from last with a 1-0 upset victory over Aberdeen.

Hibernian edged Dunfermline 2-1 thanks to a winner in the third minute of injury time by Derek Riordan.

Promoted Inverness captured a 2-1 victory at Motherwell.

Ronaldinho converted a 79th-minute penalty and FC Barcelona drew 1-1 with Valencia, the first time the league leader has not won at home this season.

Defending champion Valencia frustrated Barcelona, which had won all seven of its previous games at the Camp Nou, in an ill-tempered encounter and took the lead on Italy's Stefano Fiore's 63rd-minute strike.

Barcelona, which had goalkeeper Victor Valdes ejected in the 74th minute, remains 10 points atop the standings.

"There was no fortune in our result. My players worked extremely hard. To stop Barcelona you've got to be fast and you need a thousand eyes," Valencia coach Claudio Ranieri said.

In another game, Zinedine Zidane's injury-time header earned Real Madrid a 3-2 victory at struggling Racing Santander and moved into second place.

Santander twice led on goals by Israeli forward Yossi Benayoun and striker Javi Guerrero, before Michael Owen and Raul Gonzalez replied for Madrid.

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