x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Chelsea launch strong challenge on title bid

A crushing 5-0 victory over Portsmouth puts the Blues a point behind Premier League leaders Manchester United.

A David James howler helped Chelsea to a 5-0 victory at bottom-club Portsmouth as the Blues moved a point behind Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United. James was left red faced in the 32nd minute when he raced out of his area to clear a harmless ball forward but missed it completely, albeit after an unfortunate bobble, to allow Didier Drogba the simplest of finishes. Florent Malouda struck twice after half-time before Drogba got his second and Frank Lampard competed the rout in injury-time as the Blues bounced back from their 1-1 draw at Blackburn on Sunday in emphatic style. Portsmouth remain 14 points adrift of safety and their relegation could be confirmed on Saturday week when they travel to Blackburn. Manchester City and Aston Villa both dropped points in their bid to claim a Champions League place. City stayed two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham after their unbeaten home league record this season was ended 2-0 by Everton. Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta scored the goals either side of half-time. Villa were held at home by a club in the bottom-half for the second consecutive game as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Sunderland.

The Black Cats had gone ahead when Fraizer Campbell finished well following Keiran Richardson's defence-splitting through-ball. John Carew equalised eight minutes later when he tapped in from close range from an Ashley Young cross. David Dunn bagged a brace as Blackburn extended their unbeaten run at home to seven games with a 2-1 win over Birmingham. Dunn fired the home side ahead after eight minutes before a 56th-minute James McFadden free-kick levelled matters. Dunn had the final say 11 minutes later as he headed in a corner to snatch the win. * PA Sport