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Seven up as Chelsea thrash Aston Villa

Frank Lampard scored four goals as Chelsea went top of the Premier League with a 7-1 thrashing of Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

sports Updated: Mar 27, 2010 23:52 IST

Frank Lampard scored four goals as Chelsea went top of the Premier League with a 7-1 thrashing of Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Victory was Chelsea's biggest win of the season, supplanting their 7-2 success over Sunderland, and and left the Londoners two points in front of Manchester United as they inflicted Villa's worst top flight defeat in 23 years. It also saw midfielder Lampard take his tally for the season to 21 goals as he passed the 150 mark in all for the Blues.

And it meant Chelsea had scored 12 goals in a week after a 5-0 rout of Portsmouth.

Arsenal stayed third after dropping points in a 1-1 draw away to Birmingham.

Tottenham, Arsenal's bitter north London rivals, maintained their grip on fourth place and kept their Champions League hopes very much alive with a 2-0 win at home to Portsmouth.

Elsewhere Stoke piled the pressure on West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola with a 1-0 win at Upton Park.

A second home defeat in a week, their sixth straight loss which is their worst run in the top flight for 43 years, left the Hammers above the relegation zone solely on goal difference after fellow strugglers Hull won 2-0 at home to Fulham.

Meanwhile Wolves and Everton shared the points in a goalless draw.

Lampard gave Chelsea a 15th minute lead when he struck at the far post following Florent Malouda's centre across the face of goal.

But Villa — who face holders Chelsea in next month's FA Cup semi-final — equalised in similar fashion when Norway striker John Carew turned in Ashley Young's cross in the 29th minute.

But a minute before half-time Lampard restored Chelsea's lead with a fiercely struck penalty after James Collins tripped Yuri Zhirkov in the box.

Malouda then wrapped up the points when the France winger turned in a cross from Russia international Zhirkov three minutes before the hour mark. And soon afterwards Lampard had the fifth hattrick of his career when he scored his second penalty following a foul on Zhirkov by Richard Dunne.

Villa, whose hopes of a fourth place finish and Champions League football next season, suffered a huge blow, conceded another when Malouda scored his 13th of the season after being played in by Lampard. Salomon Kalou made it 6-1 and there was still time for Lampard to score his fourth goal.