Chelsea win eases pressure on coach Villas-Boas

Reuters , Saturday 25 Feb 2012

Chelsea ended a five-match run without a win when they beat Bolton Wanderers 3-0 in the Premier League on Saturday to ease some of the pressure on under-fire coach Andre Villas-Boas

Chelsea V Bolton

However goals from David Luiz, who curled in the opener after 48 minutes, a 61st minute close-range Didier Drogba header and a 79th minute volley from Frank Lampard, who struck his 150th career league goal, lifted some of the gloom surrounding Stamford Bridge in recent weeks.

The result lifted Chelsea to fourth place in the table, 14 points behind leaders Manchester City who play Blackburn Rovers in an evening kickoff (1730 GMT).

With second-placed Manchester United and third placed Tottenham Hotspur not playing until Sunday, City lead the table with 60 points, followed by United on 58, Spurs on 53 and Chelsea on 46.

Villas-Boas told Sky Sports afterwards: “It was a good result and gets us back on track for Champions League qualification. It was an important three points and hopefully we can build on that for the future.

“There is a big fixture tomorrow between Arsenal and Tottenham and hopefully we can benefit from that in some way.”

Newcastle United’s hopes of a top four finish took a knock as they were held 2-2 at home by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

They raced into a two-goal lead with goals from Papiss Demba Cisse and an edge-of-the-box screamer from Jonas Gutierrez after 18 minutes but Wolves, in Terry Connor’s first match as caretaker manager since Mick McCarthy was sacked this month, fought back with goals by Matt Jarvis and Kevin Doyle to edge out of the relegation zone.

Fulham pushed their former boss Mark Hughes, now managing their West London neighbours Queens Park Rangers, closer to the bottom three with a 1-0 win at Loftus Road where Pavel Pogrebnyak scored the only goal after seven minutes.

Mali international Samba Diakite was sent off on his QPR debut, the fifth QPR player sent off at home this season. Rangers, back in the top flight this season for the first time since 1996, now face an uphill battle to stay up.

Hughes, who left Fulham last year and became QPR’s boss last month, appeared to snub his replacement at Fulham, Martin Jol, at the final whistle, following the defeat which leaves him with just one win from his six league matches in charge at Rangers.

They slipped to 17th on 21 points, the same number as Blackburn and only one more than Bolton and bottom of the table Wigan Athletic who drew 0-0 at home to Aston Villa.

West Bromwich Albion followed up their 5-1 win over Wolves two weeks ago with a 4-0 win over Sunderland and now look safe in 12th place.

On Sunday Manchester United travel to Norwich City, Arsenal are at home to Spurs in the North London derby and Stoke City play Swansea City.

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