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Page last updated at 18:25 GMT, Saturday, 23 April 2011 19:25 UK

Chelsea   3 - 0   West Ham

Fernando Torres
Torres had gone 903 minutes without a goal for Liverpool, Spain and Chelsea

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Stamford Bridge

Fernando Torres finally broke his scoring duck for the reigning champions in a victory that maintained Chelsea's flickering challenge for the Premier League title - and left West Ham rooted to the bottom of the table.

The £50m British record capture from Liverpool emerged as a late substitute to end a barren scoring sequence stretching over 903 minutes to help keep Carlo Ancelotti's side in second place, six points behind Manchester United with four games left to play.

The Spanish striker - making his 14th Chelsea appearance since his January move - was mobbed by elated team-mates as he turned in a rain-soaked penalty area with six minutes remaining to send a left-foot finish past keeper Robert Green.

Torres' goal was sandwiched in between a close-range finish from Frank Lampard seconds before the interval and a spectacular strike from Florent Malouda, with an unwitting assist from Torres, in stoppage time.

Ancelotti expects quick Torres improvement

The storm clouds gathered over Stamford Bridge as well as West Ham's Premier League survival hopes, with a torrential downpour making the surface treacherous and thunder and lightning providing a spectacular backdrop, forcing the floodlights to go out for a short spell.

Chelsea deserved their win, with David Luiz hitting the bar and substitute Nicolas Anelka having a shot scrambled off the line after he was played in by Torres at the start of his impressive 14-minute cameo.

West Ham, however, will rue a succession of missed opportunities to claim a precious point, especially a simple chance turned wide by substitute Robbie Keane after 73 minutes with Chelsea protecting a one-goal advantage.

The day belonged to Torres, though. Relief and joy were clear on his face, and on those of his team-mates and coach Ancelotti, when that elusive goal finally arrived in front of the Matthew Harding Stand.

Chelsea are still rank outsiders to chase down United, with a visit to Old Trafford to come, but this win will keep hope flickering while West Ham now face an increasingly desperate battle to survive, especially as they were robbed of newly crowned Footballer of the Year Scott Parker because of an Achilles tendon injury.

PHIL MCNULTY'S BLOG

Torres was once more confined to the bench as Didier Drogba led Chelsea's attack, and almost set up the opening goal inside two minutes when he played in Malouda, who should have done better than give Green the chance to make the block.

Chelsea enjoyed almost total supremacy in possession and territory in the opening exchanges, but West Ham survived to flourish and fashion opportunities of their own as the half progressed, with Freddie Sears prominent.

He did well to hold off Ashley Cole in a straight race down Chelsea's right flank, crossing for Jonathan Spector to test keeper Petr Cech with a header low down at his near post. Sears then almost broke the deadlock himself, only for Cole to clear his close-range effort off the line.

West Ham looked to have survived to see out a satisfying opening period - a satisfaction snatched away as Lampard gave Chelsea the lead seconds before the interval. It was a goal perfectly simple in its creation, Drogba playing in Cole, whose cross was an open invitation for Lampard to fire high past Green from 12 yards.

As the storm rattled around Stamford Bridge, some of the floodlights were affected and the pitch was close to unplayable in part.

Ancelotti and Avram Grant - his counterpart and predecessor - were both forced to make changes to compensate for what looked like serious injuries early in the second half. Michael Essien collapsed holding his knee and was replaced by Yossi Benayoun, while West Ham's Mark Noble was stretchered off, Keane coming on.

Grant confident Hammers can survive

Chelsea continued to be in the ascendancy, with Lampard forcing a fine save from Green and Luiz - who had received treatment after being flattened by Cech in an accidental collision - striking the bar from 25 yards with West Ham's keeper well beaten.

West Ham, however, were still posing a real threat as Demba Ba and Keane both forced saves from Cech in the space of seconds, pursuing what could have been a priceless point.

Their best chance of the game came and went with 17 minutes left when Spector looked to have presented Keane with the simplest of finishes, only for the Spurs loanee to sweep a careless effort wastefully wide.

It prompted Ancelotti to send on Torres for Drogba and he was soon involved, setting up a chance for Anelka, whose effort was cleared off the line by the scrambling Danny Gabbidon.

Torres was in electrifying form, even defying the weather conditions to score his first goal in 732 minutes as a Chelsea player as he hit the ball, which which appeared to be stuck in a puddle, on the turn with his left foot after being played in by Anelka and curling it beyond Green.

And Malouda's thunderous finish, which came about when Anelka misread Torres' pass and the ball fell to the French international, proved the final flourish in a satisfying Chelsea win.

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Chelsea 3-0 West Ham FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Lampard 44
  • Torres 84
  • Malouda 90+3

    Chelsea

    Substitutes

    West Ham

    Substitutes

    Ref: DowdAtt: 41,656
    CHELSEA
    WEST HAM

    Possession

    • Chelsea 51%
    • West Ham 49%

    Attempts on target

    • Chelsea 11
    • West Ham 7

    Attempts off target

    • Chelsea 5
    • West Ham 5

    Corners

    • Chelsea 5
    • West Ham 7

    Fouls

    • Chelsea 7
    • West Ham 13
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+4:19 The match has reached full-time.
    • 90:00+2:37 Assist on the goal came from Fernando Torres.
    • 90:00+2:37 GOAL - Florent MaloudaChelsea 3 - 0 West Ham Florent Malouda finds the net with a goal from just outside the box to the top left corner of the goal. Chelsea 3-0 West Ham.
    • 90:00+2:06 Frederic Piquionne takes a shot. Comfortable save by Petr Cech.
    • 89:42 Victor Obinna takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Frank Lampard.
    • 86:24 Jonathan Spector challenges Nicolas Anelka unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Yossi Benayoun.
    • 85:14 Frederic Piquionne has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the goal.
    • 84:10 The assist for the goal came from Nicolas Anelka.
    • Correction - 83:13 Assist on the goal came from Nicolas Anelka.
    • 83:11 GOAL - Fernando TorresChelsea 2 - 0 West Ham Fernando Torres scores a goal from just inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Chelsea 2-0 West Ham.
    • 82:39 Shot by Demba Ba from outside the box goes high over the crossbar.
    • 82:05 A cross is delivered by Florent Malouda, Wayne Bridge makes a clearance.
    • 81:47 A cross is delivered by Jonathan Spector, Mikel makes a clearance.
    • 81:00 Substitution Victor Obinna comes on in place of Freddie Sears.
    • 80:15 Direct free kick taken by Petr Cech.
    • 80:15 Booking Demba Ba receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
    • Correction - 80:08 Unfair challenge on Marinho David Luiz by Demba Ba results in a free kick.
    • 80:08 Demba Ba challenges Marinho David Luiz unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 79:29 Ashley Cole delivers the ball, Daniel Gabbidon manages to make a clearance.
    • 79:00 Nicolas Anelka produces a curled right-footed shot from 18 yards. Clearance made by Daniel Gabbidon.
    • 77:59 Substitution Frederic Piquionne on for Carlton Cole.
    • 76:38 Unfair challenge on Carlton Cole by Branislav Ivanovic results in a free kick. Thomas Hitzlsperger produces a cross, Close range header by Manuel da Costa goes over the bar.
    • 76:12 Petr Cech takes the indirect free kick.
    • 75:36 Substitution (Chelsea) makes a substitution, with Fernando Torres coming on for Didier Drogba.
    • 75:36 The assistant referee signals for offside against Wayne Bridge.
    • 74:30 Frank Lampard takes the outswinging corner, John Terry takes a shot. Wayne Bridge manages to make a clearance.
    • 73:42 Effort on goal by Robbie Keane from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 73:07 Demba Ba challenges Frank Lampard unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Mikel.
    • 72:38 Thomas Hitzlsperger fouled by Mikel, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Thomas Hitzlsperger.
    • 72:08 Centre by Demba Ba.
    • 70:46 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Branislav Ivanovic by Carlton Cole. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.
    • 70:21 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Demba Ba by Frank Lampard. Daniel Gabbidon takes the free kick.
    • 69:16 Substitution Nicolas Anelka on for Salomon Kalou.
    • 68:53 Effort on goal by Robbie Keane from 12 yards. Save by Petr Cech.
    • 68:37 Demba Ba produces a drilled right-footed shot from 25 yards. Petr Cech makes a save.
    • 68:21 Marinho David Luiz has a drilled shot.
    • 67:23 Inswinging corner taken by Florent Malouda from the right by-line, save by Robert Green.
    • 66:55 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Didier Drogba, clearance by Daniel Gabbidon.
    • 66:09 Manuel da Costa gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Didier Drogba. Free kick taken by Mikel.
    • 64:04 Free kick awarded for a foul by Freddie Sears on John Terry. Mikel takes the direct free kick.
    • 63:31 Effort from deep inside the area by Florent Malouda misses to the right of the goal.
    • 63:29 Frank Lampard produces a drilled right-footed shot from 20 yards. Save by Robert Green.
    • Correction - 62:23 A cross is delivered by Didier Drogba, mishit right-footed shot by Frank Lampard. Save by Robert Green.
    • 62:23 Didier Drogba produces a cross, Frank Lampard takes a shot. Fantastic save by Robert Green.
    • 61:23 The ball is delivered by Robbie Keane, save made by Petr Cech.
    • 59:20 The free kick is delivered right-footed by Didier Drogba from right wing.
    • 58:35 Substitution (West Ham) makes a substitution, with Robbie Keane coming on for Mark Noble.
    • 57:03 Unfair challenge on Branislav Ivanovic by Wayne Bridge results in a free kick.
    • 56:28 Freddie Sears challenges Ashley Cole unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ashley Cole takes the free kick.
    • 55:57 Substitution Yossi Benayoun joins the action as a substitute, replacing Michael Essien.
    • 55:38 Florent Malouda is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Robert Green.
    • 52:06 Mark Noble produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.
    • 51:25 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Thomas Hitzlsperger played to the near post, clearance by Salomon Kalou.
    • 50:33 Salomon Kalou produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the goal.
    • 50:23 The ball is crossed by Didier Drogba.
    • 45:01 The second half begins.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+2:05 The referee blows for half time.
    • 45:00+1:35 The ball is delivered by Florent Malouda, Manuel da Costa manages to make a clearance.
    • 43:20 Assist on the goal came from Ashley Cole.
    • 43:20 GOAL - Frank LampardChelsea 1 - 0 West Ham Frank Lampard scores a goal from inside the penalty area high into the middle of the goal. Chelsea 1-0 West Ham.
    • 40:12 John Terry concedes a free kick for a foul on Carlton Cole. Direct free kick taken by Mark Noble.
    • 39:07 The referee blows for offside against Florent Malouda. Robert Green takes the free kick.
    • 38:51 Shot from 18 yards by Carlton Cole. Blocked by Marinho David Luiz.
    • 37:47 Short corner taken by Mark Noble from the left by-line.
    • 37:43 Freddie Sears produces a cross, clearance made by Marinho David Luiz.
    • 36:45+0:59 Inswinging corner taken by Mark Noble.
    • Correction - 36:45 Inswinging corner taken by Mark Noble from the left by-line.
    • 36:02 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Cole by Freddie Sears. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Cole.
    • 35:19 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Branislav Ivanovic by Carlton Cole. Branislav Ivanovic takes the direct free kick.
    • 33:47 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Didier Drogba, Daniel Gabbidon makes a clearance.
    • 33:38 The ball is crossed by Didier Drogba, Daniel Gabbidon manages to make a clearance.
    • Correction - 30:25 Inswinging corner taken by Mark Noble from the left by-line played to the near post, Freddie Sears takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.
    • 30:25 Mark Noble takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Carlton Cole takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.
    • 28:32 Mark Noble crosses the ball in from the free kick, Branislav Ivanovic makes a clearance.
    • 28:32 Booking Branislav Ivanovic goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
    • 28:06 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Demba Ba by Branislav Ivanovic.
    • 27:25 Effort on goal by Didier Drogba from inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 26:04 Corner taken by Thomas Hitzlsperger played to the near post, clearance by Frank Lampard.
    • 25:51 The ball is delivered by Freddie Sears, Jonathan Spector takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.
    • 24:48 Outswinging corner taken by Frank Lampard from the right by-line, clearance by Carlton Cole.
    • 23:59 Corner taken by Mark Noble from the left by-line, comfortable save by Petr Cech.
    • 23:47 Demba Ba takes a shot from 30 yards. Save by Petr Cech.
    • 20:13 The ball is sent over by Thomas Hitzlsperger.
    • 20:08 The ball is crossed by Lars Jacobsen, clearance made by Branislav Ivanovic.
    • 17:37 Effort from the edge of the area by Florent Malouda goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 15:15 Branislav Ivanovic challenges Demba Ba unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Mark Noble from left wing, save made by Petr Cech.
    • 11:30 Salomon Kalou produces a cross, Shot from 18 yards by Florent Malouda. Daniel Gabbidon gets a block in.
    • 10:31 Drilled right-footed shot by Didier Drogba. Save by Robert Green.
    • 6:26 Free kick taken by Mikel.
    • 6:26 Booking Thomas Hitzlsperger receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
    • 6:20 Unfair challenge on Salomon Kalou by Thomas Hitzlsperger results in a free kick.
    • 5:47 Ashley Cole is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Robert Green.
    • 5:00 Unfair challenge on Mikel by Thomas Hitzlsperger results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Frank Lampard.
    • 4:19 Shot from 35 yards from Didier Drogba. Save by Robert Green.
    • 3:31 John Terry fouled by Carlton Cole, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Marinho David Luiz.
    • 2:49 The assistant referee signals for offside against Ashley Cole. Free kick taken by Robert Green.
    • 2:00 Shot by Florent Malouda from 18 yards. Save by Robert Green.
    • 0:19 Branislav Ivanovic gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Thomas Hitzlsperger. Direct free kick taken by Robert Green.
    • 0:00 The match gets underway.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Barclays Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 23 Apr 2011 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Man Utd 34 39 73
    2 Chelsea 34 37 67
    3 Arsenal 33 32 64
    4 Man City 32 20 56
    5 Tottenham 33 8 55
    6 Liverpool 34 12 52
    7 Everton 34 5 47
    8 Bolton 32 3 43
    9 Newcastle 34 1 41
    10 Sunderland 34 -10 41
    11 Aston Villa 34 -12 41
    12 West Brom 34 -15 40
    13 Fulham 33 1 39
    14 Stoke 33 -3 39
    15 Birmingham 34 -17 38
    16 Blackburn 33 -14 35
    17 Blackpool 34 -22 34
    18 Wigan 34 -23 34
    19 Wolves 33 -20 33
    20 West Ham 34 -22 32

    see also
    Torres joy at first Chelsea goal
    24 Apr 11 |  Premier League
    Saturday football as it happened
    23 Apr 11 |  Football
    Saturday's football photos
    23 Apr 11 |  Football
    Parker wins Writers' season award
    23 Apr 11 |  West Ham
    Chelsea pay record fee for Torres
    31 Jan 11 |  Chelsea



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