CHELSEA decided to give tension a miss as they rattled in the goals to leave themselves two wins shy of lifting the Premiership crown. It was the third time this season they have hit seven. A hat-trick for Salomon Kalou, two from Frank Lampard, a first Premier League goal from Daniel Sturridge and one from Florent Malouda returned Chelsea to the top of the table – their stay at the top having been briefly interrupted by Manchester United 24 hours ago. Now it will be all about ending next week on top as well so they are in the box seat on the final weekend of the season. Easier said than done when Liverpool away is the fixture standing in the way of that ambition. One thing is for sure. On this showing from the visitors, Chelsea won't want to rely on Stoke taking points at Old Trafford on the final day to help them out. The Blues were quick out of the traps – determined not to allow a mood of anxiety to creep up on them in their search for the win they needed and they gained their reward. On 24 minutes, Malouda picked out Didier Drogba lurking on the right of the penalty area and after an audacious piece of skill to bring the ball under control, the Ivorian played a perfect low cross along the six yard box that Kalou nodded in easily. Eight minutes later, Kalou pounced after Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen invitingly palmed aside a stinging low drive from Lampard. Sorensen was hurt in the incident and played no further part. His replacement Asmir Begovic fared no better and was soon picking the ball out of the net as Lampard converted from the spot after Kalou had been brought down by Robert Huth. Kalou's hat-trick arrived on 68 minutes when he was set free in acres of space by Lampard's chip and although Begovic stopped his right foot effort, the man of the moment stayed composed and netted with a left foot shot via a defender's foot on the line. Lampard netted his 25th of the season with a superb right foot volley with the outside of the boot from sub Sam Hutchinson's deep cross. Then Sturridge - on for Kalou - galloped onto a fine Drogba pass and rounded the keeper for goal number six. It should have been more, but Malouda somehow missed from a yard and was then denied by the keeper from not much further out - although he did finally rattle in a goal from a Joe Cole cross at the death. Maybe he's saving it for next week.
Seventh heaven again for back-to-the-top Blues
CHELSEA decided to give tension a miss as they rattled in the goals to leave themselves two wins shy of lifting the Premiership crown.