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Lampard double puts Chelsea top

Last updated on: September 24, 2006 15:35 IST

Champions Chelsea hit the top of the table for the first time this season when a second-half Frank Lampard double earned them a 2-0 victory at local rivals Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday.

England midfielder Lampard, criticised for his performances at the World Cup, took his season's tally to four goals with a 73rd-minute penalty and right-foot finish seven minutes later.

Manchester United failed to join Chelsea at the top when they were held 1-1 at Reading in the evening game -- Cristiano Ronaldo rescuing a point for the Reds with a stunning strike.

Liverpool and Arsenal, both on the up after poor starts, enjoyed emphatic 3-0 home wins.

Dutchman Dirk Kuyt struck his second goal in four days at Anfield as Liverpool brushed Tottenham Hotspur aside in a rampant second half.

Chile winger Mark Gonzalez opened the scoring and John Arne Riise's thunderbolt condemned Spurs to their fourth defeat in six league matches.

Arsenal's wait for a first league win at their new Emirates Stadium ended with victory over Sheffield United as French duo William Gallas and Thierry Henry were both on target.


Martin O'Neill's much-improved Aston Villa climbed to fourth place with a 2-0 home victory over Charlton Athletic, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Luke Moore scoring the goals at Villa Park.

Arjen Robben struck the underside of the bar for Chelsea in the first half but they had to wait until the 63rd minute for their superiority to be rewarded when Liam Rosenoir handled in the box and Lampard dispatched the penalty.

Lampard then made the game safe after being set up by Didier Drogba's pass.

"We clearly deserved the three points," Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho told Sky Sports, picking out Lampard for special praise. "He needs to know he is one of the best players in the world and he needs to know always," added the Portuguese.

Chelsea's fourth straight win takes them to 15 points from six matches, two ahead of surprise early pacesetters Portsmouth, who host Bolton Wanderers on Monday, and Manchester United.

Reading, who have adapted well to the Premier League after storming to promotion last season, looked on course for a famous victory against United when Irish striker Kevin Doyle held his nerve to score from the penalty spot shortly after halftime.

The former Cork City player beat Edwin van der Sar after Gary Neville handled a skidding cross in the area.

United's pressure finally paid off after 73 minutes when Portugal forward Ronaldo produced a superb individual goal.


Liverpool are up to sixth after maintaining their perfect home record this season against a Tottenham side who have managed just two goals in six games.

Jermaine Jenas was guilty of a horrible miss for Spurs in the second half, prodding wide from a metre out, just 30 seconds before Gonzalez put Liverpool in front.

Kuyt, who scored his first goal for the Merseyside club against Newcastle United in midweek and is keeping England striker Peter Crouch on the bench, added the second and Riise's deadly left foot completed the rout.

Arsenal are up to eighth, seven points behind Chelsea, after breaking through a resolute Sheffield United side in the second half at the Emirates.

The Gunners breathed a sigh of relief after 65 minutes when defender Gallas, signed from Chelsea last month, rifled a shot into the net after a clever build up.

Phil Jagielka's own goal four minutes later made the points safe before a rare Henry header added some gloss.  

Watford are still looking for their first win of the season but moved off the bottom with a 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic.

Manchester City, beaten by lower league Chesterfield in the League Cup in midweek, responded with a 2-0 home victory against West Ham United with Georgios Samaras scoring both goals.

Blackburn Rovers won 1-0 at Middlesbrough.

Martyn Herman
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