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Lampard silences his critics in style

Last updated on: October 3, 2011 13:13 IST

Lampard silences his critics in style

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Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard responded to the critics who have questioned his future by scoring a sizzling hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers on Sunday.

The 33-year-old's 'demise' has been widely reported in British media with commentators wondering if the England international is past his best as he has struggled to earn a regular starting spot for club and country.

Lampard moved quickly to prove himself at the Reebok, however, setting up Daniel Sturridge's second-minute opener before displaying sublime finishing in a treble that helped the London side to a 5-1 win over their woeful hosts.

"There's only one way (to answer critics) and I've been around a long time so it's never always plain sailing and you just have to stay strong and let your football do the talking," Lampard told Sky Sports.

"If you do that, you keep working hard, things come to you and today things came to me."


Image: Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick during the Barclays Premier League match against Bolton Wanderers on Sunday
Photographs: Getty Images
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Lampard eyes England spot

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He will be hoping he might have done enough to catch the eye of England manager Fabio Capello ahead of Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro.

Lampard was left out of the England starting lineup for last month's qualifier in Bulgaria, the first time he had been dropped from the start of a competitive match since 2007.

He was also on the bench for last weekend's league game against Swansea City but manager Andre Villas-Boas denied there were any doubts over Lampard, who also scored in a 1-1 draw at Valencia in the Champions League last week.

"It's good for him because he had a good solid performance alongside the rest of the team. He arrived with the perfect timing in the box," the Portuguese told.


Image: Frank Lampard
Photographs: Getty Images
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'There is lot of football left in me'

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"His talent was never in question ... it's not a question of age, it's a question of competence and this squad is full of competence and the talent of the players is never in question.

"I think we have enough talent to try to continue to challenge for the Premier League."

The victory took Chelsea to third in the table on 16 points from seven games. Manchester United and Manchester City are three points ahead with the champions top on goal difference.

"I just want to contribute when I'm playing and it's great to play with good players," added Lampard, who had the travelling Chelsea fans chanting his name for the rest of the game after he completed his treble in the 59th minute.

"I feel like I've got a lot left in me and I just want to be part of a successful team at the end of the season."


Image: Frank Lampard
Photographs: Getty Images
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Reality bites for Wenger as Arsenal slump continues

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Just seven games into the Premier League season, Arsene Wenger all but conceded an Arsenal title challenge after a 2-1 defeat at north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

A fourth defeat was compounded by a serious injury to France right back Bacary Sagna and Wenger was in a gloomy mood when asked about Arsenal's chances of competing at the top.

"At the moment we have to set ourselves a realistic target to get in touch with those teams who are fighting to stay in the Champions League," Wenger said.

"To say we will win the league is not realistic. We are 12 points behind Manchester United and Manchester City so it is not realistic today to say that we will win the league.

"We have to fight to come back into a much better position."


Image: Arsene Wenger
Photographs: Getty Images
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Sagna shock for Arsenal

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Sagna fell awkwardly under challenge from Benoit Assou-Ekotto in the second half and after leaving the field on a stretcher he was diagnosed with a fractured fibula, according to the French Football Federation.

"The France team doctor, Fabrice Bryand, was informed by his Arsenal colleague of an unstable fracture to Bacary Sagna's right fibula," the FFF statement said.

Since Wenger took charge of Arsenal in 1996 they have never finished outside the top four and are virtual fixtures in the Champions League. But their worst start to a season under the Frenchman has now put their place among the elite in jeopardy.


Image: Bacary Sagna
Photographs: Getty Images
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Marchisio double downs Milan as Juve go top

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A late brace from Claudio Marchisio sent Juventus back alongside Udinese at the top of Serie A after deservedly defeating champions AC Milan 2-0 at their atmospheric new arena, on Sunday.

The Italy midfielder scored his first with a lucky ricochet with three minutes to go after playing a one-two with Mirko Vucinic before making the game safe in injury time, firing a 25-metre volley through goalkeeper Christian Abbiati's legs.

"We deserved to score a long time before," Juve coach Antonio Conte told Italy's Sky Sports TV. "Our intensity and approach were brilliant. We dominated possession, which was very important against a side like Milan, but the best thing that came from tonight was the way we played as a team."

The once mighty Turin side, seventh the last two terms, are unbeaten under new boss Conte with three wins and two draws.
Earlier on Sunday, Udinese beat Bologna 2-0, while 2-0 victories for Cagliari and Palermo over Lecce and Siena helped the island teams join Napoli within a point of the leaders.

A Sebastian Giovinco brace helped Parma beat Genoa 3-1 and Lazio grabbed the three points at Fiorentina thanks to a late Miloslav Klose header in a 2-1 win.


Image: Claudio Marchisio of Juventus FC celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match against AC Milan
Photographs: Getty Images
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Real's Higuain scores hat-trick, Barca go top

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Gonzalo Higuain scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid crushed Espanyol 4-0 away, moving them to within a point of new La Liga leaders Barcelona who won 1-0 at Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

The Argentina striker completed his treble in the 89th minute, shortly after substitute Jose Callejon had made it 3-0. Champions Barca were 1-0 victors at bottom club Sporting where a 12th-minute strike from Adriano Correia was enough to earn them their first away success in the league this season.

Barca have 14 points from six games and are ahead of second-placed Levante on goal difference, after one of the season's surprise early form teams beat another, Real Betis, 1-0 away.

Juanlu's volley went into the net off the legs of Betis goalkeeper Casto Espinosa in the 33rd minute and from there on their rugged defence held firm to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.

The Valencia-based club, who claimed the scalp of Real two weeks ago, were one point ahead of Jose Mourinho's men in third, and Malaga and Valencia who both won on Saturday. "I would like to have one more point, but one point is nothing really," Real coach Jose Mourinho said. "The team that deserve all the attention (at the top) are Levante.


Image: Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid CF (left)
Photographs: Getty Images
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Hanover stun Werder 3-2 with Abdellaoue hat-trick

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Werder Bremen suffered their second defeat of the season when they lost 3-2 at Hanover 96, on Sunday, thanks to a Mohammed Abdellaoue hat-trick to stay three points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

In the only other match on Sunday Schalke 04's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored twice in their 2-1 win at Hamburg SV to lift them to fourth on 15 points, four behind Bayern.

Second-placed Werder, on 16 points, had scorer Marko Arnautovic sent off with a red card in the 78th minute for stepping on Sergio Pinto.

Bayern are top on 19 points following their goalless draw in Hoffenheim on Saturday, with Werder and Borussia Moenchengladbach, who lost 1-0 at Freiburg, on 16 and Hanover in fifth on 15.


Image: Mohammed Abdellaoue
Photographs: Getty Images
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