Chelsea 4-0 Sunderland (Sky Sports)
Chelsea Step Up Champions League Chase
Chelsea kept their Champions League hopes alive with their third 4-0 win on the trot as they continued to close the gap at the top of the Premiership with a convincing display against Sunderland.
William Gallas bundled home his first Premiership goal after 23 minutes. Graeme Le Saux whipped in a corner which Marcel Desailly headed down, and the Dutch defender used his thigh to push it home from close range.
Eidur Gudjohnsen grabbed his 22nd goal of the season after 72 minutes, linking up well with Jesper Gronkjaer before cheekily dinking the ball over Thomas Sorensen.
Mikael Forssell made it three after 84 minutes - a minute after coming off the bench - and with less than a minute to go Blues fans were singing 'we want four' when Sam Dalla Bona crashed in from the edge of the area.
Chelsea have now scored 15 goals in their last four games and have their sights firmly set on finishing in the top four.
In contrast, the visitors desperately missed top scorer Kevin Phillips. The Black Cats played well before Chelsea's second-half onslaught proved too much and they now face a battle to secure top flight football for next season.
There was a somewhat dull start to the encounter. Mario Melchiot's miss-hit pass across the edge of his own box gave Sunderland captain Michael Gray the first chance of the game after just eight minutes but he managed to totally miss the target altogether.
Cameroon international Patrick Mboma had a great chance after 12 minutes when he turned cleverly in the Blues area, but his shot was well gathered by Carlo Cudicini.
Gallas opened the scoring with his second tap-in in a week. Le Saux floated an in-swinging corner from the right and Desailly's nodded down, and from six-yards Gallas somehow used his thigh to nudge the ball past Gavin McCann.
Sunderland still looked in the game at that point and went close just before half time when Gray delivered a far-post corner from the right. McCann beat Cudicini only to see his header bounce wide.
The visitors came out after the break with a more determined approach and quickly forced a smart save from Cudicini after 47 minutes. Kevin Kilbane hit a ferocious drive from 25 yards, and the Blues goalkeeper dived to his left to push it round the post.
Chelsea realistically wrapped up the game with a well-taken goal after 72 minutes by Gudjohnsen. The in-form striker was released by Gronkjaer and, as Sorensen came off his line, the Icelander delicately chipped the ball into the far corner.
Gudjohnsen was replaced by Forssell after 82 minutes, and within a minute the super-sub played a one-two with Le Saux on the edge of the box and buried the ball in the back of the net for Chelsea's third.
Chelsea's rout was completed in injury time when Dalla Bona crashed home the fourth from the edge of the box.
Melchiot, Desailly, Gallas, Babayaro, Gronkjaer (Stanic 79), Dalla
Bona, Lampard, Le Saux (Zola 86), Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen (Forssell