Brilliant Blues Nail Hammers  (Sky Sports)

West Ham United 1 Chelsea 3

Frank Lampard, scorer of Chelsea's first goalChelsea continued their relentless charge towards the Premiership title with a 3-1 win over West Ham to extend their lead at the top of the table.

Second half goals from Hernan Crespo and Didier Drogba helped give Chelsea all three points after Marlon Harewood had cancelled out Frank Lampard's opener

Chelsea started brightly and created the first chance of the game in the very first minute when Lampard saw his deep free kick tipped over the crossbar by Roy Carroll.

The contest threatened to boil over on eight minutes when Nigel Reo-Coker caught Michael Essien with a late tackle to spark a mini-brawl among players on both sides.

Essien was stretchered off with the injury and although he returned to the action to play on after lengthy treatment he was forced off on 13 minutes and was replaced by Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Chelsea came close to scoring two minutes later when Arjen Robben got on the end of Asier del Horno's left wing cross inside the box and his acrobatic volley was saved by Carroll.

The visitors did break the deadlock on 25 minutes with Lampard, who was booed throughout on his return to Upton Park, finding the way to silence the home fans with a fine strike.

Yossi Benayoun made a mess of clearing a long throw into the box with his header falling invitingly to Lampard who needed no second invitation to drive his half volley into the net past Carroll.

Chelsea almost doubled their lead on 36 minutes when Robben burst past a couple of challenges to break into the box and his fierce strike was superbly tipped round the post by Carroll.

There was certainly no love lost between the two sides and Geremi was lucky to escape any action on two occasions when he appeared to catch Benayoun and Reo-Coker with flailing arms.

Ricardo Carvalho was fortunate to get away without a caution just before half time when he hauled down Harewood on the edge of the box and both players had to be talked to by referee Howard Webb as they looked to carry on their argument.

West Ham came flying out of the blocks for the start of the second half and caught Chelsea cold when Harewood got through to equalise.

Reo-Coker played Harewood through on goal with a fine pass and although Cech got a touch on Harewood shot's he followed up his shot to touch it over the line ahead of the retreating Geremi.

The goal stung Chelsea into action and Carroll prevented them restoring their lead just three minutes later when he kept out Lampard's close-range shot after Drogba had cleverly dummied Duff's cross to give Lampard a sight of goal.

Robben had two chances to score for Chelsea within a minute when he firstly volleyed over the bar following a poor header from Christian Dailly and then he dragged a right-footed shot just wide after latching on to a knockdown from Drogba.

Harewood made a chance for himself on 57 minutes when he turned Carvalho and fired in a rising shot over the top.

Drogba had the next chance for Chelsea when he headed Lampard's corner straight at Carroll.

Jose Mourinho made a change on the hour mark bringing on Crespo for Duff and the move paid immediate dividends with the Argentine finding the net within a minute of his introduction.

Drogba robbed Carl Fletcher of possession to enable Robben to collect the ball and his pass beat the West Ham offside trap to send Crespo through on goal and the deadly striker coolly rounded Carroll before driving the ball into the empty net.

Two minutes later Robben went close to adding to Chelsea's lead when he cut inside Paul Konchesky and saw his curling shot just fly the wrong side of the far post.

Crespo had two great chances within the space of a minute to make the game safe, but he fluffed both opportunities.

The former Milan star again broke the West Ham offside trap to get on the end of Robben's pass on 75 minutes, but he curled his shot wide of the target.

Seconds later Drogba fizzed over a delightful cross to Crespo at the back post, but he volleyed his effort over the top.

Chelsea did grab the third goal they deserved ten minutes from time when a brilliant pass from Gudjohnsen sent Drogba scampering clear on goal and he drilled his shot powerfully past Carroll into the bottom corner.

Benayoun had a chance to pull a goal back late on when he found himself unmarked inside the box, but the curled his shot over the top.


West Ham United  Carroll, Collins, Dailly, Ferdinand, Konchesky, Mullins (Zamora 71), Benayoun, Etherington (Bellion 78), Fletcher, Reo-Coker, Harewood
Subs Not Used  Hislop, Clarke, Aliadiere
Booked  Fletcher
Goals  Harewood 46

Chelsea  Cech, Del Horno, Carvalho, Terry, Duff (Crespo 60) (Wright-Phillips 83), Essien (Gudjohnsen 13), Geremi, Lampard, Makelele, Drogba,  Robben
Subs Not Used  Cudicini, Johnson
Booked  Duff, Lampard, Gudjohnsen
Goals  Lampard 25, Crespo 61, Drogba 80

Attendance  34,758

Referee  H. Webb

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