CHELSEA (2) VS PORTSMOUTH (1)
FRANK LAMPARD rediscovered his range from the penalty spot to help Chelsea regain their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Lampard suffered a rare miss from the spot 11 days ago, culminating in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City.
But the England midfielder made no mistake this time as he earned the Blues a first win in five games with the winner 11 minutes from time.
Chelsea were expected to cruise past basement boys Portsmouth and it was no surprise when Nicolas Anelka coolly converted Alex’s cross to open the scoring on 23 minutes.
But Pompey, managed by former Blues boss Avram Grant, weren’t finished yet and stunned their hosts six minutes into the second half with a fierce Frederic Piquionne finish.
But just when the visitors looked like hanging onto an unlikely point, Marc Wilson mistimed his tackle on Branislav Ivanovic and Lampard stepped up from the spot to rifle home – much to the relief of boss Carlo Ancelotti. “It was important to win, to maintain our lead,” the Blues boss admitted. “It was not our best moment because we are lacking. But I think we deserved to win.”
Liverpool, meanwhile made a welcome return to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Wigan at Anfield on a night when the club celebrated the 50th anniversary of legendary manager Bill Shankly’s arrival.
David Ngog gave the Reds a ninth-minute lead but it was all a bit disjointed until substitute Fernando Torres eased the nerves with a second 11 minutes from time.
Jason Scotland somehow crashed a shot against the bar for the Latics before Charles N’Zogbia pulled a goal back in injury time, but Liverpool held on for only a fourth win in 16 games to ease the pressure on under-fire boss Rafael Benitez.