Chelsea Defeats West Ham to Move to Third as Fulham Upsets Spurs

Frank Lampard scored his 200th goal for Chelsea as the Blues beat West Ham 2-0 to overtake Tottenham and move into third spot in English soccer’s Premier League. Spurs lost 1-0 at home to Fulham.

Ten-man Norwich held on for a 1-1 draw at Sunderland yesterday and relegation-threatened Wigan defeated Newcastle 2-1 with a 90th-minute goal by Arouna Kone.

Lampard scored in the 19th minute against his former team, heading in from Eden Hazard’s cross. Hazard doubled the lead five minutes after half time at Stamford Bridge.

“It is one of my best days,” Lampard told reporters after getting within two goals of Bobby Tambling’s record for Chelsea. “Obviously, winning the Champions League and championships are the best, but personally getting 200 goals for the club, I never thought I would touch that so I’m pleased to get it. The important thing is trying to score goals to win games.”

Manchester United, which beat Reading 1-0 two days ago, leads by 15 points from defending champion Manchester City, which lost 2-0 at Everton. United has 74 points, followed by City (59), Chelsea (55), Tottenham (54) and Arsenal (50).

The next round of games is scheduled to start March 30 following a break for World Cup qualifying matches.

Former Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov shot Fulham’s winner in the 52nd minute at White Hart Lane to dent the hosts’ target of a top-four finish and a Champions League place next season. It was Spurs’ third consecutive defeat in all competitions following an eight-match unbeaten run.

Berbatov’s Promise

Fulham manager Martin Jol, previously in charge at Spurs, said Berbatov promised he’d score the winner.

“Before the game you hope for a point, but Berbatov came to me and promised me. He said: ‘You have to trust me.’ He is a wonderful player, it was one of the best wins ever.”

Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas said his team had effort and commitment, though lacked organization.

“It is down to us to get to business and correct that,” he said.

After taking the lead at Sunderland yesterday through Wes Hoolahan in the 26th minute, Norwich was set back by two controversial decisions.

First, goalkeeper Mark Bunn was red-carded by referee Chris Foy in the 30th minute for handling the ball outside the penalty area, then Sebastien Bassong was ruled to have handled inside the area. Craig Gardner scored the resulting penalty to level the scores in the 40th minute.

Haidara Injury

At Wigan, Jean Beausejour put the home team ahead from short range in the 18th minute. Davide Santon tied it in the 72nd minute and Kone got the winner in a goalmouth scramble after the ball appeared to hit the hand of Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa following a corner kick.

The game was marred by an injury to Newcastle defender Massadio Haidara, who was stretchered off after a high tackle by Callum McManaman that wasn’t penalized by referee Mark Halsey. Newcastle assistant manager John Carver and Graham Barrow, a member of Wigan’s coaching staff, were sent to the stands by Halsey following a halftime fracas as Carver tried to confront McManaman.

“It is an awful challenge,” Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said. “The pictures speak for themselves. I thought it was a bad challenge and I was 60 yards from the incident.”

The win lifts Wigan, which has played one game fewer than the teams around it, to 27 points. Reading and Queens Park Rangers, on 23 points with identical goal difference, are the other teams in the relegation positions. Reading is higher on goals scored.

Aston Villa has 30 points, Southampton and Sunderland 31, and West Ham and Newcastle 33. Norwich is 12th with 34, and Fulham 10th on 36.

In other weekend games, Arsenal won 2-0 at Swansea and Southampton upset Liverpool 3-1. Stoke drew 0-0 with West Brom and QPR lost 3-2 at Villa.

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