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Relief for Villas-Boas as Chelsea down Bolton
Published : 25 Feb 2012 17:16:49
Chelsea eased the pressure on beleaguered manager Andre Villas-Boas on Saturday with a 3-0 victory over Bolton to get the club's Premier League campaign back on track.
Second-half goals from David Luiz, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard gave Villas-Boas something to smile about after a difficult week which saw the Blues pushed to the brink of elimination from the Champions League.
The victory -- Chelsea's first in five league matches -- saw Villas-Boas's side move back into the Champions League qualification places, three points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, who face Tottenham on Sunday.
After a poor first-half display, Chelsea's nerves were settled moments after half-time when much-maligned Luiz shot the Blues ahead.
The Brazilian international picked up a loose ball and took his time before rifling into the bottom corner past Adam Bogdan.
Chelsea made the game safe on 61 minutes when Drogba headed in Lampard's corner for 2-0. Lampard, reportedly fuming at his treatment by Villas-Boas recently, then completed the scoring on 79 minutes, his 150th league goal.
Caretaker Wolves manager Terry Connor saw his relegation-threatened side produce a stirring fightback from 2-0 down to grab a share of the points against high-flying Newcastle at St James Park.
Wolves looked to be dead and buried at the interval after goals from Papiss Demba Cisse and Jonas Gutierrez saw the Magpies surge into a 2-0 lead.
But Matt Jarvis launched an improbable Houdini act on 50 minutes to make it 2-1 before Kevin Doyle levelled it in the 66th minute.
The hard-earned point was enough to lift Wolves out of the relegation zone at the expense of Blackburn, who play leaders Manchester City in Saturday's late kick-off.
Queens Park Rangers' dismal run of form continued as west London neighbours Fulham completed a season double with a 1-0 win at Loftus Road.
Fulham's winner came courtesy of Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, the January transfer signing scoring the second goal of his Craven Cottage career on only his second appearance.
A miserable afternoon for Mark Hughes' Rangers also saw Malian midfielder Samba Diakite sent off on his debut for a second yellow card after a clumsy lunge on Bryan Ruiz after 33 minutes.
West Bromwich Albion brought Sunderland's recent run of good form to a shuddering halt after romping to a 4-0 win at the Hawthorns.
Peter Odemwingie bagged a brace while James Morrison and Keith Andrews grabbed one each as the Baggies ran riot to leave Martin O'Neill's side reflecting on their worst defeat of the season.
Elsewhere, bottom club Wigan battled to a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa at the DW Stadium.
Sunday's other games see second-placed Manchester United travel to Norwich while Stoke host Swansea.