LONDON (AP) Frank Lampard scored four goals Wednesday to lead Chelsea to a 6-1 English Premier League win over Derby that closed the gap on second-place Manchester United to three points.
The England midfielder converted a first-half penalty and then scored three more goals within 15 minutes in the second half, with Salomon Kalou and Joe Cole accounting for the Blues’ other tallies.
Chelsea’s 18th win from 28 matches lifted it after its surprise elimination from the F.A. Cup over the weekend and moved it to 61 points, three behind United and four back of Arsenal.
“I think we have a good chance to win the Premier League,” Chelsea manager Avram Grant said. “If we win our game in hand, we are two points behind Arsenal and they have to play here.
“There are 10 games to go. Anything can happen.”
Lampard dominated the match against Derby after having been left out of lineup in the F.A. Cup loss to Barnsley.
Chelsea had a goal by Michael Ballack ruled offside in the 19th, but Lampard won a penalty on a foul by substitute Dean Leacock and put it past goalkeeper Roy Carroll.
Kalou made it 2-0 three minutes before halftime and Lampard scored his second goal in the 57th minute from a cross by Cole.
Cole converted a rebound in the 64th before Lampard made it 5-0 with a 25-meter shot and rounded off his team’s scoring in the 72nd.
Derby, which is on course for relegation having won just one of 29 games, scored its only goal minutes later by substitute David Jones.
Portsmouth, which is the only Premier League side to have qualified for the F.A. Cup semifinals, moved up to seventh place with a 4-2 win over struggling Birmingham.
Jermain Defoe scored twice for Pompey to take his tally to five in five matches since joining in January.
Portsmouth has 47 points, two fewer than Aston Villa, which was held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Middlesbrough.
‘Boro is now 12th, five points clear of the three-team relegation zone.
Gillett speaks out
DANA POINT, Calif. (AP) Liverpool co-owner George Gillett says he and partner Tom Hicks have some different ideas, the first public indication by Gillett of their split.
“He is a great guy — but he has just got a different perspective on the media,” Gillett said Wednesday at the World Congress of Sports, a gathering of sports executives.
Gillett, who also owns the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, has been trying to sell his 50 percent stake in the English Premier League club, but he hasn’t commented publicly on talks with a wealthy Dubai consortium.
A potential deal with Dubai International Capital collapsed Monday after Hicks invoked his power of veto under his year-old partnership arrangement with Gillett.
Hicks vowed to prevent DIC from becoming an equal partner and was only willing to allow Gillett to sell 98 percent of his stake while planning to buy the remaining stock himself.