Friday 25 April 2014
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Salomon Kalou hit a hat-trick as Chelsea thrashed Stoke City to return to the top of the Barclays Premier League table and close in on the title.
The Blues, who were last crowned champions in 2006, led Manchester United by a point with two matches remaining after their comprehensive triumph, which was their 16th win out of 18 league matches at Stamford Bridge during the season.
United had returned to top spot after the previous day's matches but Chelsea appeared unfazed and dominated from the start.
Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen denied Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba before the Blues took the lead in the 24th minute. Droga controlled a crossfield pass from Florent Malouda on the right and centred for Kalou to score with a low header from close range.
Seven minutes later Kalou doubled the lead after he followed up Frank Lampard’s shot, although Sorensen was injured in the incident and was taken to hospital. Chelsea added a third on the stroke of half-time when Lampard converted a penalty, after a foul by former Blues defender Robert Huth on Kalou, for his 19th goal of the Barclays Premier League campaign.
The final four goals all came in a 21-minute spell in the closing stages of the match. Kalou sealed his hat-trick in the 68th minute as he snapped up a rebound at the second attempt after substitute goalkeeper Asmir Begovic had parried Lampard’s shot.
Lampard made it 5-0 in the 81st minute when he converted a cross from substitute Sam Hutchinson at the far post. Another substitute, Daniel Sturridge, was on target six minutes later, rounding Begovic to score his first league goal for Chelsea after a pass by Drogba.
And Malouda completed the scoring from close range by turning in a cross from another substitute Joe Cole.
“There was a bit of pressure on us before the match but we gave a fantastic performance," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "I don’t feel any pressure now. I am calm and quiet because the title is in our hands. We can decide our destiny.”
Stoke were 13th after the match and their manager Tony Pulis said: “Chelsea were very good but we turned up and one or two were complacent. We’ve got to be 100% to compete in this company and we weren’t.”
Chelsea won 2-0 at Liverpool and beat Wigan Athletic 8-0 in their final two matches to claim the title by a point from Manchester United. They also went on to beat Portsmouth 1-0 in the FA Cup final to win the Double. Stoke's campaign finished with a win, a draw and a defeat as they secured 11th.