Chelsea crush Portsmouth to climb to second
Chelsea returned to second Wednesday in the Premier League as they beat bottom club Portsmouth 5-0, dpa reported.
Carlo Ancelotti's side followed up defeat to Inter Milan in the Champions League with a draw at Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, but Wednesday's win lifts them a point above Arsenal and a point behind leaders Manchester United.
It was a gaffe from goalkeeper David James that presented Chelsea with a 32nd-minute lead.
He missed his kick while trying to deal with a bouncing ball as Deco headed on, leaving Drogba with an open goal.
Florent Malouda doubled the lead from Frank Lampard's through-ball five minutes into the second half, and scored his second 10 minutes later, snaffling the rebound after James had parried a Lampard shot.
Drogba then added his second from a diagonal pass from Dutch youngster Patrick van Aanholt.
Frank Lampard headed the fifth in injury-time.
"We needed to have this performance," Ancelotti said. "We needed to win, we did this, and I hope the bad moment is finished.
"We have to wait until Saturday (against Aston Villa) because that is a very important test for us. If this test can be passed, this moment is finished."
He conceded that the first goal was lucky for Chelsea: "But after that we played well. We maintained the tempo of the game for 90 minutes. This is good for us now, to improve our confidence, because in the last few weeks we have lost confidence in our play and we came back to play good football."
Manchester City's hopes of claiming fourth spot suffered a major blow as they lost 2-0 at home to Everton in a game in which managers Roberto Mancini and David Moyes were both sent to the stands after a touchline squabble.
Tim Cahill headed in a Leighton Baines ball to give Everton the lead just after the half-hour. Mikel Arteta got the second five minutes from time after Cahill had dummied Jack Rodwell's cross.
Aston Villa faltered, only managing a draw against Sunderland, who have now drawn six of their last nine games to edge to the brink of safety.
Fraizer Campbell scored his second in successive games to put Sunderland ahead from Kieran Richardson's pass, but John Carew levelled from Ashley Young's cross eight minutes later.
"We just couldn't get that elusive second goal, and we were disappointed in the dressing room afterwards," said Villa manager Martin O'Neill.
"But the Manchester City result keeps us in there still. Tottenham will be delighted that the two of us have dropped points, but we all have some tough fixtures ahead. It is going to be really tight, and there will be many twists and turns in the final part of the season before things are settled."
City trail fourth-placed Tottenham by two points, with Villa level with Liverpool, two points further back.
Sunderland, meanwhile, are now 11 points clear of the relegation zone and probably one win from guaranteeing safety.
Blackburn Rovers beat Birmingham City 2-1 in a game with little bearing at either end of the table.
David Dunn gave Blackburn the lead against his former club after five minutes, but James McFadden curled in a free-kick to level 10 minutes after the break.
Dunn, though, touched in an El-Hadji Diouf cross to restore Blackburn's lead at the midpoint of the second half.