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Oct 6, 2012

Chelsea runs over weak Norwich defense

Chelsea moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League as it came from behind to run out 4-1 winners over Norwich at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The Canaries took a surprise lead in the 11th minute when Wes Hoolahan's cross was nodded into the area by Leon Barnett and Grant Holt showed great technique to lash home first time.

The advantage lasted just four minutes, with Fernando Torres muscling his way beyond his marker to head Branislav Ivanovic's hanging cross into the far corner.

And with 22 minutes gone, Frank Lampard put Chelsea in front when he met a loose ball at the edge of the area and drilled past John Ruddy.

Eden Hazard made it 3-1 when he stroked home Juan Mata's perfect pass and Ivanovic closed the scoring when he struck a fierce volley with 15 minutes to play.

Lampard was withdrawn midway through the second half with an injury concern.

"We'll have to assess him tomorrow and then see," Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo said. "He felt a little bit of a problem behind his knee, so for precaution, we took him off."

Chelsea's John Terry and Ashley Cole were predictably feted as heroes, barely 24 hours after both men's reputations arguably reached a new low in the eyes of the wider public. Cole on Friday released an extraordinary foul-mouthed Twitter rant at the Football Association in response to Terry's racism case.

Terry was reminded what he had given up by walking out on his country whenever the home fans chanted "there's only one England captain," all the while displaying their usual banner: "JT Captain, Leader, Legend."

Cole was treated to a rendition of "he tweets what he wants," although his "unreserved" apology yesterday suggested he would no longer be doing so.

Di Matteo hailed his Chelsea players for once again "blanking out" a scandal engulfing the club.

"I think the results are telling us that we are able to blank things out surrounding us externally and that we could focus on what is our aim and target and job, to win football games," Di Matteo said. "It's proven how professional the group is and how well they respond to it."

QPR's winless run extended to seven matches at the Hawthorns, with a 3-2 win for hosts West Brom piling the pressure on Rangers boss Mark Hughes.

James Morrison headed the Baggies in front after six minutes and then set up Zoltan Gera for the second after 22 minutes.

The recalled Adel Taarabt put QPR back in contention when he collected Esteban Granero's pass on his chest before spinning and volleying home, but Youssuf Mulumbu made it 3-1 with five minutes left.

Granero grabbed an injury-time goal but there was no time to rescue a point.

QPR has collected only two points out of a possible 21, but Mark Hughes insisted he is still the right man to lead the squad.

"Am I still the right man? Oh yes, absolutely. We knew where we might possibly be at the beginning of the season because of the amount of changes we've made," Hughes said. We are disappointed because in a number of games we've played well and not got what we've deserved out of games."

Leighton Baines secured a 2-2 draw for Everton at former club Wigan, scoring an 87th-minute penalty.

Arouna Kone (10) and Nikica Jelavic (11) traded headed goals in a matter of seconds before Franco Di Santo converted Gary Caldwell's cross in the 22nd minute to put the Latics in front.

It looked like that would be enough until Kevin Mirallas earned the spot-kick and Baines stepped up.

Reading gave up a two-goal lead as it drew 2-2 with Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.

Michel Vorm made a rare howler as he allowed Pavel Pogrebnyak's 31st-minute attempt to squirm through him and Noel Hunt's volley doubled the lead moments before halftime.

Michu responded with a diving header in the 71st minute, the Spaniard's sixth goal of the season, and Wayne Routledge levelled seven minutes later as he added the final touch to a wonderful passing move.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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