Chelsea 3 Birmingham City 0

Last updated : 28 January 2010 By Footymad Previewer

With Arsenal held at Aston Villa, this victory over a stubborn Blues side meant that Chelsea overtook the north Londoners and Manchester United to sit pretty at the top of the pile.

Birmingham came to Stamford Bridge in fine form but never looked capable of taking one let alone three points and it took just six minutes for the Londoners to open the scoring.

Joe Cole was the architect of the move. He beat Lee Bowyer on the right before sending over a deft cross to the unmarked Malouda, who headed comfortably home past Joe Hart.

Joe Cole almost hit number two on 26 minutes but his right-footed drive from the edge of the Birmingham penalty area was smothered by Hart.

Deco followed up with a long-range effort a minute later, but on 30 minutes it fell to Lampard to show them how it's done.

Picking up a pass from Michael Ballack, the England midfielder let fly a trademark piledriver from 22 yards past the hapless dive of Hart.

Birmingham, who were undefeated since October, failed to produce an effort of note as they exerted all their first-half energies in trying to contain the home side.

Service resumed on 53 minutes with Chelsea almost extending their lead. Ashley Cole sent in a fine cross and Ballack's accurate downward header was snuffed out by the impressive Hart.

With 20 minutes remaining, Birmingham had a great chance to get themselves back into the game.

James McFadden raced clear onto a long through ball and he got as far as just inside the Chelsea penalty area.

However, the Scotland international lost his composure and screwed a low right-footer wide of Petr Cech's right post.

Cech was forced into action on 76 minutes when he spectacularly tipped over Keith Fahey's toe-poke from just inside the area.

With a minute remaining, Chelsea hit number three and it was Lampard who took the honours.

He collected the ball off Malouda who arrowed the perfect left footer wide of Hart from just inside the Birmingham area.