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PREMIER LEAGUE: Lampard breathes new life back into Chelsea's season

In the clash of the heavyweights at Stamford Bridge Chelsea came from behind to defeat leaders Manchester United 2-1 to boost their own Champion League hopes but dent United's title charge. Manchester United have never found Stamford Bridge a happy hunting ground and the homes side stretched their unbeaten streak to nine league games against their rivals from Old Trafford.

The deficit between Chelsea and United is now down to 12 points and whilst it is unlikely the Blues can bridge that gap it certainly gives hope to the chasing pack.

An enthralling first half had United in control but the host's started and ended the half strongly. But when the whistle blew for the interval it was the visitor's who had the lead.

Wayne Rooney collected a pass from Nani before turning and driving the ball past Petr Cech.

But Chelsea were quick out of the blocks and levelled soon after the break as sloppy defending from the visitor's allows David Luiz to score his first goal for the club.

The game seemed to be heading for a draw, which on balance would probably have been a fair result, until referee Martin Atkinson took centre stage.

The official has awarded the most penalties and sending offs in the Premier League this campaign and in the final ten minutes he continued his record.

On 80 minutes with only the slightest of contact Chris Smalling brought down a compliant Yury Zhirkov. Penalty.

Frank Lampard then made no mistake from 12 yards, smashing the ball into the roof of the net.

Then in injury time Nemanja Vidic was shown red for United for a second bookable offence after hauling down Ramires and will miss this weekend's clash with Liverpool.

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Venue: Stamford Bridge Attendance: 41,825

Chelsea scorers: Rooney 29 Man Utd scorers: Luiz 54, Lampard 80 pen

CHELSEA 01 Cech 02 Ivanovic 03 A Cole 04 David Luiz (yellow card) (Bosingwa 81) 26 Terry 05 Essien (yellow card) 07 Ramires (yellow card) 08 Lampard 15 Malouda (Zhirkov 71) 09 Torres 39 Anelka (Drogba 61)

Substitutes 22 Turnbull, 17 Bosingwa, 19 Ferreira, 18 Zhirkov, 46 McEachran, 11 Drogba, 21 Kalou

MAN UTD 01 Van der Sar 03 Evra (Fabio Da Silva 81) 12 Smalling 15 Vidic (yellow card, red card) 22 O'Shea 16 Carrick 17 Nani 18 Scholes (Giggs 70 (yellow card) 24 Fletcher 10 Rooney 14 Hernandez (Berbatov 70)

Substitutes 29 Kuszczak, 06 Brown, 20 Fabio Da Silva, 21 Rafael, 11 Giggs, 28 Gibson, 09 Berbatov

 Click here for the No1 coverage of all the gossip and transfer news around Chelsea.

 Click here for the No1 coverage of all the gossip and transfer news around Manchester United.

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Dave Williams

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