Torres hits first hat-trick since 2009 as Chelsea demolish QPR
Wins for Chelsea and Spurs, but relegation candidates QPR and Blackburn are abject
CHELSEA hit QPR for six on Sunday in the west London derby while Spurs kept alive their hopes of a place in next season's Champions League with a 2-0 defeat of spineless Blackburn. The victory lifts the Lilywhites into fourth place ahead of Newcastle on goal difference. Chelsea, meanwhile, are still in sixth and need to beat Newcastle on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge if they're to have any chance of finishing in the top four.
Chelsea's hero against Rangers was Fernando Torres, the Spanish striker who, until a week ago, couldn't score a goal for love nor money. He ended his drought with a last minute strike against Barcelona last Tuesday and on Sunday he scored his first hat-trick since September 2009 as Chelsea crushed their neighbours.
"I am very happy. I knew if I worked hard the goals would come," said Torres afterwards. "It's the same for the team, we are playing more as a team now. Reaching the Champions League final was important, but we also want to finish in the top four and we showed we were focused today from the first minute."
There wasn't even a minute on the clock before Chelsea were one up against Rangers, Daniel Sturridge netting after just 45 seconds. John Terry (who used his matchday programme notes to apologise for his sending off against Barcelona) added a second on 13 minutes and Torres then struck twice before the break. The rout continued in the second half with Torres grabbing his third on 64 minutes and Florent Malouda making it 6-0 ten minutes before the end. Djibril Cisse scored late on for the visitors but Rangers are now perched precariously above the relegation zone, ahead of Bolton only on goal difference.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo afterwards praised his side for their effort just five days after their outstanding performance in Barcelona. "The players did extremely well today to focus for this game, and I have to say they surprised me," said Di Matteo, who also had warm words for Torres. "He deserves all the credit. He's been working hard and the goals didn't always come but we were always pleased with his attitude and his work-rate."
Asked about the upcoming clash with Newcastle, Di Matteo replied: "Wednesday is again going to be a massive game. We only have massive games left. We just have to try and do our best and no one knows what's going to happen at the end."
That was also the gist of the message from Harry Redknapp after goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Kyle Walker had eased Tottenham to a 2-0 win over Blackburn, only their second league victory in their last nine outings. In a one-sided encounter the visitors never looked like threatening Spurs despite the fact they desperately needed three points to help in their fight against relegation.
Rovers are now second bottom, three points adrift of Bolton, and only a minor miracle will keep them in the Premier League.
As for Tottenham, Redknapp declared that their fate is in their own hands if they wish to finish fourth and give themselves a chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League ahead of Newcastle and Chelsea. "We've just got to keep trying to win the games and if we win all the games, no-one can finish above us," said Redknapp. "That's the top and bottom of it...[but] it's going to be close, it's going to be tight." ·