England: Manchester City tightens grip on EPL
LONDON (AP) -- Manchester City tightened its grip on top spot in the English Premier League on Saturday by registering a 13th straight home victory, easing past Blackburn 3-0.
City barely broke into a sweat at fortress Etihad Stadium to move provisionally five points clear of Manchester United, with Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko scoring in a routine victory.
United States defender Tim Ream made his league debut for Bolton at Chelsea but couldn't stop the home side as England midfielder Frank Lampard scored one goal and set up another in a 3-0 win. That ended Chelsea's miserable run of five straight winless games to move past Arsenal and provisional fourth place.
Arsenal hosts third-place Tottenham in the north London derby on Sunday, when United visits Norwich.
City's solid home form is allowing it to challenge for its first English title since 1968. Not since Newcastle in 1996 has a team won as many successive home league games from the start of a season.
"People say being leader you have the pressure from those behind, but I think it is the opposite," City captain Vincent Kompany said.
At the end of a week in which Carlos Tevez returned to training with City after three months of unauthorized leave, his rival strikers all scored and proved the Argentina international will have to earn his starting place.
Balotelli opened the scoring after 30 minutes before Aguero in the 52nd and Dzeko in the 81st added further goals against Blackburn, which is third from bottom.
"We seem to have found our form again," Kompany said. "There's no such thing as an easy game and for us to win the league we've got to do the same, week in week out."
Lampard completed Chelsea's easy win with a late volley to become the first player to score at least 10 Premier League goals in nine successive seasons. It was also the 150th league goal of his career.
Brazil center back David Luiz and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba, who went off injured late on, earlier scored after a goalless first half.
"It was important to win after all the recent disappointments," said manager Andre Villas-Boas, whose job may have been untenable had Chelsea lost to a team second from last. "We have been trying so hard and today we managed to do a great, great game."
Terry Connor's first match in temporary charge of Wolverhampton Wanderers started disastrously with Papiss Demba Cisse and Jonas Gutierrez putting Newcastle 2-0 ahead after 18 minutes of their match at St. James' Park.
However, Matt Jarvis reduced Wolves' deficit at the start of the second half and Kevin Doyle snatched the equalizer in the 66th, denting sixth-place Newcastle's hopes of a finish in the Champions League spots and lifting the Wolves out of the bottom three.
Queens Park Rangers slipped to fourth from last after losing 1-0 at home to Clint Dempsey's Fulham, West Bromwich Albion beat Sunderland 4-0 and Wigan drew 0-0 at home to Aston Villa.
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