London: Chelsea leapfrogged Tottenham into third place in the Premier League, profiting from two own goals by the same player to thrash Stoke 4-0 and dismantle English football's only remaining unbeaten home record. (Agencies)
Spurs' lackluster 0-0 draw at last-place Queens Park Rangers yesterday gave the European champions an opportunity to become the nearest challengers to the two Manchester clubs, who are both in action, and they didn't waste it.
Stoke forward Jonathan Walters endured a disastrous day, twice heading the ball into his own net in the 45th and 62nd minutes to set Chelsea on its way before crashing a wild penalty over the crossbar in stoppage time.
Frank Lampard, who converted a penalty, and Eden Hazard, with a thumping 30-yard strike, were the other goalscorers for the visitors to give interim manager Rafa Benitez some respite after consecutive home losses.
Chelsea is 11 points adrift of leader Manchester United as Benitez's side strives to stay in the title race, but can pull four points clear of Spurs by winning its game in hand against Southampton on Wednesday.
Tottenham lacked its usual attacking fizz in the stalemate at Loftus Road, ensuring QPR manager Harry Redknapp enjoyed a satisfying reunion with the team that fired him last summer.
Everton and West Bromwich Albion failed to take advantage of Tottenham's slip-up, though, in the fight for Champions league qualification.
Fifth-place Everton was held to 0-0 by Swansea, whose prolific forward Michu was watched by Spain coach Vicente del Bosque after his impressive start to his first season in English football.
West Brom, meanwhile, stayed seventh after conceding three goals in the final eight minutes to lose 3-2 at Reading, which moved two points clear of QPR.
London: Chelsea leapfrogged Tottenham into third place in the Premier League, profiting from two own goals by the same player to thrash Stoke 4-0 and dismantle English football's only remaining unbeaten home record.