Lampard puts Chelsea back in title race

The Premier League title race opened up with Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat of Manchester City. City are now just two points ahead of Manchester United, and Chelsea, seven points back, now have the leaders in their sights.

Frank Lampard secured the points with a late penalty to complete a Chelsea comeback. Mario Balotelli had given City the lead in the second minute of the match. City manager Roberto Mancini was unhappy with the refereeing, and thought his team should have had a penalty when David Silva was tripped.

Lampard is providing a spirited response to suggestions that his Chelsea career may be nearing a close. Starting a second successive match from the substitutes’ bench, he came on in the second half and kept his cool to convert the penalty, after a Daniel Sturridge shot was handled.

Sturridge is emerging as one of the Premier League’s most consistently dangerous and inventive strikers. If he maintains form and fitness he should be a certainty for Fabio Capello’s Euro 2012 England squad.

The Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas, already buoyed by progress in the Champions League, believes Chelsea are still in with a chance of closing the gap in the Premier League.

"Seven points in this Premier League title is nothing," he said in a post-match interview that put heavy emphasis on continuity. "Many games will continue to happen, and we believe in our title challenge. But for our title challenge to continue to be alive we will have to continue to be competent. We have to continue to perform. But the talent of this team is not in question."

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