Blues move into third
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The West London outfit took advantage of the fact that Newcastle, Arsenal and Manchester United are playing Sunday, by recording a win which keeps up the pressure at the top of the table.
The Blues found it hard to break down a stubborn Birmingham back-line and it took some genius from Gianfranco Zola to get the breakthrough just before half time.
Emanuel Petit played the ball up-field for Eidur Gudjohnsen who knocked the ball down for Zola and the Italian finished off wonderfully with a half-volley.
The goal seemed harsh on Birmingham, but they lacked any spark and it was soon 2-0.
It came just four minutes into the second period when Jesper Gronkjaer crossed for Gudjohnsen (pictured) to header firmly past Nico Vaesen.
Chelsea then extended their lead with a penalty after 69 minutes when Kenny Cunningham and Robbie Savage bundled over Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink. The Dutchman - who had come on as substitute for Zola at half time - brushed himself off to rifle home from 12 yards.
Birmingham did grab a consolation late on when they were themselves awarded a penalty, when Petit pulled back Clinton Morrison - Savage stepped up and hammered home off the post.
Charlton Athletic moved into seventh place with a crucial win over Everton at The Valley.
The Addicks took an early lead after just 21 minutes - Claus Jensen created the chance as his run carved open an opportunity for Shaun Bartlett, he shot first time which was well saved by Richard Wright, but Bulgarian Radostin Kishishev was on hand to clean up and score.
Everton were not themselves but looked to have grabbed a point when they equalised with just 13 minutes left.
Chinese star Li Tie fed Brian McBride and the American swept home from 12 yards past Dean Kiely.
Charlton then grabbed a crucial second which turned out to be the winner after 83 minutes when they took advantage of a Li Tie mistake.
The midfielder attempted a pass-back, but it only found Jonatan Johansson who in-turn fed Kevin Lisbie and the youngster made no mistake in hammering the ball home.
Blackburn moved into the top half of the table following their 1-0 success over Southampton at Ewood Park.
The only goal of the goal came after 26 minutes when Keith Gillespie crossed for David Thompson to smash home.
Leeds United got their season back on track at Elland Road with a 1-0 success of lowly West Ham.
The only goal came from a surprising source as Seth Johnson grabbed his first goal for the club. He struck after 20 minutes, beating David James with a deflected 25-yard effort.
West Ham chances of getting back into the game all but disappeared just after the hour-mark when French striker Freddie Kanoute was red carded for slapping Johnson in the face.
West Bromwich Albion left it very late at The Hawthorns as they grabbed a crucial last-minute equaliser to grab a 1-1 draw with Bolton.
The Baggies dominated much of the game, but it was Wanderers who took the lead after 18 minutes.
French legend Youri Djorkaeff broke down the right and attempted to beat Russell Hoult - his effort on goal did not find the back of the net, but Danish ace Henrik Pedersen was on hand to follow up and slot home.
Just when Bolton looked like moving seven points clear of the relegation zone, West Brom struck.
A long ball was flicked on by Darren Moore and substitute Andy Johnson was on hand to scramble the ball home.
Bottom-of-the-table Sunderland could not transfer their cup form into the league as they suffered a 4-1 hammering at Tottenham.
Gustavo Poyet opened the scoring when he pounced from eight yards after Darren Anderton cross-come shot found its way to the Uruguayan after 18 minutes.
Sunderland, though, got back on level terms less than ten minutes later Kevin Phillips broke Spurs' offside trap to touch ball into the net after Gavin McCann put him through.
Tottenham grabbed the lead back just before half time when Gary Doherty headed home from close range, after Thomas Sorensen missed the ball.
The North London side then killed off the North East opponents with two late strikes as Simon Davies curled home a wonderful effort and Teddy Sheringham headed home unmarked - the former England man's 300th career goal in all competitions.
The final game of the day saw Fulham ease fears that they would be pulled into the relegation battle with a 2-1 win over in-form Aston Villa.
Villa actually took the lead with their first attack of game.
Dion Dublin produced a great ball for Gareth Barry who ran through and finished past Maik Taylor.
Fulham came back with a Steed Malbranque penalty after 16 minutes after Joey Gudjonsson brought down Luis Boa Morte.
The winning effort then came from an unusual source when Jon Harley scored a wonderful 35-yard effort after 36 minutes.
Birmingham 1-3 Chelsea
Blackburn 1-0 Southampton
Charlton 2-1 Everton
Fulham 2-1 Aston Villa
Leeds 1-0 West Ham
Tottenham 4-1 Sunderland
West Brom 1-1 Bolton
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