chelsea return to the summit

Nicolas Anelka continued his fine start to the season with a brace as Chelsea marched back to the top of the Premier League with a win at a wet Ewood Park.

Nicolas Anelka continued his fine start to the season with a brace as Chelsea marched back to the top of the Premier League with a win at a wet Ewood Park.

In a one-sided first half, only keeper Paul Robinson kept Rovers in it, saving well from Anelka and Jon Obi Mikel.

But he could do little when Anelka deflected in Jose Bosingwa's drive.

Rovers rallied in the second half, Petr Cech saving from Jason Roberts having earlier denied Carlos Villanueva, but Anelka clipped in a second to seal it.

It was the ideal response from Luiz Felipe Scolari's men after victories for title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal on Saturday, and ensured the Brazilian would be able to enjoy his 60th birthday with another three points in the bag.

But it was far from plain sailing for the visitors after Rovers shook off a pretty desperate opening half with a gritty, determined second 45 that kept Chelsea firmly on their toes.

l Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal's Premier League rivals that their thrilling 2-1 win over Manchester United proves they have the character to win the title.

The mental and physical strength of Wenger's team had been questioned over the past two weeks after they threw away a 4-2 lead against Tottenham, lost a bruising encounter at Stoke and failed to break down Fenerbahce.

But the Gunners bounced back with their best performance of the season as French midfielder Samir Nasri scored twice before Brazilian teenager Rafael Da Silva set up a dramatic finale with a superb late strike.

The victory moved Arsenal ahead of Sir Alex Ferguson's men into third in the table and Wenger insists doubts over his side's ability to battle for points have been swept aside.

"This was a very important result. I imagine what would have happened if we had lost," Wenger said. - BBC and Sapa-AFP

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