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Chelsea back on top of table after win

Frank Lampard (left) celebrates his opening goal in Chelsea's comfortable 3-0 victory over Birmingham.
Frank Lampard (left) celebrates his opening goal in Chelsea's comfortable 3-0 victory over Birmingham.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Chelsea climb back to the top of English Premier League table after 3-0 victory over Birmingham
  • Two goals from Frank Lampard help to end Birmingham's 15-match unbeaten run
  • Arsenal are back in third place, a further point behind, after a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Aston Villa

(CNN) -- Chelsea climbed back to the top of English Premier League table after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Birmingham at Stamford Bridge.

Florent Malouda opened the scoring in the fifth minute and two goals from Frank Lampard ended Birmingham's impressive 15-match unbeaten run.

The win put Chelsea one point clear of Manchester United at the top of the table, with a game in hand.

Chelsea's opening goal was engineered by England midfielder Joe Cole, who burst into the Birmingham penalty area from the right wing before crossing for the unmarked Malouda to head past goalkeeper Joe Hart from six yards out.

And they doubled their lead in the 31st minute when Lampard collected a pass from Michael Ballack and sent a low angled drive beyond Hart and into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

The third came in the final minute when Lampard collected a pass from Malouda and slotted home past the advancing Hart.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are back in third place, a further point behind Manchester United, after a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Champions League chasing Aston Villa.

Arsenal had the better chances to score, striking the woodwork twice. Cesc Fabregas hit the post in first-half stoppage time and then Tomas Rosicky crashed a shot against the underside of the bar after the break.

The result means Arsenal have now gone 12 years since last tasting defeat away to Villa as they extended their unbeaten Premier League run to 10 matches from which they have collected 24 points.

In the evening's other two matches, Blackburn striker Niko Kalinic scored the winning goal 14 minutes from time to help his side claim a vital 2-1 home victory over relegation rivals Wigan.

Meanwhile, Everton continued their improved run of form with a 2-0 win over struggling Sunderland.

Goals from Tim Cahill and on-loan American Landon Donovan -- his first for Everton -- secured the Goodison Park victory and extended Sunderland's woeful recent streak to just one win in their last 13 league matches.