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Drogba nets hat-trick as Chelsea smash six goals past West Brom

Didier Drogba moved up to sixth on Chelsea's all-time scorers' list after his treble against West Brom.
Didier Drogba moved up to sixth on Chelsea's all-time scorers' list after his treble against West Brom.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • English champions Chelsea begin title defense with 6-0 thrashing of West Brom
  • Didier Drogba scores hat-trick and Florent Malouda nets twice against promoted team
  • Unfancied Blackpool shock critics by going second with 4-0 drubbing of Wigan
  • Tottenham draw 0-0 with big-spending Manchester City in opening match of season

(CNN) -- Double winners Chelsea began the defense of their English Premier League title with a 6-0 drubbing of West Brom, while another promoted club provided the shock of the day as Blackpool thrashed Wigan 4-0.

Didier Drogba scored a hat-trick as Chelsea bounced back from last weekend's 3-1 Community Shield defeat by main rivals Manchester United, who take on the third promoted side, Newcastle, on Monday evening.

Florent Malouda put the London team ahead in the sixth minute on Saturday evening after West Brom goalkeeper Scott Carson spilled Drogba's free-kick, and the Ivory Coast striker made it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime when he curled another set-piece through a poorly-assembled defensive wall.

Ten minutes after the break, Drogba scrambled in his second after John Terry's header was blocked on the line, and midfielder Frank Lampard slotted in on 63 after England teammate Ashley Cole squared the ball into his path.

I will take a photograph of the table and then retire. It has been a horrible summer and I am quite worn out
--Blackpool manager Ian Holloway
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Drogba was the Premier League's top scorer last season with 29 goals, and is on target to repeat that feat after his 68th-minute shot was deflected past Carson off the head of defender Gabriel Tamas.

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It lifted him up to sixth on the club's all-time scoring list with 133 goals, putting him above Jimmy Greaves, who played for Chelsea from 1957-61.

France winger Malouda sealed a miserable day for West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo, a former Chelsea player, as he beat the offside trap and fired in off the post in the 90th minute.

It was the biggest opening-day win since the Premier League began in 1992.

Blackpool, unable to pay their players bonuses for winning promotion via the playoffs until this month, took a 3-0 lead at halftime against Wigan as striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher netted before a double from new signing Marlon Harewood.

Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was at fault for both Harewood' efforts, and was again exposed in the second half as he was beaten at the near post by Alex Baptiste's shot from the touchline.

It was a remarkable day for Blackpool, overwhelming favorites to be relegated in the club's first season in the top flight since 1971, as they ended the day second in the table despite a fruitless summer in the transfer market that finally saw free agent Harewood and three little-known Frenchmen arrive this week.

"I will take a photograph of the table and then retire," manager Ian Holloway said. "It has been a horrible summer and I am quite worn out. This is quite a scary place to be."

In the opening match of the season, Tottenham drew 0-0 with big-spending Manchester City in an early-afternoon battle between last season's fourth and fifth-placed teams.

City boss Roberto Mancini fielded three of his five new signings in Yaya Toure, David Silva and Aleksandar Kolarov, but needed young England goalkeeper Joe Hart -- starting ahead of last season's first choice Shay Given -- to keep out a wave of Tottenham attacks.

The London side, who face Swiss side Young Boys Berne in the final round of Champions League qualifiers next week, also hit the post through Gareth Bale.

City lost Serbia defender Kolarov to injury at halftime, but should have taken the lead through Shaun Wright-Phillips as the winger lost the ball in front of goal.

Both sides had several half-chances before Bale also squandered a great chance, and the game petered out in a draw despite a raft of substitutions as Spurs brought on forwards Robbie Keane, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Giovani Dos Santos while City introduced Adam Johnson and Emmanuel Adebayor.

Aston Villa, still seeking to replace departed manager Martin O'Neill, crushed West Ham 3-0 in Avram Grant's first Premier League match in charge of the London team.

Stewart Downing and Stiliyan Petrov gave the home team a 2-0 lead, then James Milner sealed victory with a 66th-minute strike in what could be the England midfielder's final game for Villa before joining Manchester City.

The 24-year-old was given a standing ovation by the crowd when he was substituted late in the game.

Blackburn won 1-0 at home to Everton as young Croatian striker Nikola Kalinic took advantage of a mistake by United States goalkeeper Tim Howard to score the 15th-minute winner.

Birmingham came from 2-0 down to secure a draw at Sunderland, who had new captain Lee Cattermole sent off in the first half.

The home side led in the 24th minute with a penalty from last season's top scorer Darren Bent, then midfielder Cattermole received two yellow cards before defender Stephen Carr -- who had conceded the spot-kick -- headed into his own net 11 minutes into the second half.

Scott Dann pulled one back with a header on 78 then defender Gary Ridgewell earned a point two minutes from time.

Wolverhampton beat Stoke 2-1 as the visitors lost record signing Kenwyne Jones to injury.

Jones, a $12 million buy from Sunderland, hit the crossbar early on but needs a scan after suffering an ankle problem soon after.

Wolves took a 2-0 lead at halftime as David Jones and new strike Steven Fletcher scored just before the break, then Abdoulaye Faye gave Stoke hope with a header 10 minutes after the restart.

Fulham drew 0-0 at Bolton in manager Mark Hughes' first game in charge, with the home side hitting the post through U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden in the second half.

Hughes did not pick veteran Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who handed in a transfer request during the week as he seek to join Arsenal.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger signed a new three-year contract ahead of his team's opening match of the season at Liverpool on Sunday.

The 60-year-old, the club's longest-serving manager after joining in 1996, is now tied to the London side until June 2014.