Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chelsea 2-0 Wolverhampton


Chelsea beat Wolverhampton 2-0 to go 4 points clear off their title rivals Manchester United. The Chelsea hitman Drogba was at his best and he fired twice to grab the game for his team and made his tally 25 goals in this season. The Ivory Coast frontman made the most of two rare chances in an unconvincing away display, sliding home his first from Yuri Zhirkov's pinpoint cross.
Drogba then latched on to Petr Cech's long kick for his second to wrap it up.
But Wolves will feel hard done by, with Cech twice denying Adlene Guedioura to render a brave home display fruitless.
And while the hosts should certainly take heart from a performance that once again proves they can live with the best sides at the Molineux on their day, another defeat means they remain perilously close to the drop zone.For Chelsea, though, victory will be just what boss Carlo Ancelotti will have wanted after another week of front-page allegations and controversy surrounding the Stamford Bridge outfit.
Not that many observers will look back on this match as a particularly convincing Chelsea victory by any stretch of the imagination.
Anyone who witnessed Wolves' displays in their draws with Liverpool and Aston Villa, or their win over Tottenham, at the Molineux this season will have been less than surprised by their approach.
Packed across midfield and deep in defence, Wolves hassled and harried, suffocating Chelsea's creative players and denying the front-runners space and time to manoeuvre in attack.
And for much of the first half, the hosts' game plan worked to perfection. With Chelsea looking increasingly bereft of ideas, it was Mick McCarthy's men looking the more threatening on the odd occasion they sprung a counter-attack.
Kevin Doyle, in particular, was a threat and he twice stung the palms of Blues keeper Cech, once with a low effort after a decent run across the box and then again with a snap-shot that the Czech Republic international did well to turn around his near post.
The impressive Zhirkov was the creator, exchanging a neat one-two with Michael Ballack on the edge of the box before crossing low for Drogba to complete the simplest of tap-ins at the far post in the 40th minute.
It was a rare moment of cohesion going forward for Chelsea, who have certainly lost an element of sparkle in recent weeks with only one win away from home in six league matches.
However, the opening goal failed to fire the visitors to greater heights at the start of the second half and only the commanding presence of Cech kept them ahead.
First a cross from Matt Jarvis floated to the onrushing and unmarked Guedioura at the back post, only for the midfielder's crashing volley to be beaten away by Cech.

And then Kevin Foley brought an even better stop from the Blues keeper when he latched on to an error from John Terry to fire goalwards, his shot smothered bravely by Cech, Guedioura seeing his follow-up cleared.
Chelsea skipper Terry, of course, has been at the heart of the stories splashed across the tabloids in recent weeks.
But while Ashley Cole was spared the ignominy of the Molineux taunts by injury, there was no such respite for Terry - and it was another less than convincing performance from the former England captain.
As with in the first half, though, Chelsea proved their most dangerous when on the back foot.
However, if the first goal was all about 'total' football, the second was far more direct - and how that, in itself, underlines the Blues' all-round threat this season.
Drogba was again the dagger in the Wolves defenders' hearts, latching on to Cech's booming goal kick, nodding round home keeper Marcus Hahnemann with his first touch and tapping in with his second.
The hosts continued to battle valiantly thereafter but, in truth, their spirit had been broken.
Doyle curled harmlessly wide and Terry cleared Greg Halford's long throw off the line - though, as it was direct from the throw, it would not have counted anyway - but the remaining 20 minutes were comfortable for Chelsea.
And so the Londoners made it four Premier League wins over Wolves in four matches to make the most of Manchester United's earlier slip-up and ensure they remain in pole position in the title race.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy:
"I've just had a right chew at the lads in the dressing-room because we've lost a game that we shouldn't have.
We've let Chelsea off the hook today and that's what has annoyed me. We had them in that second half, we had them. We created chances, didn't take them, and then conceded a sloppy second goal that has killed us.
"Chelsea are the champions-elect and we've matched them in all departments today except putting the ball in the back of the net."

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