Friday, May 28, 2010

Ghana's Michael Essien is ruled out of the World Cup


Ghana's Michael Essien has been ruled out of the World Cup, according to the country's football association (GFA).
The Chelsea midfielder has been struggling with injury and has been told he will not fully recover until the end of July.
The GFA said that the decision was taken after a joint evaluation of his fitness by them and his club.
His last competitive match was for Ghana during the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.
He took part in the early stages of that tournament despite not being fully fit, having torn a hamstring in December.
He then injured his knee and has not played for either Ghana or Chelsea since.
Essien has been keen to play down speculation about his chances of making the World Cup.
"If I make it for the World Cup then great - if not I have my whole career ahead of me," he told Chelsea's official website in April.
"The last thing I want is to rush back and cause more problems down the line."
Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac had been publicly optimistic but also insisted that the squad can still succeed without Essien.
"There are other young and hungry players who will be equally passionate to play," he said recently.
Ghana are in Group D at the World Cup, along with Germany, Australia and Serbia.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Manager Carlo Ancelotti delighted with Chelsea Double


Carlo Ancelotti hailed a "great season" for Chelsea after the club sealed a Premier League and FA Cup Double after a 1-0 win over Portsmouth at Wembley.
Didier Drogba's free-kick proved enough in the FA Cup final, although Petr Cech will also get the plaudits for his penalty save from Kevin Prince Boateng.
"It was a great day and a great season," said the Chelsea manager.
"The strength is in the organisation of the club. Everybody worked hard to do their best this season."
The Italian believed that Cech's spot-kick save in the 56th minute was a crucial turning point in the match.
"It was the key moment," he said. "It would have been very difficult if Portsmouth scored."
Cech regarded his save from Boateng as "lucky".
"I knew what the choices were and from the body language when he ran towards me I chose that side - but I was lucky to get there," he added.
Ancelotti, who joined Chelsea last summer, has now won the Community Shield, league title and FA Cup.

Asked whether he was now looking to add the Champions League he said: "We will try. This year we wanted to win also the Champions League but we have to be happy for the Premier League and the FA Cup."
Chelsea hit the woodwork five times in the first half and goal-hero Drogba revealed he thought his side would be out of luck on the day.
"It's fantastic - we achieved the Double," said the Ivory Coast striker, who curled in his 25-yard winner in the 59th minute.

The reason why we are top of the league and won the FA Cup is that we are the best team and we have great determination
John Terry
"It was difficult to come back and stay focused after we celebrated the title.
"It was difficult again against a very good Portsmouth team.
"You start to feel that you won't score but if you manage to create chances in the first half it means in the second you will have some."
On his free-kick, he added: "I saw a little gap, not a big space, because the wall was in its position.
"I hit the post again but it went in this time."
Captain John Terry, who has now won eight major titles with the club, said Chelsea were the "best team" this season.
"It is incredible - what an amazing day today," said the 29-year-old England defender.
"It was one of those days but we came strong and full credit to Didier.
"The reason why we are top of the league and won the FA Cup is that we are the best team and we have great determination."

FA Cup final Highlights


Chelsea retains The FA CUP to create History


Chelsea 1 - 0 Portsmouth

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti created history as Didier Drogba's second-half winner sank Portsmouth and sealed the London club's first Premier League and FA Cup double.
Drogba's precise free-kick just before the hour mark was the decisive moment of an incident-packed FA Cup final in which Chelsea hit the woodwork five times in the first half and both sides also missed from the penalty spot.
Chelsea - who become only the seventh club to win the coveted domestic Double - were again grateful to the prolific Drogba, who kept up his remarkable record of scoring in each of his six games at Wembley with his 37th goal of the season.
He scored only minutes after Pompey's Kevin-Prince Boateng saw his half-hit penalty saved by Chelsea keeper Petr Cech - and in that moment Pompey's chances of repeating their victory of two years ago effectively disappeared.
Chelsea were even able to survive a rare penalty miss by Frank Lampard in the closing minutes when he shot wide from the spot after he had been brought down by Michael Brown.
The margin of victory belied Chelsea's superiority, especially in a remarkable first half when Lampard, John Terry, Salomon Kalou and Drogba, on two occasions, all struck the frame of the goal.

One of the most open FA cup finals. Credit to Pompey for playing attacking football all season
Portsmouth bravely held on but wasted their own big chances in the shape of Boateng's penalty miss and a Frederic Piquionne effort from six yards that was scrambled away by Cech before the break.
It is a victory that caps a remarkable campaign for Ancelotti - and there was a personal honour for defender Ashley Cole, who became the most decorated player in FA Cup history by picking up his sixth winner's medal.
Pompey battled with the resolve that has taken them to Wembley against a background of financial meltdown and relegation to the Championship under manager Avram Grant.
But Chelsea had the extra weaponry when it mattered to deprive the Fratton Park club of any consolation at the end of a troubled campaign.
And Ancelotti, the modest and dignified Italian, took another step towards banishing the ghost of Jose Mourinho from Stamford Bridge by writing a new chapter in the club's record books.
Lampard was first to feel the woodwork frustration when, after shooting inches wide, he glanced the outside of the post with a swerving effort from 20 yards that left James helpless.
Pompey had performed with great heart throughout a Cup run that had salvaged something from the wreckage of their season and they should have gone ahead after 21 minutes.
Boateng volleyed Aruna Dindane's cross into the six-yard area and Piqiuonne's instinctive finish was met with equally sharp reflexes from Cech, who clawed away the ball.
The rest of the opening period was a tale of sustained Chelsea pressure, with Pompey hanging on via a mixture of brave defence and outrageous good fortune.
Kalou was guilty of a dreadful miss after 26 minutes, hitting the bar from almost on the line after Cole delivered a cross that seemed impossible to miss.
Chelsea captain Terry rose in towering fashion to head Florent Malouda's free-kick against the bar before Drogba then thought he had finally given Chelsea the lead.
The Ivorian's 30-yard free-kick took Portsmouth by surprise but James - the oldest goalkeeper to play in an FA Cup final at 39 years and 287 days - reacted to turn it on to the bar and down on to the goalline. The officials remained unmoved as Chelsea appealed for a goal but replays showed the ball did not fully cross the line.
There was still time for Drogba to hit the post again, this time from an acute angle, as Portsmouth somehow remained on terms at the interval.
And their spirits soared after 54 minutes when Juliano Belletti, on as a first-half substitute for Michael Ballack, who suffered an ankle injury, brought down Boateng as he raced into the area.
Referee Chris Foy had an easy decision to point to the spot - but Cech's save was just as easy from Boateng's woeful penalty.
And the dire consequences of the miss were emphasised five minutes later when Drogba ended the charmed life the Pompey goal had led. The positioning of keeper James may be questioned but Drogba's placement was perfect, scoring low in the corner via the upright.
Kalou then dragged a finish wide from a good position, his final contribution as he was replaced by Joe Cole with 20 minutes left. Cole received a huge ovation from the Chelsea fans amid growing speculation this could be his final game for the club before quitting on a free transfer.
And he almost scored with his first touch after Drogba saw his shot saved by James at the near post. Drogba then teed up Cole - but he miscued his effort and the chance was gone.
Chelsea were given the opportunity to give the scoreline a more convincing appearance when Lampard was fouled inside the area by Brown but he contributed to the seemingly endless drama by kicking wide.
Pompey, however, were unable to profit from the reprieve and Chelsea added the FA Cup to the Premier League crown they clinched last Sunday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chelsea Lifting The Premier League Cup


Monday, May 10, 2010

8 Star Blues Wins the Premier League


Chelsea 8 - 0 Wigan

Chelsea recaptured the Premier League title in emphatic fashion as Wigan Athletic were thrashed at Stamford Bridge.
Carlo Ancelotti's side needed victory to end Manchester United's three-season reign as champions - and once Nicolas Anelka gave them the lead after only six minutes there was never any doubt they would reclaim the crown.
Chelsea were then able to put the gloss on their triumph with another dazzling display of attacking football that ensured Ancelotti's first season in England ended with the biggest domestic prize in his grasp.
After putting seven past Sunderland, Aston Villa and Stoke City in a season that has seen them score more than a century of goals in the league, they celebrated by going one better against Roberto Martinez's hopelessly outclassed side.
The thumping win is the biggest in their 105-year history and also saw them break the record for the most league goals in a Premier League season with 103.
The previous best was the 97 Manchester United scored in the 1999/2000 season.
Wigan's cause was not helped by the first-half dismissal of defender Gary Caldwell. He was sent off for a foul on Frank Lampard that led to the England midfield man effectively wrapping up the title from the spot before half-time.
The second half was exhibition stuff with Salomon Kalou and Anelka on target again before Didier Drogba added the Golden Boot to Chelsea's title with a rapid-fire hat-trick to take his total to 29 in the league this term. Ashley Cole's crisp strike for number eight on the stroke of full-time provided a fitting finale.
Chelsea's celebrations were suitably flamboyant - a reflection of their delight at ending the Old Trafford spell of supremacy in league combat.
It also marked a personal triumph for Italian Ancelotti, brought to Stamford Bridge by owner Roman Abramovich to redefine the style of Chelsea's team and put them back among the major trophies.
Chelsea's feat in becoming the first top-flight team to score 100 goals in the league since Spurs in 1963 was a reflection of the attacking intent Ancelotti has brought, especially on home territory. The ghost of Jose Mourinho, who won the league in 2005 and 2006 to end a 50-year barren spell, may not be banished completely, but Ancelotti has made an indelible mark.
He was loudly acclaimed by Chelsea's fans throughout the second half - and let his normally impassive mask slip as he responded with a fierce clenched-fist salute to an ecstatic Stamford Bridge.
And Ancelotti can now set his sights on history as Chelsea go in search of their first league and FA Cup double when they face Portsmouth at Wembley next Saturday.
For now, however, the Premier League title will do for starters and the respect for Ancelotti was obvious in the way his players and staff raced to embrace him at the final whistle.
Chelsea's early nerves - if indeed there were any - were settled as Anelka put them on the way to the title after only six minutes.
Wigan failed to clear Drogba's free-kick and when Florent Malouda, from a suspiciously offside position, chested the ball into Anelka's path he drilled a finish past Mike Pollitt at his near post.
Despite Wigan enjoying plenty of possession and territory without posing any serious threat to Petr Cech's goal, Chelsea scored the second goal that sealed their title win 13 minutes before half-time.
Lampard raced on to Drogba's flick and was hauled down by Caldwell as he closed in on goal. The Wigan defender was shown the red card by referee Martin Atkinson and Lampard scored from the spot with his customary expertise.
As Stamford Bridge celebrated there was one unlikely dissenter in the shape of Drogba, who appeared unhappy that he had not been allowed to take the penalty as he battled with Manchester United's Wayne Rooney for the Golden Boot.
It was a huge over-reaction from the superbly gifted, but on this evidence high-maintenance, striker - with Lampard rightly reasoning the title still needed to be won and came before personal honours.
Chelsea emerged early for the second half and went into a team huddle, before putting their stamp on the title in superb style.
Kalou banished any lingering doubts that this would not be a day of celebration for the west Londoners when he exchanged passes with Lampard before beating Pollitt. And two minutes later Anelka started to put the gloss on another goal glut with a perfect right-foot volley from Branislav Ivanovic's cross.
It was the signal for Ancelotti to send on Joe Cole for what might have been his final Stamford Bridge appearance as a Chelsea player, with a new contract still unsigned.
No team has been as ruthless as the Blues at punishing stricken opponents, and they set about putting Wigan to the sword as the home fans revelled in the slaughter.

Drogba revels in beating Rooney to golden boot

Drogba finally got the goal he so obviously craved when he headed Chelsea's fifth from Lampard's cross - their 100th league goal this season.
The Ivorian striker was at it again for number six after 68 minutes when he finally got to take a penalty after Mario Melchiot fouled Ashley Cole. Lampard stood to one side as Drogba scored via a post - followed by elaborate celebrations that even involved a touchline hug for Ancelotti.
And they made it another seven-goal show with 10 minutes left as Drogba turned home from close range after Pollitt could only parry Joe Cole's shot.
If the game required the perfect finish, Ashley Cole provided it with a low finish past the shell-shocked Pollitt - before joyous scenes engulfed Stamford Bridge at the final whistle.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chelsea breeze past Liverpool edging close to the EPL cup


Liverpool 0 - 2 Chelsea

Chelsea moved to the brink of the Premier League title as they cruised to a comfortable victory against Liverpool at Anfield.
Carlo Ancelotti's side must beat Wigan at home on the final day of the season to guarantee the crown, following Manchester United's later 1-0 win at Sunderland.
After a slow start at Anfield, they were put on the path towards the title by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who gifted Didier Drogba the opening goal after 33 minutes with a dreadful backpass that left the striker with an easy job of scoring in front of The Kop.
The goal, and the manner in which it was conceded, ended Liverpool's fleeting resistance and Chelsea cantered to victory.
Frank Lampard added the second from Nicolas Anelka's cross nine minutes after the interval, with only Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina preventing a more emphatic victory margin.
Much had been made of the potentially unpalatable prospect - for Liverpool fans at least - of a victory for their team opening the door for United to eclipse the Anfield club's tally of 18 titles. But suggestions that Rafael Benitez's side would stand aside to avoid this eventuality proved incorrect.
Liverpool were not betrayed by a lack of effort, it was a lack of energy after playing through 120 minutes against Atletico Madrid on Thursday to no avail that was part of their downfall. And more crucially, in a condemnation of a managerial reign that may well be coming to a close, it was a lack of quality and squad strength assembled by Benitez that was brutally exposed by Chelsea.
As Chelsea ruthlessly closed in on the points, Liverpool saw their last faint hopes of Champions League football extinguished with one game left of a season that started with so much optimism but is ending awash with uncertainty surrounding the future of Benitez, and the ownership of the club.
Benitez joined Liverpool's squad and their families as they made their way around Anfield as a "thank you" to their supporters after the final whistle - but the response to the manager was relatively muted and there is a growing sense that this is likely to turn out to be his final game at Anfield in charge after a six-year reign.
In contrast to Liverpool's despair, Chelsea know the title is almost in their grasp - with the possibility of clinching an historic double with the FA Cup final against Portsmouth still to come.
Benitez resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes after Liverpool's Europa League exit. Injured Glen Johnson was replaced by Sotirios Kyrgiakos, while Maxi Rodriguez, ineligible against Atletico, came in for Ryan Babel.
Lampard was just off target from long-range inside the first minute, but Liverpool emerged as the better side in what was admittedly a desperately mediocre opening half hour.
Alberto Aquilani came closest in that spell with a drive from outside the penalty area that glanced off the bar with Chelsea keeper Petr Cech beaten.
As the opening half threatened to drift aimlessly to its conclusion, a shocking error from Gerrard presented Chelsea with a lead their lacklustre efforts barely deserved. Under no pressure, Liverpool's captain sent a backpass straight to Drogba, who could barely believe his luck as he rounded Reina to score in an unguarded net.
Chelsea believed they should have had the opportunity to double their advantage in the dying moments of the half when Salomon Kalou fell as he raced into the box accompanied by Lucas. Referee Alan Wiley appeared to put the whistle his lips in readiness to award a penalty, but then waved away Chelsea's claims.
Ancelotti's side started with real purpose after the break, with Anelka somehow failing to convert Kalou's cross from almost on the goalline - but they did not have to wait long for the goal their fans clearly believed clinched the title.
The brutal truth for Liverpool was that it was not a lack of effort or desire that let them down - it was a lack of class and quality
Anelka made amends for his earlier miss by beating Liverpool's attempts to play the offside trap before crossing for Lampard to slide in a simple finish.
The fight visibly drained out of Liverpool, who had to replace the injured Jamie Carragher with Daniel Ayala, and Reina had to produce an outstanding save low to his left to turn away Florent Malouda's volley.
Reina was keeping the score within respectable proportions for a Liverpool side who had barely raised a gallop after Drogba's goal, and he was forced to save twice from Anelka in the space of seconds as Chelsea went in for the kill.
All that was left was for Chelsea to play out time without any mishaps - which they were able to do without alarm as they moved to the brink of reclaiming the Premier League that they last won in 2006.