Sunday, August 7, 2011



Super-sharp finishing by Daniel Sturridge kept the 100 per cent pre-season record going as the team maintained their composure despite conceding for the first time this summer. The England Under 21 international netted twice in the first half with Florent Malouda scoring in the second. Frank Lampard was denied from the penalty spot.
Andre Villas-Boas's men dominated against a team four games into their competitive season and the back line in particular was well-organised. The game drew a bumper crowd of over 47,000 fans, the home support seeing their own side contribute to their goals conceded. Chelsea look ready for Stoke next weekend.
Best moment
Sturridge's first goal was the mark of a predator but his second topped it as he had plenty to think about before smashing in. It is a shame he must serve a suspension when the season kicks off.

Team news
Ramires who returned to training this week went straight into the team. Frank Lampard moved to his more usual left-side berth with the Brazilian back. Alex started his first game of pre season alongside John Terry. Up front, Torres started with Kalou and Sturridge out wide. Changes were made before and during the second half.

Rangers picked their first-choice attack but did include at the back some less-used players this season.
First half
There was a suspicion of a Rangers foul in their area early on when Wallace had his hands on Kalou but Chelsea were awarded a free-kick much further back on five minutes which Alex smacked well off target.
A minute later Chelsea conceded the first goal of the summer preparations, caught by a smart Rangers counter attack. The diminutive Davies was played into space on the right and crossed to the far post where centre-forward Jelavic was unmarked to head past a helpless Cech.
As Chelsea looked for a quick response, Torres was released into the area by a long ball and looked to have a good shout for a shove in the back as he tumbled before shooting.

A good passage of Chelsea play followed, but being camped in the Rangers half couldn't be turned into much ball inside their penalty area.
The pressure did pay off however when after 21 minutes, Torres and Lampard forced a defensive mistake and a loose ball across the six-yard box. Sturridge pounced and smashed it high into the net. Rangers fans had been welcoming to Chelsea in general but they didn't like that one, Sturridge having previous been involved in a row with their left-midfielder Ortiz having been kicked in a foul.
McGregor in the Rangers goal had not been tested before the equaliser but now Torres warmed his hands with a shot.
Cech had to be quick to the ball to stop Naismith snapping up a chance from a set-piece delivery into the area but on 29 minutes the visitors took the lead. Again the home team defence was complicit, left-back Wallace caught with the ball out wide by Sturridge who then showed a great killer touch to advance on goal and give McGregor no chance. It was 2-1 Chelsea.

McGregor did well to keep out Kalou after Torres had penetrated the 'Gers defence with a skilful run and Sturridge could have completed a first-half hat-trick had his second touch on a Ferreira pass not been too strong.
It was all going well leading up to the break, but unfortunately the good mood was spoiled when Mikel was forced off on 43 minutes, clearly in some pain due to an ankle injury. McEachran came on.

Second half
There were two more changes before therestart, Drogba for Torres and Bosingwa for Ferreira.
One of Rangers subs, David Healy was denied a clear run at the Chelsea goal by an offside flag and for a while the Glasgow club were looking a match for the Premier League side. Terry made sure he dominated in the air but when one ball dropped kindly for the home side, Ortiz volleyed wide.
Just before the hour, France pair Anelka and Malouda were added to the mix, and Anelka's first job was to cross after good approach work from McEachran but he couldn't hit a target.
Rangers, as throughout the game were getting the ball forward quickly but they were up against a smooth-operating offside trap.
Drogba began to make his considerable presence felt. He fired a 66th minute rocket just inches wide and five minutes later was given the time and space inside the area he can only dream of having when the campaign kicks off next week. He used it to tee up a header for Malouda who obliged by nodding in from close range.

A minute later the Ivorian surged into the area and was tripped by the foot of Broadfoot, the ref giving the penalty after looking at his linesman. Lampard was prevented from making it 4-1 when he shot too close to McGregor who saved on the deck.
The keeper also stopped a tame shot when Anelka should have done better and he pouched when Drogba headed on target.
Before the end there was some work for Cech, who was pleased to see a Healy's well-struck effort fly straight into his hands.
The Chelsea team were given a big ovation by the home support on leaving the pitch.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ferreira (Bosingwa h-t), Alex (Kalas 86), Terry (c), Cole; Ramires (Benayoun 71), Mikel (McEachran 43), Lampard (Chalobah 85); Kalou (Malouda 59), Torres (Drogba h-t), Sturridge (Anelka 59).
Unused sub Turnbull.
Goals Sturridge 21, 29, Malouda 71.
Rangers (4-4-1-1): McGregor; McMillan, Bartley (Perry h-t), Broadfoot, Wallace; Davis (c) (Bendiksen 62), Hutton, Edu (Fleck h-t), Ortiz (Kerkar 82); Naismith (Ness 62); Jelavic (Healy h-t).
Subs Alexander, Little, Hemmings, Beattie.
Goal Jelavic 6.
Referee Craig Thomson
Crowd 47,379.

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