Didier Drogba scored twice as Chelsea returned to the top of the Premier
League with a 4-1 win
Chelsea 4-1 West Ham United
A wonder strike from Scott Parker was not enough to prevent West Ham United
from slipping to defeat at the hands of new Barclays Premier League leaders
Chelsea. The Hammers midfielder capped a dogged display at Stamford Bridge
with a stunning volleyed goal on the half-hour but it was a rare high point.
Parker's goal cancelled out Alex's 16th-minute header but Chelsea restored
their advantage in the second half when Didier Drogba scored two close-range
goals either side of a Florent Malouda strike. Gianfranco Zola had made four
changes to his lineup with Mido spearheading a 4-5-1 formation in place of
the rested Carlton Cole. A top-flight debut came at left-back for Fabio
Daprela, in for the injured Julien Faubert, with Jonathan Spector reverting
to right-back. Ilan got a start out wide in place of Alessandro Diamanti.
Chelsea began in imperious fashion with Malouda a threat down the left-wing
and Danny Gabbidon, the fourth new face from last week, required to pull off
several last-ditch blocks. Drogba offered much with his movement but still
Robert Green had not been truly tested when Ilan was presented with a golden
chance on 13 minutes. The Brazilian forward was teed up by Mido's pull-back
after a lofted pass by Radoslav Kovac had initially played Jonathan Spector
in behind the Chelsea defence. When the ball fell to Ilan it seemed a
certain goal, only for his shot to clear the bar and sail harmlessly into
the crowd. It was to prove a costly miss three minutes later when, after
Spector had conceded possession, Chelsea capitalised on a corner to open the
scoring. The ball worked its way out to Malouda and his inch-perfect centre
allowed Alex to nod in unmarked. Drogba had a free-kick chance eight minutes
later but sent it high and wide and the Ivory Coast forward pushed another
opportunity wide soon afterwards. At that point there was no sign of the
brilliance to come from Parker. As the half-hour approached, he let fly with
a stunning 30-yard strike from Kieron Dyer's throw-in that gave debutant
goalkeeper Ross Turnbull no chance.
Chelsea were stunned by that, but Frank Lampard nearly found an immediate
response after combining with Michael Ballack before letting fly with a shot
that Green had to tip around the post. Parker was firing on all cylinders
though and, in the next attack, produced a superb tackle on Lampard that
summed up the Hammers' first-half resistance. It was a physical but not
dirty contest, although Mido was to go in the referee's notebook five
minutes after half-time for a crunching challenge. Daprela was to do well on
54 minutes with a last-ditch clearance to deny the on-rushing Ballack
meeting a left-wing cross. Chelsea were pushing and two minutes later John
Terry surged 60 yards before laying the ball off for Drogba. He quickly
turned it out to Malouda and moved into a central position to head in the
return cross and restore the home side's advantage. Only a magnificent save
from Green stopped Terry making the game safe soon after the restart. Both
managers then made a flurry of changes with Joe Cole on for Chelsea and
Carlton Cole and Junior Stanislas arriving for Mido and Dyer. The
substitutions did little to alter the status quo and the points were lost on
77 minutes when Malouda was able to spiral through the defence and slot the
ball into the corner beyond Green's despairing dive. Diamanti arrived for
Ilan in the closing stages but Chelsea could have had a fourth when Lampard
flicked against the post.
It duly came as the 90-minute mark arrived, Drogba lashing in his second to
cap a miserable afternoon. The Hammers face an equally tough test next
Saturday away to Arsenal before a potentially decisive home double-header
against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Stoke City sees out the month.
Zola still fighting
The manager may have been frustrated again but he has faith his team can get
the job done
Gianfranco Zola was left to reflect what might have been after a spirited
hour's play was undone by a rampant Chelsea on Saturday. The West Ham United
manager had been delighted to see Scott Parker cap an imperious personal
display with a stunning equaliser to Alex's early goal on the half-hour mark
- only for the home side to turn on the style after the break and win it 4-1
with two goals from Didier Drogba either side of a Florent Malouda effort.
"It was very good for 65 minutes," said Zola, who had experimented with Mido
up front as the lone striker after an impressive week at Chadwell Heath
while Carlton Cole had trained just twice as he returns to full fitness
following knee troubles. "As soon as we conceded the second goal, the boys
went flat because they had spent so much energy to contain them. Before then
we looked OK, we looked good. The second goal really killed us - after that
Chelsea took advantage of the space."
Chelsea's victory took them back to the top of the Barclays Premier League
ahead of a UEFA Champions League date with Internazionale on Tuesday, an
indicator of the size of the task that had always faced the Hammers in
Saturday's contest. However, the manager was staying positive ahead of his
team's next outing at Arsenal. Deserving of special praise was midfield
maestro Parker, who dominated the centre of the pitch in front of the
watching Fabio Capello, even when Chelsea were in the ascendancy. "Scott
Parker's goal was a cracker. I keep telling him to shoot more than he does.
I am pleased for him. He was fantastic for us and set the tone. Hopefully it
will be the first of many."
Zola was also able to give left-back Fabio Daprela a Barclays Premier League
debut, while seeing Danny Gabbidon and Kieron Dyer get valuable minutes
under their belt. "It is vital that you look to the positives. That doesn't
mean that we will turn our backs on the problems. "We won't do that. As a
manager I take a lot of good things. I believe all the team worked very hard
and gave everything. If we keep in that way, we will get what we deserve.
"This attitude is going to make the difference when we play other teams. I
told the players, I am not going to give up anything. We have another tough
match against Arsenal and we won't go there thinking about anything other
than trying to get the victory."
U18s hold Royals
West Ham United's U18s fought back to draw 1-1 with Reading at Little Heath
Eoin Wearen's 80th-minute equaliser secured West Ham United's U18s a
deserved 1-1 FA Premier Academy League draw with Reading on Saturday
morning. The Republic of Ireland U17 midfielder stole in behind the Royals
defence to volley Dominic Vose's right-wing free-kick past the goalkeeper.
Reading had taken the lead through a controversial penalty before half-time,
but the Hammers could even have stolen all three points had the referee not
turned down a convincing spot-kick appeal when Robert Hall appeared to be
taken out in the closing moments. Tony Carr's side continue their league
campaign with a trip to Leicester City next Saturday.
West Ham United U18: Mehmet, Sanchez, McNaughton, Craig, Driver, Vose,
Moncur, Barrett (Okus 46), Turgott (Wearen 60), Purdy (Hall 60), Subuola
Chelsea 4 - 1 West Ham
By Marc Vesty
Dominant Chelsea thrashed relegation-threatened West Ham to return to the
Premier League summit. Florent Malouda crossed for Alex to open the scoring
for Chelsea with a powerful header from six yards. The Hammers hit back
through Scott Parker who scored with a vicious half-volley from outside the
area. But Didier Drogba headed home a Malouda cross to regain the lead,
before Malouda coolly slotted a third and Drogba tapped in a late fourth.
From the start, West Ham defended deep against title-chasing Chelsea -
perhaps unsurprisingly considering they started the day only three points
outside of the bottom three, yet it was the Hammers who had the first chance
to take the lead. Jonathan Spector outmuscled Paulo Ferreira on the byeline
and the loose ball fell to Mido who squared to Ilan, unmarked on the edge of
the six yard box, but the Brazilian hammered his effort over the bar.
Chelsea might have seen their formidable Stamford Bridge record dented by a
loss to Manchester City in their previous league match, but they were in no
mood for a second setback and took the lead just two minutes after Ilan's
miss. Malouda, in space on the left, produced an inch-perfect cross which
defender Alex powered past Robert Green to open the scoring. Carlo
Ancelotti's side almost made it 2-0 moments later courtesy of another cross
from the lively Malouda, but the ball clipped the bar after taking a
deflection off Matthew Upson's thigh. But if Chelsea thought the game would
go all their way they were mistaken as Gianfranco Zola's well organised side
harried and their tenacity was rewarded when Parker struck in spectacular
style. Kieron Dyer's throw in, which television replays suggested was a foul
throw, was flicked on by Jon Mikel Obi and bounced kindly for Parker. The
former Chelsea man, who left Stamford Bridge for Newcastle in 2005, took one
touch before launching a looping right-footed half-volley beyond Turnbull
and into the top right corner - for the midfielder's first goal of the
season. That was to be as good as it got for West Ham who, despite no lack
of effort, were overpowered by Chelsea. The main source of danger for the
home side was France winger Malouda, who continued to torment Spector, but
Chelsea's second goal owed more to a piece of John Terry-inspired attacking
The former England skipper dribbled the ball into West Ham's half before
finding Drogba who slipped the ball out to Malouda, the winger returning the
compliment with a perfect cross for Drogba to score. As Chelsea threatened
to add another, Green, playing his 116th successive league game, at least
had the opportunity to impress watching England boss Fabio Capello. And
Green did exactly that when another Chelsea cross found Alex who saw the
England goalkeeper palm the ball around the post at full stretch. Malouda
finally added the goal his endeavour deserved when Drogba controlled a long
ball and laid it off to the winger, who coolly passed his finish beyond
Green. Frank Lampard hit the post from Malouda's cross as Chelsea threatened
to give the score a slightly unfair edge but West Ham could not hold out for
long. After finding space Lampard struck another fierce effort, this time
spilled by Green, and Drogba was perfectly placed to score his 27th goal of
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti: "I think Malouda was the best player in
this game. "He was always giving us ideas on the left hand side, putting in
crosses and when he scored that was a good moment. "We maintained a good
balance in the second half. We had a bit of a problem but we are improving
and are confident for Tuesday [against Inter Milan]."
On goalkeeper Ross Turnbull, Ancelotti added: "He did well, he played with
confidence and good personality and he is a good goalkeeper. "I think he
will be in goal on Tuesday, we have confidence in Turnbull."
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola: "It was very good for 65 minutes but as
soon as we conceded the second goal it was too hard for us. "I saw the boys
go flat because they had used so much energy trying to contain them. "It is
vital that you keep it on the positive side. That doesn't mean you turn your
back on the problems, we will be dealing with those in the week. "The
attitude that we put forward against team like Chelsea can make the
difference when we play against teams around us. "I am not going to give up
anything. We have another tough game against Arsenal next week and I'm not
going to go there already beaten."
Hammers and wrongs
Zola needed more mobility up front, says Charlie
Last updated: 13th March 2010
Chelsea 4-1 West Ham
Soccer Saturday analysis
Charlie Nicholas predicts tough times ahead for West Ham after seeing
Gianfranco Zola's side suffer a 4-1 defeat to table-topping Chelsea. The
Hammers held their own in the first half as Scott Parker's sweet strike
cancelled out an Alex header but they fell away after the break, prompting
Nicholas to question the visitors' defensive qualities and team selection.
"There is no way I can look at this defence and think they are solid
enough," he told Soccer Saturday. "Zola says they need 10 points and they
are away to the Arsenal next, so they have got tough times ahead. They've
got to defend much better than this."
Zola gave a very rare start to Kieron Dyer but admitted he was more
concerned by the absence of both Carlton Cole and Alessandro Diamanti. "He
[Zola] played Araujo Ilan up front with Mido, who is a big lump so you know
you are going to hit him as the target man. "But I think you have got to
have a bit of mobility to move Alex and John Terry; Carlton Cole is strong
and his mobile. "When he got on for about 15 minutes you could see he was up
for it. I certainly did think Zola got it wrong today."
The victory restored Chelsea to the top of the Premier League table and
Nicholas paid tribute to Florent Malouda, who he felt was a major influence
on the outcome. "Chelsea didn't play brilliantly again today," he said. "I
would pick out Malouda as the main man. From the word go he got a nice bit
of space as Jonathan Spector stood off him a little bit too often. "To be to
Spector he didn't get too much support. I really did think when Alex scored
a simple header after 16 minutes that this would be a cruising day for
"But Scott Parker's hit a stunning goal. He had a very good first half. He
was very disciplined in matching Frank Lampard's runs into the box and
blocking his shots. "He hit a stunning strike - there was no chance for
debutant Ross Turnbull. He really, really buried it. "So it was 1-1 at
half-time and I felt so long as West Ham go and squeeze Malouda and stop
those crosses [they'd be ok]. "But they didn't take care of it. Malouda set
up Didier Drogba for the second, he scored the third himself and then he
went off and Drogba finished it off by pouncing on a spill from Green. "West
Ham looked a bit all over the place defensively at times; they gave it away
cheaply today. They've really only got themselves to blame. Chelsea didn't
have to play great to win comfortably."
The match saw goalkeeper Ross Turnbull make his league debut for the Blues
and it appears as though the new boy will keep the gloves for Tuesday's
Champions League last-16 return leg against Inter Milan. Assessing
Turnbull's display, Nicholas said: "There were three or four crosses he came
for; he came through a bit of traffic and looked very comfortable. He took
them nice and clean. "He had a couple of decent saves towards the end; he
had no chance whatsoever for the goal, no chance. It just flew by him.
"Other than that, he looked very, very comfortable all afternoon and
thoroughly enjoyed his day. It was a pleasant debut for him and I think
they'll be quite relaxed about him being No 1."
Zola - Scoreline was unfair
Hammers boss not downhearted after Chelsea reverse
Last updated: 13th March 2010
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola believes his side's 4-1 defeat to Chelsea
was an unfair scoreline. The Hammers went into the break on level terms at
Stamford Bridge after Scott Parker's sweet half-volley cancelled out Alex's
earlier header. But they were undone by second-half goals from Florent
Malouda and Didier Drogba (2), and they slipped to their third loss in as
many games. Zola was not dejected after the final whistle though, and says
the scoreline flattered his former team. Asked whether it was a fair result,
he told Sky Sports: "I think not because I think it is too much for my team.
For the way we played, the way we worked - 4-1 doesn't in my opinion reflect
a fair result. "Probably they deserved to win because obviously Chelsea is a
good team and they produced some good chances, good football, but 4-1 I
think is too much for my team." Zola made a number of changes for the game,
leaving Carlton Cole and Alessandro Diamanti on the bench and Guillermo
Franco out of the squad. However, the Italian tactician did not blame the
defeat on his selection decisions. Asked if his changes worked, he added:
"Looking at the result I would say no but I think some were necessary and
for a while I think it worked quite okay. "I don't think the difference was
the changes that we made I think it was the fact that the second game came
at a moment where in my opinion we were playing better than Chelsea, and
that second goal killed everybody."
The defeat leaves the Hammers looking over their shoulders at the bottom of
the Premier League table, and Zola knows they are in a relegation fight. "We
know that we are not in a safe zone, we know that," he remarked. "But we are
confident that we have enough in our bag and we are determined to leave that
position quick." West Ham take on Arsenal in their next game, and Zola
believes they must try and get something at the Emirates. "It is not easy
but that doesn't mean that we cannot go there and beat them," he said. Asked
on his opinion on who will win the title, Zola replied: "I think Chelsea are
one of the favourites. I think Manchester United look good as well but don't
forget Arsenal don't have to play any of the others. "That is a big
advantage as Chelsea and Manchester United have to play against each other.
"So there might be an opportunity for them."
Bullish Blues bash Hammers
Chelsea run out comfortable winners at the Bridge
By James Riach Last updated: 13th March 2010
Man of the match: Florent Malouda was a constant menace down the left and
came away with a goal and two assists.
Goal of the match: Scott Parker's sublime strike was an absolute stunner -
the marking was slack from the throw but the ball flew past the helpless
Miss of the match: Brazilian Ilan missed a howler in the early stages of the
game, blazing over from close range after good work from Jonathan Spector
Moment of the match: Parker's goal against his old club was the stand-out
moment, although Ilan could have changed the game if he converted that early
Talking point: Without really performing to their best, Chelsea came away
with an emphatic win. Is this the sign of a title-winning side?
Chelsea went back to the top of the Premier League after a consummate
second-half performance saw them beat West Ham 4-1. The Blues took the lead
after just 16 minutes at Stamford Bridge when Brazilian defender Alex nodded
a Florent Malouda cross past Robert Green. But the home side were pegged
back when old boy Scott Parker scored a superb equaliser, his half-volley
whistling into the back of the net from 25 yards out. Chelsea upped the
tempo after the break though, and re-took the lead when Didier Drogba headed
home at the far post, Malouda again the provider from the left. The French
winger had an excellent game, which he capped with a goal on 77 minutes,
slotting home from the edge of the box with the West Ham defenders backing
away, and Drogba put the gloss on the result in the dying minutes as he
poked home a Frank Lampard shot that was parried by Green. Chelsea
goalkeeper Ross Turnbull made his league debut for the club and looked
confident enough ahead of Tuesday night's UEFA Champions League last-16
return leg against Inter Milan. The keeper, third choice all season, will be
asked to play against Inter, who lead 2-1 from the first leg, due to
injuries to Petr Cech and Hilario.
Chelsea were given a sterner test than they would have wanted by a West Ham
side that went in 1-1 at the interval. Ancelotti's side had the better of
the early exchanges but West Ham should have been ahead in the 13th minute.
Mido's low cross from the byline found Araujo Ilan unmarked just eight yards
out but the West Ham striker blazed his effort over the crossbar.The miss
proved costly for West Ham as Chelsea went ahead two minutes later through
Brazilian defender Alex. The Hammers failed to clear a corner from Malouda
and when the ball was returned to the France winger, his cross was headed
home by the unmarked Alex. It was the defender's first goal of the season
but it could have been worse for the Hammers seconds later. Another cross
from Malouda caused panic in the West Ham defence and a deflection off
Matthew Upson looked to be heading for his own net until goalkeeper Green
just managed to palm it away to safety. In the 27th minute, Chelsea carved
West Ham open again and Frank Lampard's curling cross found Drogba at the
far post only for the Ivorian to miss the target. But West Ham were level in
the 29th minute when former Chelsea midfielder Parker sent a 25-yard volley
over Turnbull and into the top corner. Turnbull could do nothing about
Parker's effort but once again Chelsea were guilty of failing to defend a
throw-in. The goal stunned Chelsea and their response was predictable and
rapid. In the 35th minute, Green had to dive at full-stretch to keep out a
20-yard low drive from Lampard. Two minutes later, Nicolas Anelka tried his
luck from 20 yards but the ball was comfortably collected by Green. Malouda
was a constant threat to West Ham and five minutes before the break he sent
over another dangerous cross but Paulo Ferreira could only direct his header
into the arms of Green. Chelsea almost restored their advantage when a 53rd
minute cross from Malouda just eluded Michael Ballack at the far post. But
the home side were ahead again in the 55th minute and the driving force was
captain John Terry.
The Chelsea defender surged forward to the edge of West Ham penalty area and
allowed Drogba to lay the ball off to Malouda on the left wing. The France
winger delivered another pinpoint cross into the six-yard box and this time
Drogba headed home from point-blank range for his 26th goal of the season,
his 20th in the league. The Chelsea fans began chanting, "There's only one
England captain" as England coach Fabio Capello watched on from the West
stand. Moments later Chelsea were denied a third by a great save from Green
who dived to his right to tip away a header from Alex. In the 65th minute,
Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole was given a chance to shine before Capello when
he replaced Anelka. It was followed moments later by a double substitution
for the Hammers, Junior Stanislas replaced Kieron Dyer and Mido made way for
Carlton Cole. Malouda made it 3-1 to Chelsea in the 76th minute with a
20-yard shot into the bottom corner. It was a fitting reward for the France
winger who had set up both of Chelsea's earlier goals.
Chelsea were then denied a fourth in the 85th minute when Lampard's glancing
shot hit the far post. Drogba completed the scoring in the 89th minute with
his 27th goal of the season, finishing off from close range after Green had
palmed a Lampard shot into his path.
Blues overcome Hammers' resistance
Updated: March 13, 2010, 8:00 AM UK
Chelsea went back to the top of the Premier League with a comfortable win
over West Ham at Stamford Bridge. Brazilian defender Alex headed Chelsea in
front in the 15th minute but Scott Parker levelled with a stunning volley on
the half-hour mark. Didier Drogba rose unmarked to restore Chelsea's lead in
the 55th minute before Florent Malouda's 20-yard effort in the 76th minute
and Drogba's second put Carlo Ancelotti's side one point clear of Manchester
United at the summit. Chelsea goalkeeper Ross Turnbull made his league debut
for the club and looked confident enough ahead of Tuesday night's Champions
League last-16 return leg against Inter Milan. The keeper, third choice all
season, will be asked to play against Inter, who lead 2-1 from the first
leg, due to injuries to Petr Cech and Hilario. Chelsea were given a sterner
test than they would have wanted by a West Ham side that went in 1-1 at the
interval. Ancelotti's side had the better of the early exchanges but West
Ham should have been ahead in the 13th minute. Mido's low cross from the
byline found Araujo Ilan unmarked just eight yards out but the West Ham
striker blazed his effort over the crossbar. The miss proved costly for West
Ham as Chelsea went ahead two minutes later through Brazilian defender Alex.
The Hammers failed to clear a corner from Malouda and when the ball was
returned to the France winger, his cross was headed home by the unmarked
Alex. It was the defender's first goal of the season but it could have been
worse for the Hammers seconds later. Another cross from Malouda caused panic
in the West Ham defence and a deflection off Matthew Upson looked to be
heading for his own net until goalkeeper Robert Green just managed to palm
it away to safety. In the 27th minute, Chelsea carved West Ham open again
and Frank Lampard's curling cross found Drogba at the far post only for the
Ivorian to miss the target.
But West Ham were level in the 29th minute when former Chelsea midfielder
Parker sent a 25-yard volley over Turnbull and into the top corner. Turnbull
could do nothing about Parker's effort but once again Chelsea were guilty of
failing to defend a throw-in. The goal stunned Chelsea and their response
was predictable and rapid. In the 35th minute, Green had to dive at
full-stretch to keep out a 20-yard low drive from Lampard. Two minutes
later, Nicolas Anelka tried his luck from 20 yards but the ball was
comfortably collected by Green. Malouda was a constant threat to West Ham
and five minutes before the break he sent over another dangerous cross but
Paulo Ferreira could only direct his header into the arms of Green. Chelsea
almost restored their advantage when a 53rd minute cross from Malouda just
eluded Michael Ballack at the far post. But the home side were ahead again
in the 55th minute and the driving force was captain John Terry. The Chelsea
defender surged forward to the edge of West Ham penalty area and allowed
Drogba to lay the ball off to Malouda on the left wing.
The France winger delivered another pinpoint cross into the six-yard box and
this time Drogba headed home from point-blank range for his 26th goal of the
season - his 20th in the league. The Chelsea fans began chanting "There's
only one England captain" as England coach Fabio Capello watched on from the
West stand. Moments later Chelsea were denied a third by a great save from
Green who dived to his right to tip away a header from Alex. In the 65th
minute, Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole was given a chance to shine before
Capello when he replaced Anelka. It was followed moments later by a double
substitution for the Hammers - Junior Stanislas replaced Kieron Dyer and
Mido made way for Carlton Cole. Malouda made it 3-1 to Chelsea in the 76th
minute with a 20-yard shot into the bottom corner. It was a fitting reward
for the France winger who had set up both of Chelsea's earlier goals.
Chelsea were then denied a fourth in the 85th minute when Lampard's glancing
shot hit the far post. Drogba completed the scoring in the 89th minute with
his 27th goal of the season - finishing off from close range after Green had
palmed a Lampard shot into his path.
Carlo Ancelotti insists Chelsea are ready for the return of Jose Mourinho
and Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Inter
surprisingly lost to Catania on Friday night and that, coupled with
Chelsea's victory over West Ham, has put the Blues in the perfect frame of
mind. "I don't think we sent a message,'' said Ancelotti. "The game is in
the balance. We want to win but so do Inter. We have to do our best to win
and in this moment we are in good condition to do our best. I have not seen
Inter's game yet, I will watch it on Sunday.''
Ancelotti was a little coy though when it came to the situation concerning
his goalkeeping choice for Tuesday night's game. Third-choice keeper Ross
Turnbull made his Blues debut against West Ham, and while he looked
competent enough, he had little to do. His inexperience, particularly when
it comes to the Champions League, may be a concern for the Blues. Chelsea
are without calf injury victim Petr Cech and his deputy Hilario, has a groin
strain. But Chelsea may well try to rush Hilario back to full fitness in
time although Ancelotti continued to maintain Turnbull will play. "We can
play with a good goalkeeper on Tuesday,'' he added. "Ross was not involved a
lot of time in the game but he did a good save in the last minute of the
match. "He played with confidence and a good game. There was no worry. This
is important. he deserved to play this game because he trained very well in
the last month to improve his quality. We have confidence in him. I think he
will play Tuesday.''
After the 4-2 defeat to Manchester City at home, Ancelotti was looking for
his side to bounce back in the league. They delivered the response
perfectly. "It was important to have a good reaction,'' said the Italian.
"We had a good reaction against Stoke and we improved again today. We had a
bad day against Manchester City but we came back the right way. It was a
very good performance.''
West Ham coach Gianfranco Zola said the scoreline was not a true reflection
of the game but they could not recover from Chelsea's second goal from
Drogba. "It was tough after the second goal,'' said Zola. "Until then we
looked okay. But the second goal was a big blow. "We played well and kept
the control. Scott Parker was dominating in my opinion and I thought we
could have got something. But Chelsea punish you when you make mistakes.
"The result does not reflect the way the game was played. It was too much. I
feel for my players because they worked hard all the game and they did not
deserve that result. The first goal was poor marking and we lost our shape
for the second.''
Chelsea need to tighten up against Inter
By Kevin Palmer, Stamford Bridge
March 13, 2010
The cracks that have been slowly emerging in Chelsea's title charge were
threatening to widen as West Ham became the latest side to test the
ambitions of Carlo Ancelotti's men at Stamford Bridge.
After Chelsea's last home game in the Premier League ended with a shocking
4-2 home defeat against Manchester City on a day when sport seemed secondary
to the soap opera featuring John Terry and Wayne Bridge, normal service
simply had to be resumed if Carlo Ancelotti's men were to maintain their
status as title contenders.
As Alex headed the Blues ahead with a 16th-minute header that should have
settled any fraying nerves among his team, it seemed as if this battle
against London rivals who have become Chelsea's increasingly poor relations
in recent years would develop into a predictably one-sided battle.
Yet a stunning leveller from Scott Parker after half an hour drew gasps from
uncertain Chelsea supporters and, for the half hour that followed, all the
edginess that has crept into Ancelotti's side in recent weeks was magnified
as their tension level began to rise with each passing minute.
As the first half wound towards a close with West Ham looking comfortable at
the back, the Stamford Bridge faithful began to vent their venom with
increasing velocity until the man at the centre of the storm that unsettled
Chelsea over the last six weeks stepped forward to prove his worth all over
Under the watchful eye of England boss Fabio Capello, Chelsea's mood was
instantly lifted as Terry picked up the ball and charged at the West Ham
defence like a battering ram determined to find a way through a firmly
assembled wall. Moments later, his side's second goal had arrived and the
victory they craved was never to be in doubt again.
The move may have ended with a Florent Malouda cross and a headed Didier
Drogba finish, but the name being yelled from the Matthew Harding Stand was
not that of goal maker or taker as they hailed the contribution of their
captain fantastic. Having been on the receiving end of some vicious abuse
from the travelling supporters for much of the afternoon, Terry had provided
the best response possible and, with that, the spirit of Gianfranco Zola's
Hammers had been shattered.
Malouda's 76th-minute shot capped his fine overall display and Drogba added
a fourth late on, but this disguised the reality that this had been far from
convincing display from Chelsea for lengthy periods, with the likes of
Nicolas Anelka, Michael Ballack and Jon Obi Mikel struggling to make their
It was only after their second goal that Chelsea played with the sort of
freedom they have failed to provide in the last month or so and Zola was
among those feeling the score flattered the home side.
"I felt we were in control of the situation until their second goal and I do
not feel the final scoreline is fair on my team," he said.
"John Terry did well to get into position for the second goal, but we didn't
do enough to stop him bursting forward. Then the quality of the cross from
Malouda made it easy for Drogba. Up to that moment, we were in contention
and it looked as if we were in a position to get something, but teams like
Chelsea punish you if you make any mistakes."
Ancelotti was a little more positive as he reflected on his team's display,
with his version of events coming with a touch of Italian gloss. "We have
reacted well after the Manchester City defeat and that is what I expected
from this team," he said.
"We ended up playing with confidence and the result is so important at this
moment in the season. Every game can decide our future from now on and there
is no room for mistakes."
It is hard to know whether a Chelsea performance of this quality would be
enough to overturn the 2-1 first leg deficit against Inter Milan on Tuesday
night, but it may be that Ancelotti's biggest break of the season will be
provided by his old foe Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea are not at their best right now, but classy sides tend to emerge
from a mini-slump quicker than their more average rivals and victory against
Inter may well provide the spark that will allow the Blues to re-establish
the aura they have lost in recent weeks.
The scale of Inter's slump was highlighted by their resounding 3-1 Serie A
defeat at Catania on Friday night and it may be that Chelsea are running
into their old boss at just the right moment. If they beat Inter on Tuesday,
the confidence would doubtless flow back through Chelsea veins in
exhilarating fashion and yet defeat against Inter could have the opposite
At least Chelsea are heading into their biggest game of the season with
their position atop the Premier League table restored for the time being.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Florent Malouda. Some of Chelsea's big guns struggled to
fire against West Ham, but Malouda was a constant threat on the right flank
and his 76th minute goal sealed the game.
GOLD CHARITY: West Ham joint-owner David Gold was in generous mood before
kick-off as he threw a weighty contribution into the 'Help the Heroes'
bucket outside Stamford Bridge.
COMPUTER SHAM: Chelsea are often accused of being a club that attracts
somewhat flaky supporters and they are doing little to dispel that myth with
their decision to install a host of computer game consoles at the back of
the stand, designed to ease the boredom for 'fans' who lose interest in the
action. The computers were used throughout this London derby by kids who had
little interest in the action on the pitch.
DEATH OF THE BLACK BOOT: There was a time when any footballer wearing
footwear in a colour other than black would have been considered as
something of an eccentric, yet only three of the starters in this game were
sporting the traditional dark attire. White or yellow boots was the favoured
choice on this occasion.
DROGBA COMEDY: Stamford Bridge held its breath as big Didier lined up a
24th-minute free-kick, but to say he miscued his effort would be polite. His
shot ended up closer to the corner flag than the goal and even Drogba had to
laugh at his effort.
CHELSEA VERDICT: Blues fans should not allow the conclusive nature of the
final score line in this game to blur the reality that some of their key men
are out of form just now. They need to click back into top gear against
Inter Milan on Tuesday night.
WEST HAM VERDICT: Zola's men can take much from the first 60 minutes of this
game, but the final result confirms their relegation fears are very real.
This kind of game will not decide their fate, but they need to pick up some
Chelsea 4 West Ham United 1: match report
By Duncan White at Stamford Bridge
Published: 5:17PM GMT 13 Mar 2010
They are welcoming back their old heroes to Stamford Bridge this week,
although welcoming might not be the right word. Gianfranco Zola left the
stadium he used to thrill with his side ruthless humbled by a Chelsea team
that returned to the top of the league.
Sport on television Chelsea were inspired by a superb Florent Malouda, who
made the first two goals and scored the third. The France international was
back playing in his favoured role on the left wing, having deputised for the
suspended Michael Ballack in midfield against Stoke City last weekend. He
destroyed Jonathan Spector, the West Ham United right back, and Zola was
even forced to switch Valon Behrami from the left to the right to try and
help deal with him. It didn't work.
The initial mistake for the opening goal came when Spector's loose pass was
intercepted by Paulo Ferreira, who put Malouda clear down the left. Spector
recovered to tackle but conceded the corner. Malouda took it and West Ham
could only half-clear, Frank Lampard working the ball back out to the left
so Malouda could have a second bite at the cross. This time he picked out
Alex, who, despite being 6"3 and built like a heavyweight, had managed to
completely elude West Ham's somnolent markers to place his header past Rob
With Malouda rampant it looked like Chelsea would ease away from West Ham
before the excellent Scott Parker intervened. Kieran Dyer hurled the ball in
from the left - it was comical foul throw - and got it just over the head of
John Obi Mikel. Parker took it on his chest, let it bounce and lashed a shot
with fade and power into the top corner. Ross Turnbull, making his first
league start in the Chelsea goal, had barely got his hands on the ball and
there he was picking it out of the net.
Aside from that, West Ham struggled to build coherent attacking moves. Zola
had ill-advisedly chosen to change his whole front line, playing Dyer on the
left, Ilan on the right and Mido up front. Dyer is a shadow of his former
self, Mido still looks like he could lose more weight and Ilan might
politely be described as enigmatic - the enigma being how he ever managed to
win three caps for Brazil. Ilan's only real contribution was swiping a
complete sitter of the bar with the game still scoreless.
"The reason I changed my strikers is that I wanted to play a more
counter-attacking game and needed quick players," Zola said of the inclusion
of Dyer and Ilan. The exclusion of Carlton Cole, no doubt to his great
frustration with Fabio Capello watching, was explained by Zola as being down
to a knee injury that had allowed him to train just twice last week.
His namesake, Joe, was also left on the bench and then tried too hard when
he finally did get on the pitch. Joe Cole needs unhurried game time if he is
to get back to his best and at his rate he is not going to get it. Game by
game his World Cup hopes grow fainter.
He certainly won't be getting in the side ahead of Malouda, not on this
form. The crucial second goal, which Zola conceded ended West Ham's
resistance, was again made by the Frenchman, 10 minutes into the second
half. John Terry came surging forward from the back and drew in Spector and
Behrami, which allowed Drogba to work the ball to the free Malouda. Drogba
then peeled off the back of Matthew Upson to find the space to head in
Malouda's fine cross.
Pumped up by the goal, Drogba was in full histrionic mode, exchanging words
with the Chelsea bench and nagging incessantly at referee Mark Clattenburg.
Annoying as he is in this mood, it is often when he plays his best stuff and
Upson was struggling to deal with him. For Chelsea's third he chested the
ball down to Malouda, who cut inside Danny Gabbidon - far too easily - and
shot low past Green from outside the box.
Malouda was withdrawn late on, to allow the crowd the chance to give him a
standing ovation. "It was his best performance for us," Ancelotti said. "I
hope he will play on Tuesday like he played today." Chelsea still had time
to prove they could score without him.
Frank Lampard sprinted at the West Ham defence and was allowed a sight of
goal by Upson's unfortunate stumble - flashback to Egypt's goal 10 days ago
- and while his shot lacked menace, Green contrived to spill it at Drogba's
feet. The Ivorian slammed the ball into the empty net for his 27th goal of
another productive season. Not exactly convincing from the England
goalkeeper and first reserve centre back, though.
For Chelsea this was an important appetiser ahead of Tuesday's main course.
It helped them flush that 4-2 defeat against Manchester City out of their
system and, with Internazionale contriving to lose 3-1 against Catania in
Sicily on Friday night, they will welcome Mourinho back to Stamford Bridge
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