CHELSEA TOP DOGS AFTER EASY WIN
By Football Talk.
Chelsea 3-0 Birmingham
Malouda (5), Lampard (32,90)
Chelsea returned to the top of the Premier League table after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Birmingham at Stamford Bridge. Birmingham arrived with an impressive 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions, but Chelsea ended that in devastating fashion.
The Blues were in front within minutes after a surging run from England winger Joe Cole, his cross was met by the unmarked Malouda who headed past Joe Hart to make it 1-0 after only 5 minutes on the clock. Ricardo Carvalho nearly doubled the lead on 20 minutes when his header crashed against the bar. Chelsea were really putting the pressure on and went close again through a Lampard and Joe Cole. But it didn’t take long before they doubled their advantage. Ballack fed Lampard who slotted home into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Chelsea were playing some superb football and showed no signs of easing up on Birmingham as they pushed for a third, with the away side showing a distinct lack of ambition. Half-time and Chelsea were leading 2-0 and it could easily have been more.
Chelsea almost extended their lead early in the second half when Anelka fired narrowly wide from 25 yards, and Hart made a fine save from a Ballack header. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were really applying the pressure and were looking to move back to the top of the league in style. Joe Cole was particularly impressive and nearly got the goal his performance deserved but fluffed his shot after Lampard played him through. Florant Malouda twice went close for Chelsea before James McFadden wasted Birmingham’s best chance to get back in the game firing wide when clean through. Lampard finally got Chelsea’s third in the last minute, firing past Hart from close range.
Chelsea sent out a real message to Manchester United and Arsenal with a showing of fluent attacking football. The 3-0 victory combined with Arsenal’s 0-0 draw at Aston Villa means Chelsea are now a point clear at the top of the league with a game in hand.