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Chelsea 6 - 1 Derby


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Chelsea F.C. 6 - 1 Derby County

March 12 2008, Premier League, Gameweek 29, Stamford Bridge, West London

***Click on image to enlarge***
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Frank Lampard netted four goals as Chelsea thrashed bottom club Derby County to close to gap at the top to five points.


With another game in hand over title rivals Arsenal, Chelsea could be just two points behind their London rivals when they face Tottenham next week and Avram Grant's men are yet to face both Arsenal and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

The result was in little doubt from the beginning of the match as Chelsea looked for an early breakthrough, but Derby rarely threatened and Chelsea were good value for their 2-0 half-time lead, courtesy of the in-form duo of Lampard and Salomon Kalou. Avram Grant elected to field the same side that beat West Ham 4-0 at Upton Park in Chelsea's last Premier League encounter, resulting in Didier Drogba being limited to a place on the substitutes bench. Derby were without key midfielder Giles Barnes for the match at Stamford Bridge, knowing they were edging ever closer to the drop.

The Chelsea manager was met with a number of boos as the proceedings got underway, though Grant seemed unfazed as his Chelsea side looked to extend their unbeaten home record to 77 games against the statistically worse side in the Premier League. Chelsea's shock dismissal from the FA Cup against Barnsley had resulted in an unusual atmosphere of silence and tension at Stamford Bridge, though the excellent attacking displays of Nicolas Anelka, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard were demonstrating reason for optimism.

Lampard hit the post early on at the end of a sweeping move, turning away from his marker before prodding the ball against the frame of the goal, though the England midfielder's efforts were not to go unrewarded as he won a penalty for his team on 27 minutes. Making his trademark late run into the danger zone, Joe Cole's clever reverse ball found Lampard who was fouled by Dean Leacock, an early substitute for the unfit Alan Stubbs. Lampard dusted himself down and dispatched the penalty to give Chelsea a harshly-awarded yet deserved breakthrough.

A defensive disaster followed as Derby proved the catalyst of their own downfall. Frank Lampard's raking ball forward unleashed Anelka but the Frenchman was blocked by the sliding challenge of Roy Carroll. The former Manchester United goalkeeper only succeeded in passing directly to Kalou, who coolly guided the ball into the empty net from thirty-five yards. It was the young Ivorian's tenth goal of the season and an indication of his importance to the team.

The floodgates were well and truly open and but for several harsh offside calls, Chelsea could have had a 4-0 lead by half-time. Michael Ballack was deemed to be beyond the last defender before he smashed an effort past Carroll, whilst Joe Cole was flagged for trying to poke the ball home. Kalou had the opportunity to finish Derby off before the interval, but his effort was well palmed away by Carroll before Anelka was blown for offside.

Chelsea were totally dominant and it was only a matter of time before the third goal was scored. Anelka had a wonderful opportunity to add to his tally of two goals since arriving from Bolton; the Frenchman heading wide under pressure from Darren Moore. Joe Cole came close to applying the killer blow following Lampard's mazy run, which saw the Chelsea vice-captain take on and beat seven Derby players but his drilled cross from the by-line was too venomous for Cole to control and fire home.

But his efforts were not unrewarded as the Chelsea number 10 clinched his goal just beyond the hour mark, but not before supplying Lampard the easiest of tap-ins to put Chelsea even further ahead following a beautiful one-two between Cole and Anelka. Cole fired home following Anelka's effort which was well-saved by Carroll, but the goalkeeper could only watch on as Cole struck to put Chelsea in the comfort zone. Lampard got his much-craved hattrick moments afterwards, cutting inside and launching a bulleting drive into the bottom corner. A classy finish from the England player, his fourth was even better. Playing a one-two with Cole, and out-muscled Leacock and powered the ball home with Carroll wrong-footed.

Derby earned a consolation as David Jones fired home from close range but the Rams had been put the slaughter at Stamford Bridge.
______________________________________

Match Fact : Chelsea are 77 home league games unbeaten.

Chelsea: Cudicini (6), Ferreira (6), Carvalho (7), Terry (6), Ashley Cole (6), Ballack (7) (Drogba (6)), Makelele (8) (Essien (6)), Lampard (10), Joe Cole (9) (Shevchenko (6)), Anelka (8), Kalou (8).

Derby: Carroll, Edworthy, Stubbs (Leacock 16), Moore, McEveley, Sterjovski, Ghaly (Earnshaw 52), Savage, Pearson, Lewis (Jones 58), Miller.

Attendance: 39,447.

Referee: Chris Foy

Man of the Match : Frank Lampard

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