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Portsmouth 0 - 2 Chelsea


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Portsmouth versus Chelsea F.C.

kjc-stand.jpgSaturday 3rd March, 17:15 kick-off, Fratton Park, Barclay's FA Premier League

_42637607_drogba416.jpgCan Drogba be the man do defy all odds and win Chelsea their third Premiership?

The opening exchanges were ones of much anxiety for the Champions, with Kanu in particular causing many problems for the makeshift centre-half pairing of Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Essien that had been reunited after Terry had been stretched off in Cardiff. Chelsea managed to steer their way back into the game however, with efforts from Andrei Shevchenko and Didier Drogba wide of the mark. Both strikers frustrated one another, as each selfishly took their chance instead of crossing to the other for simple tap-ins.But as the game swung from end-to-end, with Portsmouth’s early pressure matched by the speed of Chelsea's counter-attacks and a highly-involved midfield trio of Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele in particular, the hottest striker on the planet struck again.Ashley Cole's devilishly whipped-in cross evaded Sol Campbell and found its way to Drogba, who confidently volleyed home from 12 yards and a near-impossible angle to slot the ball into the corner of David James' net. Moments later the opportunity to wrap up the points came, with Arjen Robben shooting inches wide after he had beaten the Pompey defence with a winding run and played a neat one-two with Chelsea's leading scorer. The game was certainly turning out to be a battle, as Portsmouth always looked dangerous and threatened Petr Cech's defence on various occasions. Half-time came with Chelsea in a familiar position; leading at the break. Thanks to the increasingly-familiar name of Didier Drogba on the scoresheet. His 29th goal of the season, and his 17th in the Premiership now puts him two goals ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the Golden Boot.Claude Makelele was having an excellent game as the second half came about. Making excellent recovery challenge after challenge, he kept Chelsea in the game as his 34-year-old legs blocked the mazy run of LuaLua.However, the game was far from over, and with Chelsea missing more chances, including a cracking left-footed strike from Frank Lampard which David James excellently scooped up. Portsmouth took heart in search of an equaliser.Harry Redknapp, who had celebrated his 60th birthday on Friday, sent on Andy Cole, the Premiership's second-highest-scoring player of all-time. Moments later Cole found Petr Cech in inspirational form. The Czech national shot-stopper had to adjust his position to wonderfully parry a goal bound header, and minutes later the Blues nearly paid the price of failing to take their chances. Cech beat the ball away with a despairing dive, much to the appreciation of José Mourinho.

_42637721_kalou416.jpgKalou's fourth Chelsea goal kept the title dream alive

Mourinho responded by putting on Shaun Wright-Phillips and Salomon Kalou, taking off the effective Robben and Shevchenko who had not found the back of the net in the Premiership since November.In ironic fashion, Kalou came on and within minutes scored the goal which put Chelsea in the comfort seat, slotting home under James after Ashley Cole's knock down.The Blues were back in business, and United had better watch their step. With the Champions having a game in hand and the Red Devils facing a trip to fortress Stamford Bridge, the title race is far from over.

The line-ups

Portsmouth(4-4-2) James; Pamarot, Primus, Campbell, Traore (Kranjcar 67); O'Neil ©, Davis, Hughes, Taylor; Kanu, LuaLua (Cole 73). Chelsea (4-3-3) Cech; Diarra, Essien, Carvalho, A Cole; Ballack, Makelele, Lampard ©; Shevchenko (Wright-Phillips 75), Drogba (Bridge 84), Robben (Kalou 75).Scorers Drogba (32), Kalou (81).Booked Ballack (24), Makelele (67).The RatingsHow They RatedChelseaPetr Cech - 9 - Inspirational. Match-winning performance.Diarra - 8 - Confident. Gallons of energy. Carvalho - 7 - Prolific. Looked assured.Essien - 7 - Strong. Prolific in defence.Cole - 6 - Stern. Two assists on return from injury.Ballack - 7 - Influential. Key figure in midfield.Robben - 7 - Good. Involved in link-up work.Makelele - 9 - Magnificant. Linked well with defence.Lampard - 6 - Shadow. Involved at points.Drogba - 7 - Quiet. Quiet by his standards but sublime finish.Shevchenko - 7 - Tried. Worked hard.Bridge - 6 - No time. Replaced Drogba.Kalou - 7 - Scored. Replaced Shevchenko.Shaun Wright-Phillips - 7 - Involved. Replaced Robben.Overall team rating - 8Portsmouth rating - 8 - they tried their best and they outplayed the Champions at times, but normal service is resumed. Referee - 6 - Mark Halsey didn-t have a brilliant game and was a little to lenient towards Pompey when it came to fouls. Wrongly booked Makelele. StatsAttendence: 20219Possession: Chelsea 49% - 51% PortsmouthShots - On: Chelsea 4 - 4 PortsmouthShots - Off: Chelsea 7 - 5 PortsmouthCorners: Chelsea 5 - 7 PortsmouthFouls: Chelsea 10 - 10 Portsmouth

Man of the Match

_40400971_makelele300_getty.jpgClaude Makelele

Pictures used without permission of www.bbc.co.uk Match report written by BlueLion of CFC-Fans.co.uk

The Champions showed the Champions-elect that they are not going to willingly surrender their Premiership crown, after Chelsea beat a resurgent Portsmouth side by two goals to nil at Fratton park.The Blues picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Manchester United, who won 1-0 at Anfield thanks to a late winner from John O'Shea. The Red Devils celebrated like they had won the Premiership, but even if their spirits have not been dampened they will be looking behind them at Chelsea continue to tread on the league leader's heels.Following the previous weekend's outing at the Millennium Stadium in the Carling Cup final triumph, and Manchester United's early kick-off, the Blues found themselves 12 points behind their fierce rivals when they arrived at the Premiership's second-smallest stadium.The West London outfit welcomed back left-back Ashley Cole, and also Arjen Robben to the starting eleven after he set up the eventual winner in the cup final. Missing was John Terry, who sat out the game to gain match fitness. Pompey played their regular starting line-up, including Lomana LuaLua who had missed several games due to injury.As kick-off loomed, Portsmouth fans taunted their Chelsea counterparts, chanting "where's your title gone?" in regards to United's win against Liverpool. The following 90 minutes demonstrated that even if Chelsea are no longer top dogs domestically, they have more than enough quality to sink any battleship.

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