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Derby 0 - 2 Chelsea


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Derby County 0 - 2 Chelsea FC

02031006.jpgPremier League, 24 November, Pride Park Stadium, DerbyA cool finish from Ivorian Salomon Kalou put Chelsea on the road to a comfortable 2-0 win away to the Premier League's bottom club Derby.However, Derby were by no stretch of the imagination push-overs, as they put up a spirited performance in the second half to see Chelsea on the back foot. And with the FA Cup holders failing to find a stranglehold on the match, it was no surprise to see Derby boss Billy Davies opt for a more attack-minded formation later in the match, but excellent performances by John Terry and Tal Ben Haim at the heart of the Chelsea defence ensured that the West London side headed back to the capital with three points. Chelsea's breakthrough came in the form of Salomon Kalou, who latched onto Steven Sidwell's reverse pass brilliantly before coolly slotting home, before winger Shaun Wright-Phillips delighted the travelling fans with a second after Frank Lampard had struck the woodwork.The win leaves Chelsea fourth in the Premier League - five points behind leaders Arsenal. But with defending champions Manchester United losing 1-0 away to Bolton, this game was the perfect opportunity to apply the pressure on Sir Alex Ferguson's team. Chelsea are also the form team in the Premier League, having won five of their last six outings, and drawing the other at home to Everton prior to the international break. Avram Grant left Michael Essien on the bench as a youthful-looking Chelsea attack took to the field. Frank Lampard began at centre-midfield after scoring for England in their 2-3 loss to Croatia at Wembley, with John Obi Mikel and Steven Sidwell completing the midfield trio. Shaun Wright-Phillips and Salomon Kalou operated on the wings with Ukrainian Andrei Shevchenko spear-heading the attack. There were changes in the defence also - John Terry and Ashley Cole returned to the fold, as Tal Ben Haim started at centre-half after impressing against Everton as a substitute. With Petr Cech injured, Carlo Cudicini continued in goal._44259875_salomon_getty.jpgKalou celebrates his fifth goal of the campaign.With five English players in the Chelsea starting eleven, it was no surprise that the home crowd had a jeer-fest, booing the likes of Lampard, Wright-Phillips, Ashley Cole and John Terry, despite the fact the latter pair did not feature as England failed to qualify for the European Championship finals next summer. However, it was another Englishman in the Chelsea side who made the telling contribution.Simplicity was the key as Chelsea's one-touch passing tore open the Derby defence. Mikel and Lampard combined before Steven Sidwell slid through Salomon Kalou. With just a defender and the approaching Steven Bywater to beat, Kalou's first touch took both opposing players out of the equation before a composed finish saw the ball nestle in the bottom corner.The goal was the only real action of an otherwise lacklustre first-half. Cudicini had been relatively untested as Terry and Ben Haim mopped up any Derby attacks, and Frank Lampard's effort from range was all Chelsea could offer as they looked to turn the screw. However, the England midfielder's effort was well over the Derby crossbar. Kalou wasted the only other attempt late on. Latching onto a poor header by Claude Davis, the Ivorian wastefully volleyed over when scoring looked an easier option.The second half saw a more determined Derby take to the field as the home side looked to make an early response. Derby had a couple of chances in the opening five minutes, but neither seriously tested Carlo Cudicini, as Fagin wastefully shot wide when teenager Giles Barnes had made a run into the Chelsea six-yard box, before firing straight at Cudicini from eight yards moments later. The Derby number eleven beat left Ashley Cole wrong footed, and his shot was directed straight at the approaching Chelsea goalkeeper. Chelsea's inability to keep hold of possession was telling as the home side enjoyed several minutes of pressure, but Ben Haim did well to clear for Chelsea when a breakdown in communications occurred in the Chelsea backline.0,,12306~3476876,00.jpgKalou wastefully fires over from six yards.Lampard tested Bywater with a free kick; the Derby goalkeeper tipping the effort over. Chelsea finally got their reward when Andrei Shevchenko tackled Giles Barnes in the Derby half. The Ukrainian fed the ball to Mikel, before continuing his run. Drawing two Derby defenders with him, Mikel used Shevchenko as a decoy and passed to Frank Lampard. The Chelsea vice-captain did brilliantly to skip past two Derby defenders before firing against the upright. However, Wright-Phillips was in the right place at the right time, as he fired into an empty goal to seal the victory.Derby could have set up a grandstand finish, but Steve Howard headed wide with Cudicini beaten. The game finished on a sour note as Michael Essien was red-carded for an apparent elbow on Kenny Miller, although replays suggest that whilst a hand was used, the sending off was harsh."It was not an easy game, we played against a team that played for their life," began Avram Grant; speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live after the game. "We controlled the game totally, the ball was in our control all the time, we were not worried." _______________________________________Derby: Bywater, Griffin, Davis, Moore, Leacock, McEveley, Fagan (Earnshaw), Oakley (Feilhaber), Jones, Miller, Barnes (Howard).Subs Not Used: Price, Mears. Chelsea: Cudicini (6), Belletti (6), Terry (7), Ben-Haim (7), Ashley Cole (6), Mikel (6), Lampard (6) (Pizarro(6)), Sidwell (7) (Essien (6)), Wright-Phillips (7), Shevchenko (6), Kalou (7).Subs Not Used: Hilario, Joe Cole, Alex. Sent Off: Essien. Booked: Ashley Cole. Goals: Kalou 17, Wright-Phillips 73. Attendance: 32,789 Referee: Andre Marriner. Man of the Match : Salomon Kalou_42936445_kalou_getty416.jpg

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Cheers lads. Elliott, I think he wasn an idiot, but was his elbow any worse than the one on Pizarro moments before?
The elbow on Pizarro happened during a challenge, I didn't think it was much to think about, didn't see the intent. Essien however went out of his way to raise his arm to the player, and that is stupidity. There was absolutely no need and he's really let himself down there.
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