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Chelsea 1 - 0 West Ham


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Chelsea FC 1 - 0 West Ham United

thebridgezi9.jpgPremier League, 1 December, 12:45 KO, Stamford Bridge, LondonChelsea went to second in the Premier League thanks to Joe Cole, who scored a 76th minute winner against his former team West Ham United.Not only does the result herald a much-welcomed three points after Chelsea's last home league game - a 1-1 draw with Everton, but it also means that the FA Cup holders have now reached 70 league games without defeat at Stamford Bridge. And with Manchester United not in action until Monday evening, the three points leaves the West London outfit clear of Manchester City, who suffered a setback with a 1-1 draw away to Wigan, and just two points behind Arsenal at the top of the table.Suspecting a physical challenge from the visitors, Avram Grant preferred Steven Sidwell to Claude Makelele in the centre of midfield. With Essien suspended, Mikel continued in midfield, with Salomon Kalou replacing Shaun Wright-Phillips in the front three, which contained Didier Drogba and Joe Cole; two players who found the net away to Rosenborg in midweek. Carlo Cudicini began in goal with Petr Cech still nursing a calf injury, meaning the Italian shotstopper would make his 200th appearance for the Blues._44274029_dd_getty300.jpgScott Parker attempts to keep Drogba at bay.The game was predictably a tedious and even affair, with both teams contesting in the centre of the pitch. Whilst Lampard looked to stamp his authority on the game, it was Nolberto Solano of West Ham who looked by far the most influential player on the pitch as West Ham put Chelsea under a spell of early pressure.However, it was Chelsea who had the best opportunity of the first half. Counter-attacking, the home side looked to make an early breakthrough, and Didier Drogba looked almost certain to do so. Having scored twice in the Champions League on Wednesday, the Ivorian's confidence was high, and his tried an audacious effort from range. Bending the ball from outside the area, Drogba beat Robert Green but also the crossbar.Solano tried to lob Cudicini from outside the area, but the Peruvian's strike was barely inches over the crossbar. Whilst Carlton Cole was causing trouble on his return to Stamford Bridge, John Terry was doing very well to keep West Ham at bay, buy the England and Chelsea skipper was lucky to escape without a caution after he grabbed Luis Boa Morte by the scruff of the neck after the Portuguese midfielder had kicked out at Carlo Cudicini. Kalou went into the book along with Mikel before the half-time whistle was sounded, as well as Boa Morte for hacking down Sidwell in stoppage time.The second half performance by both teams was far greater than that of the first half, as Alan Curbishley and Avram Grant pushed their players to look for a goal. With the teams both evenly matched, it took some sparkling football for Chelsea to split open West Ham's packed defence immediately after the kick-off._44274048_kalou_getty416.jpgLucas Neill prevents Kalou from getting goal side of the West Ham defence.Wayne Bridge did fantastically down the left wing as he cut inside and fed Steven Sidwell. The former Reading man launched his shot, but West Ham defender Matt Upson blocked the Chelsea number nine's drive with a brilliant sliding challenge. Chelsea began to look more and more devilish on the counter attack but West Ham were proving to be as dangerous when their midfield players forayed forward. The game was suddenly transformed from a dull, lifeless encounter to a feisty end-to-end showcase of counter-attacking football.Whilst Chelsea's sustained pressure had resulted in West Ham to be penned in their own half, Boa Morte unleashed a strike as the visitors ventured forward. However, Terry blocked and the Portuguese's shot was deflected straight into the arms of a welcoming Cudicini.Chelsea went up the other end straight away and Rob Green did well to claw away a Joe Cole cross which saw Drogba lurking in the six-yard area, and John Terry might have scored his first goal since August 2006 when he headed wide from six yards with the West Ham goalkeeper beaten.But fourteen minutes from time, Drogba's flicked header scythed open the away side's defence. Joe Cole raced on from an onside position, and coolly took the ball around Robert Green before smashing the ball into the roof of the net. The goal was Cole's fourth of the campaign and the former West Ham man ensured the travelling fans went home unhappy as he celebrated with the elated Chelsea faithful._44274104_cole_getty416.jpgJoe Cole's winner leaves the Stamford Bridge crowd ecstatic_______________________________________Chelsea: Cudicini (6), Belletti (7), Alex (6), Terry (8), Bridge (6), Sidwell (6) (Wright-Phillips (7)), Mikel (6), Lampard (6), Kalou (5), Drogba (7), Joe Cole (7) (Makelele (6)).Subs Not Used: Hilario, Shevchenko, Ben-Haim. Booked: Mikel, Kalou, Belletti, Lampard, Terry. Goals: Joe Cole 76. West Ham: Green, Neill, Gabbidon, Upson, McCartney, Solano (Ljungberg 74), Parker (Spector 79), Mullins, Etherington (Ashton 79), Boa Morte, Cole.Subs Not Used: Wright, Collins. Booked: Etherington, Solano, Boa Morte. Attendance: 41,830 Referee: Howard WebbMatch Fact: the result means that Chelsea are now an incredible 70 Premier League matches unbeaten at Stamford Bridge, and 49 unbeaten in all competitions.Man of the Match : John Terry0,,10268~3000535,00.jpg

Edited by BlueLion
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