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Arsenal 1-4 Chelsea


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Arsenal 1-4 Chelsea F.C.

Sunday 10th May 2009, Premier League, The Emirates Stadium, North London

Didier Drogba celebrates with Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard after Kolo Toure's own goal.

Nicolas Anelka scored a stunning solo goal as Chelsea demolished Arsenal at the Emirates.

Only moments after Theo Walcott had wasted the latest of a number of glorious opportunities for the hosts - one of which superbly saved by Petr Cech - Didier's Drogba's brilliant outswinging freekick found the forehead of Alex, who effortlessly powered the ball beyond Lukasz Fabianski. A Nicolas Anelka screamer moments later, along with a Kolo Toure own goal after Ashley Cole had crossed into the Arsenal area and a tap-in for Florent Malouda that had sandwiched Nicklas Bendtner's headed consolation signalled the Blues' superiority as they successfully earned automatic Champions League qualification for next season.

In truth, Arsenal were woeful, but Chelsea were ruthlessly efficient in front of goal, and Guus Hiddink will be delighted with his side after they claimed a fourth consecutive London derby win under his tutelage. The Dutchman's tactics were as close to perfection as any manager could get, and the Blues boss certainly enjoyed his afternoon in the North London sunshine.

After being cheated of the Champions League on Wednesday, Chelsea made just one change from the side that performed so valiantly against Barcelona, with John Mikel Obi filling the void that Michael Ballack's omission from the squad had made. The German international, however, would still enter the fray in time to celebrate Chelsea's well-worked fourth goal. Arsenal were without Andrei Arshavin and Manuel Almunia due to injury, and Emmanuel Adebayor was on the bench.

Arsenal started positively as they looked to banish memories of a poor showing at Wembley in the FA Cup semi final against the Blues last month. Within twenty seconds they were in the Chelsea penalty area after a strong run by Theo Walcott, but the former Southampton youngster ballooned his effort over Cech's crossbar under pressure from John Terry and Alex.

Walcott then broke beyond Ashley Cole with five minutes on the clock and forced Cech into his first meaningful save; a strong two-handed parry from the England winger's drive from an acute angle. At the other end, Drogba forced Mikael Silvestre into a hurried clearance and Frank Lampard's resulting drive was less than a foot over Fabianski's crossbar.

Abou Diaby then shot wide after Walcott had crossed without conviction into the area, and the Arsenal player's indifferent start to the game was underlined when he volleyed Diaby's ball wide when there was space and time to take a touch inside the Chelsea penalty area. Petr Cech, however, would argue that his new black and white Adidas size 11 gloves had the effort covered.

On 20 minutes, Chelsea showed their ability to play free-flowing football with a careful, considered attack that dissected the Arsenal defence effortlessly. Ashley Cole took a clever Drogba flick into his path and teed up Malouda, who failed to connect properly with the ball, and the shot was blocked by an Arsenal leg. The clearest chance of the game had fell to the visitors - against the run of play. Alex Song replied for Arsenal immediately but Cech and the Chelsea defence stood firm.

Arsenal had began the game the better of the two teams but their inability to finish guilt-edged chances came back to haunt them when Chelsea created a simply brilliant goal out of relatively little. Cesc Fabregas was booked for felling Didier Drogba out wide, and the big Ivorian dusted himself down to float the freekick onto the forehead of Alex, who headed home with aplomb off the underside of the crossbar. Moments later, Fabianski's reputation of unorthodox goalkeeping got the better of him as he flapped at a corner, before Fabregas was lectured for a foul on Florent Malouda that certainly warranted a second yellow card. Arsenal were not only on the back foot, but also loosing their cool.

Jose Bosingwa hacked away a van Persie flick that appeared to be drifting wide before Nicolas Anelka made an excellent first half performance a glorious one. Turning on the halfway line, the Frenchman pushed forward with the ball, before unleashing an unstoppable, swerving effort from 25 yards that no goalkeeper in the world could have kept out. It was a lead that was totally warranted simply from the efficiency of Chelsea's performance, and all of a sudden, it was Chelsea playing the slick, one-touch football. It could have been 3-0 before the half time whistle, but Fabianski saved well with his legs from Anelka after Essien had carved the Arsenal rearguard apart.

Subject to boos and jeers throughout the first half, it was appropriate that Ashley Cole was involved in the third Chelsea goal just three minutes after the interval. Racing down the Chelsea left, the England full back crossed for Drogba - but the Ivorian striker didn't need to touch the ball as it trickled over the line thanks to Kolo Toure's despairing dive. With Fabianski coming to collect the ball, the Arsenal defender was forced to try and cut the ball out, but his leg could only divert the ball into the bottom corner. Cracking finish.

Cech then saved brilliantly from van Persie when he dived to his right, before Walcott flashed an effort wide of the target on 58 minutes after a promising move from the hosts. Bosingwa then roamed forward as he volleyed inches over the crossbar from Ashley Cole's excellent cross from out wide as the two full-backs combined.

Arsenal pulled a goal back on 69 minutes, but it was too little too late from substitute Nicklas Bendtner. In all fairness, it was a well-worked goal by the Gunners, with Bacary Sagna launching a teasing cross into the area for the Dane to head emphatically into the net. Moments later he could have made it 2-3, but Cech denied him the pleasure with an acrobatic catch. Bosingwa was soon withdrawn to be replaced by the sheer physical presence of Branislav Ivanovic.

The rocky relationship between the Blues and the match officials has been rocky at the best of times, but after a controversial showing by Tom Hemming "I'm clearly not biased" Ovrebo, Frank Lampard was more than furious with the linesman after his clear run on goal was halted by an incorrect offside call. Chelsea were left fuming when the anonymous Adebayor dived in the penalty area as he went one-on-one with Cech - the Togo forward merely collapsed to the ground as he raced through, much to the Chelsea goalkeeper's disgust.

It then took stunning reactions from the Chelsea shotstopper to deny Mikael Silvestre after the ball broke free in the penalty area, but the Czech flung up two arms to deny the Frenchman his third league goal for the club.

But with two minutes remaining, Frank Lampard sent Florent Malouda clear with a clever flick off the outside of his boot. The Frenchman's effort was blocked by Fabianski, but the rebound fell to Anelka who could only drive against the base of the post. However, Chelsea's luck was in as Malouda poked home the loose ball to confirm the fact that there truly is only one team in London. Four consecutive derby wins is testament to that fact.


The TalkChelsea.net Star Man award goes to...


Alex da Costa, Chelsea F.C.

The Brazilian's stunning header, coupled with an imperious defensive performance capped off a wonderful evening's work for the Chelsea defender.

Match Fact - Chelsea's 4-1 triumph over Arsenal equals their highest-ever away league victory over the Gunners.

Chelsea: Cech; Bosingwa (Ivanovic), Alex, Terry ©, A Cole; Mikel, Essien; Anelka, Lampard, Malouda (Ballack); Drogba

Arsenal: Fabianski; Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs; Song (Denilson); Walcott (Adebayor), Fabregas ©, Nasri, Diaby (Bendtner); Van Persie

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yep, great reaction after the biggest injustice in champions league history.

malouda has now proved beyond doubt he can perfom for this club after a shacky start to his career here, very dissapointing to finish 3rd for the 1st time since 2003 but the club will learn from the scolari appointment.

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