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Chelsea 2-0 Marseille


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Chelsea 2-0 Olympique de Marseille

terrygoal.jpg

Goals from John Terry and Nicolas Anelka ensured Chelsea maintained their winning start in the club's bid to claim the elusive Champions League trophy.

Following their 4-1 triumph against Slovakian champions MŠK Žilina, the Blues faced a seemingly much-tougher task in French Ligue Un winners Marseille - and having lost successive matches against Newcastle and Manchester City achieving victory would be no mean feat.

Chelsea were frustrated up in Manchester; their free-flowing attacking play had been thwarted by City's exceptional defensive showing and physical play. The Blues had been under-par in the Carling Cup also - though Carlo Ancelotti had fielded a vastly weakened team, there was certainly enough quality in the starting eleven to beat Newcastle. The Chelsea manager knew an instant improvement was needed, and the response was quite emphatic.

Despite being without a wealth of attacking riches - Didier Drogba was suspended whilst Frank Lampard, Yossi Benayoun, Salomon Kalou and José Bosingwa were all sidelined through injury - Chelsea were dominant in the first half and might have eventually ran up a far great margin of victory but for the woodwork. There were starts for Yuri Zhirkov and Gael Kakuta, and youngsters Josh McEachran and Daniel Sturridge would both mate late cameos.

It took them merely seven minutes to give Ancelotti the response he craved, and it came from the boot of John Terry. Florent Malouda's low drive took a nick off of a Marseille foot, and from the resulting corner from Kakuta, Terry pounced. In truth it was quite a surreal goal, with the events almost happening in slow motion: Kakuta's under-hit corner was flicked on to the near post by the deftest of Terry touches, past the hapless Benoit Cheyrou who stood on the goal-line.

It was Terry's first Champions League goal for nearly two years and his first goal for Chelsea since scoring in a 2-0 defeat of Stoke City in the FA Cup more than six months ago - and the finish was quite delightful.

Marseille attempted to rally but Chelsea were well-drilled defensively; the French champions were quickly closed down and were reduced to a number of long-range shots. The hosts, on the other hand, were enjoying themselves; Malouda beat his man out wide before feigning one way and going the other to earn himself some room in the penalty area before lashing just over Steve Mandanda's crossbar. Anelka then fired into the palms of his compatriot after Kakuta had split the Marseille defence open with a fine pass.

But Anelka - outcast by the French footballing authorities and made a scapegoat of their failure at the World Cup - was not to be denied a goal against native opposition, and he duly made it 2-0 when Stephane Mbia was adjudged to have handled a Michael Essien cross. Anelka coolly stroked the penalty into the bottom corner with a mixture of composure and arrogance - therefore a typical finish from the Chelsea number 39.

Alex had to be at his best to block a shot from Cheyrou as a satisfactory half drew to a close, but following the interval the roles were reversed; it was Marseille who were suddenly dominating and Chelsea chasing the game. Petr Cech was the busier of the two goalkeepers, denying Cheyrou once more, a Gabriel Heinze overhead kick and a long-range Brandao stinger, before Lucho Gonzales had a powerful half-volley kept out quite superbly by Ashley Cole's knee.

It was a strange second half in many ways. The opposite of the first forty five minutes; Marseille were in control and exhuming confidence. Chelsea were inviting pressure - Ancelotti had clearly told them to play out the final half with a lot to spare ahead of Sunday's crunch game with Arsenal. Yet whilst the visitors had enjoyed the lion's share of possession and had the territorial advantage, it was Chelsea who on four times came the closest to scoring.

The second half epitomised the quality of Chelsea - not only did they maintain defensive discipline but also were able to suddenly spark in to life. On another day, they would quite comfortably have won by six. Only the woodwork and cockiness from Daniel Sturridge spared further Marseille embarrassment.

John Mikel Obi was the first to try his luck after the ball kindly broke to him - but having gone 152 games without a goal it was no surprise his effort was well wide of the target. But then came something of an onslaught on the woodwork, with the Blues hitting the post three times before the conclusion of the game. The first to do so was Alex who cracked a 40-yard free-kick off the top of Mandanda's left hand upright, before Essien nearly supplied the perfect finish to a glorious passing move down Chelsea's left, but his sumptuously-struck side-footer cannoned back off the woodwork.

Then came the Sturridge incident. Having been on the pitch for less than five minutes, he was cocky in front of goal when found unmarked on the edge of the six yard box. Instead of simply poking home on the volley he tried an elaborate flick with he completely mistimed and scuffed well off-target. He simply should have found the back of the net - having been on the back-foot for the duration of the second half it would have been a welcome reprieve to the Chelsea defence. Josh McEachran then began the move which led to Chelsea's last foray forward, which culminated with Essien smacking a superb effort just wide; taking the slightest of touches off the post. It had been a frustrating evening in front of goal for Chelsea, but their early salvo had been enough to see off their French visitors.

Ancelotti will no doubt be pleased with the result if not the performance, but having kept only one clean sheet in the previous five matches he will be delighted with the Blues' defence who had remained as impenetrable as ever. The game was always going to be a difficult one and in truth Chelsea were somewhat fortunate they caught the French champions on an off-evening - perhaps due to poor domestic form of their own. Nevertheless a win is a win, and a battling performance coupled with three important points is the perfect tonic ahead of the biggest game of the season so far.

___________________________________________________________________

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, Terry ©, Cole; Essien, Mikel (McEachran 87), Zhirkov (Sturridge 72); Kakuta (Ramires 61)

Marseille (4-3-3): Mandanda ©; Kabore, Diawara, Mbia, Heinze; Lucho Gonzalez, Cisse, Cheyrou (Ayew 58); Remy, Gignac (Valbuena 58), Brandao

The TalkChelsea.net Man of the Match was Chelsea's number 26, John Terry

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Nice work mate %28Y%29.gif

Hello to all Chelsea fans

I am a supporter of Olympique Marseille, I'm French.

I wanted to congratulate you on your game yesterday, you deserved your victory well, the OM has not played like we usually play, our team was less of everything!rant.gif

And as the referee was zero also result a slap!

hoping you'll already qualified when you come to the Velodrome, as that one may have a small chance to beat you!laugh.gif

I wish you good luck and good luck for the rest of your season and hope to discuss with you the return game, good day to you all.

PS: sorry for my English

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Hello to all Chelsea fans

I am a supporter of Olympique Marseille, I'm French.

I wanted to congratulate you on your game yesterday, you deserved your victory well, the OM has not played like we usually play, our team was less of everything!rant.gif

And as the referee was zero also result a slap!

hoping you'll already qualified when you come to the Velodrome, as that one may have a small chance to beat you!laugh.gif

I wish you good luck and good luck for the rest of your season and hope to discuss with you the return game, good day to you all.

PS: sorry for my English

Hello there Marseille! It's always nice to see other fans on this forum, helps us grow and interact with other fans a lot! The return match will much anticipated because I'm sure Didier Drogba is aching to return to the Velodrome :D

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got the result.performance was awfull.

can't agree that the performance was awful ...you must be Andy F***ing Gray ... perhaps not brilliant but there were plenty of good performances .

OM barely threatened and we could easily have scored more .. Perhaps Im easily pleased or maybe you are hard to satisfy.

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for a good media report see todays Times by Oliver Kay ...onestriking point was that JTs goal was a training ground move ..not the fluke that Andy Gray suggested ...

Matt Hughes in his Commentary article concentrated entirely on Kakuta and was most effusive in his praise .

TWO great reads I can recommend to all

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