After an international break, in which six of Chelsea’s starters, and all of our substitutes apart from Hilario, took part in, a trip to Pride Park was the next game against bottom side Derby.
Derby, a team with six points, one win and a very low goal difference, was probably assumed to lose by at least three goal margins. It seems like they thought the same, and they defended heavily and sat back throughout most of the game.Chelsea did not over-extend themselves in attack, and instead patiently held the ball for most of the first half, passing it back and forth. Derby on the other hand, didn’t over-extend themselves and simply observed Chelsea hold the ball.
The first goal Chelsea scored came from a good set of passes, which ended with Sidwell making a fine through-ball pass to Kalou, who received it to score with ease.
Later on in the first half, however, after a poor error from one of the Derby defenders, who headed the ball right towards Kalou’s feet, and Kalou only needed to tap the ball into the net. Instead, he mishit the ball and surprisingly missed the goal completely. A chance wasted.
The rest of the half did not produce much attacking from either team. The second half started no differently from Chelsea, but a decent opportunity finally arrived for Derby when Fagan shot across the goal but Cudicini safely dealt with it.
Shortly after, Derby were handed an unfortunate offside decision when Miller was (through replays) definitely onside. He got the ball in the back of Chelsea’s net to no avail, after the whistle was blown. Derby slowly increased their pressure on Chelsea, and attacked a bit more.
After the small amount of pressure from Derby, Chelsea then doubled their lead. Andriy Shevchenko, who up to that point was very much anonymous, got the ball from behind with a tackle on Barnes, and despite complaints from the Derby players, the referee called for play to continue. Lampard dribbled the ball into Derby’s penalty box, and despite surrounded by at least two Derby players, managed to get a shot after patient movement. The shot beat the keeper, but not the woodwork, and the ball fell onto Shaun Wright-Philips’ feet, who coolly slotted the ball into the empty net.
The game was won by then, and nothing of interest occurred until the dying minutes of the game. Substitute Michael Essien raised an arm towards Kenny Miller’s face, and the ref without hesitation pulled out the red card to send Essien off. While there were questions to the harshness of the red card from the Chelsea players and manager, as Pizarro also was hit in the face shortly before, Miller did stay on his feet and didn’t fall to the ground searching for the card. Chelsea have said they will appeal the red card decision, and if that fails, Essien will face a three-match ban.
A simple 2-0 victory for Chelsea, and apart from the red card, there wasn’t much to take from the game.
Derby: Bywater, Griffin, Davis, Moore, Leacock, McEveley, Fagan (Earnshaw 86), Oakley (Feilhaber 84), Jones, Miller, Barnes (Howard 75).
Chelsea: Cudicini, Belletti, Terry, Ben-Haim, Ashley Cole, Obi, Lampard (Pizarro 90), Sidwell (Essien 75), Wright-Phillips, Shevchenko, Kalou.
Booked: Ashley Cole. Sent Off: Essien (90).
Goals: Kalou 17, Wright-Phillips 73.
Ref: Andre Marriner.