Chelsea flogged Paul Jewell’s hapless Derby 6-1 at Stamford Bridge, as the last placed side felt the backlash of the Blues’ FA Cup defeat to Barnsley. Frank Lampard scored four as Chelsea thoroughly embarrassed their opponents.
Lampard was back in the starting lineup, having missed the FA Cup defeat, whilst fit again strikers Didier Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko were on the bench. Carlo Cudicini again deputised in goal.
Roy Carroll was in goal for Derby, who had Australian midfielder Mile Sterjovski eager to impress in only his second start for the club. The volatile Robbie Savage captained the side from midfield.
In only the third minute, Chelsea had an opportunity that by Lampard’s lofty standards should have been buried. Some neat work from Kalou on the edge of the box was the prelude to his pass inside to Lampard, the England midfielder showing impeccable technique to take the pass in his stride, though unfortunately the resultant left foot shot struck the far upright.
After the early scare, Derby continued to attempt to defend, however their efforts were hampered as the experienced Stubbs was replaced by Leacock, the former having succumbed to injury.
After 19 minutes, Michael Ballack had the ball in the back of the net after Joe Cole picked him out, only for the linesman to rule the goal out for offside.
Not long after though, Chelsea took a deserved lead. Joe Cole’s trickery once again saw him evade the static Derby defence, before he flicked a ball into Lampard, who had marauded into the penalty box. Leacock carelessly lunged in and brought down the midfielder, who dusted himself off to calmly stroke the penalty into the bottom right hand corner. In celebration, he kissed the penalty spot at the Shed End, in tribute to Peter Osgood, the goal being Lampard’s first penalty at that end since Osgood’s ashes were interred beneath the spot.
Chelsea were comfortably 1-0 up as the half drew to a close, but in the 41st minute, some calamitous goalkeeping from Carroll saw Chelsea double their lead. Anelka raced onto a Lampard pass, only for Carroll to rush off his line and half clear the ball, in the process clattering into his own defender. The shocking clearance fell to Kalou, who made no mistake in slotting the ball into an empty net from 30 yards out. The impressive Ivorian showed impressive technique in finishing, regardless of the incompetence of Roy Carroll.
The second half opened with a Ricardo Carvalho burst forward, the Portuguese defender gallivanting up field with his trademark panache. He found Lampard, who with some great close control found space to lash a shot across goal; however Joe Cole couldn’t apply the finishing touch.
Jewell replaced Ghaly with Earnshaw, in an attempt to attack Chelsea, but five minutes later, it was 3-0, and all over. Joe Cole and Anelka linked up wide on the right, before the England winger, impressive through, drove a ball across goal, where Lampard was on hand to finish from virtually on the goal line.
Jones replaced Lewis, and in a strange sense of déjà vu, Chelsea had their fourth soon after. Makelélé played a defence splitting 40 yard pass through to Anelka, but his shot was saved by Carroll. Nonetheless, Joe Cole was following up, and finished into an empty net to grab the goal his performance so deserved.
If that wasn’t enough, two minutes later, Lampard completed his third Chelsea hat trick, firing in from 25 yards with unerring accuracy, Carroll’s touch unable to keep it out. Chelsea were 5-0, and in cruise control as Didier Drogba replaced Michael Ballack, as the Blues put Derby to the sword and changed to 4-4-2.
“Shades of Vialli” was the phrase used by Martin Tyler, as Lampard collected Cole’s pass, shimmied past McEveley and smashed a left footer past Carroll, to notch his fourth goal of the match. Fit again, the England midfielder was mercurial in his distribution and brilliantly accurate in his shooting. It was virtuoso from Chelsea’s greatest ever goal scoring midfielder.
Derby got one back straight after, David Jones finishing coolly after Miller’s pass fortunately deflected off Essien into his path. Shevchenko replaced Joe Cole as Avram Grant went with all four centre forwards for the final fifteen minutes, as Chelsea coasted to an immense victory, one of pace and power.
The victory was Chelsea’s best against Derby, and Lampard’s fours goals took his tally to 17 for the season, and to seventh place in the all time list of Chelsea goalscorer’s. The title race is well and truly on, the gap now down to five points.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cudicini; Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry (c), A Cole; Ballack (Drogba 66), Makelele (Essien 72), Lampard; J Cole (Shevchenko 74), Anelka, Kalou.
Goals Lampard (pen) 27, 56, 65, 71 Kalou 42, J Cole 63