Everyone gets something they don’t expect at Chritsmas, for us Chelsea fans it was the first time we had failed to score since the Champions League semi final first leg in the Nou Camp in April, a near season long 35 games ago.
In truth it was down to a lack of cutting edge up top, but Joe Hart, the Birmingham keeper had a hand in it. Annoyingly it was exactly that part of him that was the problem. Hart made fantastic saves from Lampard twice and Kalou to ensure his side earned a point.
The home side were unlucky not to turn one point into three after Christian Benitez had his first half tap in ruled out for offside, when the grounded Drogba was playing him on.
The worrying trend of unconvincing performances from The Blues continued, only this time it was the strikeforce, and not the defence that struggled.
Didier Drogba had one of his quiet days, and whilst it was encouraging to see Danny Sturridge start for the first time and look lively. He should have scored in the final moments of the first half when Drogba’s wicked cross was met by Sturridge at the back post, but the young striker could only fire wide.
Branislav Ivanovic had already gone close with a header, and Alex nearly shattered the crossbar with his 40 yard free kick.
In the second half Malouda went close as the game opened up. Good work from subsitiutte Salomon Kalou wasn’t rewarded as the Frenchmen made a mess of a simple chance form 8 yards.
Kalou himself went close but again found Hart in top form when he was in one-on-one.
The Blues frustrations were evident late on as Kalou gave Hart a nasty cut on the ahead, and then Malouda picked up his second yellow card after several late challenges.
The only other real scare for the visitors came from a Sebastian Larsson free kick that had Petr Cech scrambling across his goal. The big keeper tipped it round the post, and got a whack off the post for his troubles.
But it remained goalless and Birmingham stretched their unbeaten run to 10, a streak Carlo Ancelotti would be envious of.
Fulham await and suddenly this slightly lifeless derby has new meaning, a win is essential after United and Arsenal closed the gap over the weekend.
Eyes will be on the likes of Sturridge and Borini who must lead the line, and hopefully get the Chelsea title charge back on track.
B’ham: Hart, Ridgewell, Johnson, Dann, Bowyer, Larsson (Johnson 88), Ferguson, Jerome, Benitez, Mcfadden (Fahey 77)
Subs not used: Taylor, Vignal, McSheffrey, Carsley, Phillips
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cole, Terry, Alex, Belletti, Lampard (J Cole 79), Mikel (Ballack 85) Malouda, Drogba, Sturridge (Kalou 67)
Subs not used: Hilario, Carvalho, Ferreira, Zhirkov
Booked: Bowyer, Ivanovic
Sent Off: Malouda