Just under a month ago we travelled to Portsmouth and won 0-2. On that day goals by Arjen Robben and Joe Cole kept us on track for maximum points over the Christmas and New Year period. Today Pompey travelled to the Bridge; they’d only won one of their last five games, this against a struggling Gillingham team in the FA Cup. Last season at Stamford Bridge we beat Portsmouth 3-0 thanks to goals by Wayne Bridge (Who can forget the celebration when he ran to the away fans) Frank Lampard and a spectacular Geremi volley. Jose Mourinho made two changes to the team that beat Spurs last week. In came Wayne Bridge at left back, he replaced Glen Johnson. Paulo Ferreira, who’d played at left back last week, was moved to his more familiar right back role. In midfield Joe Cole replaced Alexy Smertin. Before today’s game John Terry and William Gallas had played 13 games together with no goals conceded in the Premiership. We’d still only conceded eight goals in the Premiership all season, the last of those coming against Arsenal at Highbury on December 12. Portsmouth were without Lua Lua and Faye after their sendings off against Blackburn last week. They lined up in a 4-5-1 formation with Cisse playing in an unfamiliar left back position. Jamie Ashdown took Shaka Hislop’s place in goal.
Portsmouth started the better of the two teams in the first seven minutes. Frank Lampard gave the ball away to Yakubu but John Terry managed to intercept, the ball fell to Matthew Taylor whose strike was stopped low down by Petr Cech. Chelsea started a little slow but it didn’t take long for them to get into the game. Arjen Robben was by far the best player in the early stages, with so many contenders for player of the year this season Arjen Robben will be a player to keep in mind even though he missed the first couple of months of the season. Just to illustrate how good Robben was, he played a superb ball through to Damien Duff on the eigth minute, however, the ball was just a bit heavy and the Pompey ‘keeper Ashdown got to the ball before Damien Duff. It didn’t take long for Robben to make his mark on the game. In the 15th minute the flying Dutchman flew down the right evading a challenge that should of given him a free kick in reality, but Robben didn’t go down, he carried on with his run, squared the ball to Didier Drogba and from no more than a yard out Drogba buried it to make it 1-0. This was Didier Drogba’s 10th goal of the season; he ran over to Robben and picked him up to show everybody just how important the 20 year old is to Chelsea.
Six minutes later it was 2-0, This time the ball from Drogba was played to Frank Lampard, he passed to Robben and from a very tight angle he managed to get the ball past Ashdown, again it was Arjen Robben who was running the show. Robben was recently compared to Johan Cruyff, who can possibly argue with this statement? I’m sure a certain manager from Manchester must be sick that he didn’t join them. With Chelsea now in full control after a bit of a shaky start it was a case of how many we’d end up scoring as we were now playing football of true quality. JT played a ball to Frank Lampard, John Terry ran almost the whole length of the pitch waiting for Lamps to pass back to him but when he did the ball was played with too much pace and it just evaded captain fantastic JT.
However, Portsmouth could and should of made it 2-1 in the 36th minute. Frank Lampard lost the ball after a poor pass, Yakubu nipped in took a shot that went under the body of Petr Cech, the ball looked like it was going into the goal but it rolled wide instead. If we were ever interested in Yakubu then I’m sure this would have either put his price down or interest would have been lost entirely. I’d go with losing the thought entirely, maybe the thought wasn’t even there to sign him at all, but persistent rumours in the rags have linked us with him for some unknown reason. With Pompey having their best chance of the game normal service was quickly resumed as JT played a ball to Frank Lampard, JT the ran almost the whole length of the pitch waiting for Lamps to pass back to him but when he did the ball was played with too much pace and it just evaded JT.
In the 38th minute the game was over. Unsworth bought Arjen Robben down just outside the box. The free kick was given and with both Robben and Drogba over the ball it was Drogba who stepped up and like a replay of the goal against PSG in Paris, he coolly slotted it past Ashdown to make it 3-0, this made it Didier’s eleventh goal this season. With the game out of Portsmouth’s hands it was time to sit back and enjoy the football, the three points were in the bag and Jose could take some players off in the second half thus giving them a bit of a rest ahead of the second leg of the Carling Cup Semi at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Before the half time whistle Drogba could have bagged a first half hat trick. Damien Duff played the ball through to him but unfortunately for Didier, Dejan Stefanovic intercepted the ball.
With Arsenal playing tomorrow at Highbury it put us 13pts ahead and 13 goals ahead of our North London rivals. Man Utd were playing today and were winning 1-0 at half time. A victory for United would put them second in the Premiership with us 11pts clear. The second half was played out with no further addition to the score, however Petr Cech saved an O’Neil free kick tipping the ball over. Joe Cole and Mateja Kezman later in the game had chances for us but neither could take advantage. Jose substituted Robben, Duff and Didier Drogba half way through the second half no doubt ahead of the midweek game. When the final whistle came it was seven wins in seven Premiership games this equalled a record going back to 1922 when we last won seven out of seven in the top flight. It also makes it 14 games out of 14 for JT and William Gallas, this must be the best Chelsea defence in the history of the club and I’m sure people in the next 50 maybe 100 years who support Chelsea will be talking about our central defensive pairing. They’re awesome, not forgetting the whole team who at the moment are amazing. With 14 games to go the title is there for the taking, Jose and the players know exactly what to do. There’ll be players within this team who’ll pick up many medals within the next few years, let’s hope that the first one apart from the possibility of the Carling Cup final will be the Premiership, we’re getting closer, keep the faith!
“We Are Top Of The League!”
Chelsea: Cech, Bridge, Terry, Gallas, Ferreira, Lampard, Makelele, Cole, Duff (Tiago 67), Robben (Kezman 75) Drogba (Gudjohnsen 65) Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Jarosik.
Portsmouth: Ashdown, Cisse, Primus, Stefanovic, Unsworth (Mezague 54) Kamara, O’Neil, Hughes, Taylor, Berger, Yakubu (Fuller 65) Subs Not Used: Hislop, De Zeeuw, Curtis.
Referee: Mike Riley.