Spielbericht Chelsea - WBA

Chelsea FC vs. West Bromwich Albions 2:0

Graeme Le Saux's first league goal for 10 months ensured Chelsea victory against the Baggies- but the Blues rode their luck as West Brom hit the woodwork twice and brought one of the saves of the season from Carlo Cudicini.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's cool 29th-minute finish and Le Saux's opportunist strike after 54 minutes put the home side 2-0 up at Stamford Bridge.

But the Baggies' former Chelsea defender Neil Clement was the inspiration for a barnstorming four-minute spell just after the hour when the visitors hit the post and crossbar - and forced Cudicini to make a brilliant point-blank save.

The first half of the game was quiet apart from Hasselbaink's goal and a couple of moments of inspiration from Gianfranco Zola, the Barclaycard Premiership's top scorer at kick-off.

But the second period was far more entertaining - and, after West Brom's fightback, the scoreline flattered Chelsea.

Hasselbaink and Zola amusingly conspired to tackle each other in the 16th minute, ruining their first opening. Emmanuel Petit fired over from Hasselbaink's eventual lay-off.

Albion's excellent harrying was stifling the Blues' attacking play, with Megson's men looking threatening on the break.
A moment of Zola inspiration did raise the hopes of the silent banks of Chelsea fans momentarily, but Hasselbaink took his team-mate's angled pass around Hoult then disappointingly ran the ball out of play.

But the Dutch forward made no mistake when Petit's flicked pass bounced through to him in the 29th minute.
The Baggies backline were slow to react and Hasselbaink sidefooted goalwards, with the ball flicking off Hoult's leg and into the net via the foot of his right-hand post.

Chelsea's early second-half pressure paid off in the 54th minute when Le Saux stroked home from 10 yards.

Hasselbaink teased Darren Moore and fired goalwards, with Sean Gregan clearing off the line straight to Le Saux, who scored with ease.
But Chelsea suddenly fell apart and could have even gone behind in an incredible four-minute period just after the hour, in which their woodwork was rattled twice and Cudicini pulled off a wonderful close-range save.

First, Clement picked out Andy Johnson, whose header smacked into the far post and luckily rebounded straight into Cudicini's grasp.
Then Clement, who left Stamford Bridge two years ago, stormed forward from left-back and thundered a 25-yard shot against the face of the home crossbar.

And Cudicini pulled off a remarkable parry from substitute Lee Hughes' six-yard effort following Igor Balis' cross. The Italian keeper somehow turned the ball around his left-hand post.

Zola could have made the game safe - but blazed over from Hasselbaink's pull-back.
At the other end, Hughes raced clear of Marcel Desailly with nine minutes left but shot too close to Cudicini.
The Italian keeper also saved well from Scott Dobie's late drive.


C. Cudicini I. Balis
E. De Lucas N. Clement
M. Desailly S. Dobie
W. Gallas P. Gilchrist
J. Gronkjaer S. Gregan
J. Hasselbaink R. Hoult
F. Lampard A. Johnson
G. Le Saux L. Marshall
M. Melchiot D. McInnes
E. Petit D. Moore
G. Zola J. Roberts
Subs: E. Gudjohnsen Subs: L. Hughes
J. Morris J. Koumas
F. Oliveira J. Murphy
L. Pidgeley L. Sigurdsson
J. Terry R. Wallwork

MATCH: Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion, 2-0, Saturday 26 October 2002

Goal Scorers & Times: CHELSEA 30' J Hasselbaink

CHELSEA 55' G Le Saux
Half Time Score: 1 - 0
Cautions / Yellow cards: WEST BROMWICH ALBION 60' A Johnson Yellow Unsporting behaviour
Substitutions: WEST BROMWICH ALBION 58' Off:L Marshall On: L Hughes

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 67' Off:S Gregan On: L Sigurdsson

CHELSEA 73' Off:E Petit On: J Morris

CHELSEA 80' Off:J Gronkjaer On: J Terry
Attendance: 40893

Chelsea FC vs. FC Everton 4:1

Mon 21 April 2003, 3:00 PM

Goalscorers: Gronkjaer 62: Gudjohnsen 25: Hasselbaink 48: Zola 90
Squad: Cudicini, Melchiot, Desailly, Terry, Gallas, Gronkjaer (Le Saux 87), Petit, Lampard, De Lucas, Gudjohnsen (Cole 84), Hasselbaink (Zola 81)
Unused Substitutes: De Goey, Stanic
Booked: De Lucas (9)

Goalscorers: Carsley 77
Squad: Wright, Yobo (Gravesen 52), Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth (Hibbert 52), Naysmith, Gemmill, Tie (Ferguson 78), Carsley, Campbell, Rooney
Unused Substitutes: Gerrard, Alexandersson
Booked: Gravesen (70)

Attendance: 40,875
Referee: Mike Riley

Strange how these things go! Last weekend here against Bolton, Chelsea carved out numerous genuine chances to find the net but in the end had to settle for the narrowest of wins. Today against Everton, penetrating play was thin on the ground yet nearly every attack seemed guided by a kindly hand towards the net or a breaking forward as we came away with a comfortable and crucial victory.
Where the game did resemble the Bolton visit however was in the enterprise of the opposition. It wouldn't be too harsh to claim that Everton, a late rally apart, offered next to nothing to test the Chelsea backline.
As well as no real threat, the first 20 minutes were characterised by no real tempo and no real incident to raise the pulses of the Bank Holiday crowd. Right at the start, Frank Lampard had failed to connect properly to a Jesper Gronkjaer lay-back and later on, Eidur Gudjohnsen tamely lofted a ball over the bar after Yobo had headed a clearance back to him.
Gudjohnsen and Hasselbaink were starting up front together for the first time in five games but it was Gronkjaer, restored down the left who was looking Chelseas most dangerous means of attack, showing a clear beating of Yobo several times in the early stages. But when Chelsea did make the breakthrough, it came straight down the middle and indeed it was the old combination that struck.
With 24 minutes gone, Hasselbaink had come deep to collect and launched a speculative ball forward towards his partner-in-goals from last season. Whether the ball would have reached Gudjohnsen had Weir not slipped is debatable but when the Everton captain continued his miserable Easter following Saturday's red card by hitting the deck, Eidur was left all alone to collect and ram the ball past Wright. That was after 24 minutes and 10 minutes later Hasselbaink slammed the ball into the sidenetting with Chelseas one other opening of the half. Everton, energetic and disciplined as expected, were offering nothing going forward.
Rooney had drawn De Lucas into making a bodycheck that earned a yellow card with one run but that apart, a minor goalmouth skirmish just before the break was all they had to bite on going into the interval. It didn't take Chelsea long to increase our hold on the three points after the restart. If the first goal had a hint of Everton misfortune about it, the second must have had them suspecting their coach had run over a black cat as it pulled into Stamford Bridge.
Just three minutes into the half, Gronkjaer burned round the outside of Yobo, cut back from the line and chipped over a near post ball. Hasselbaink dived to meet it and as the ball skimmed up off the top of his head, it could have gone anywhere. Joyfully, it chose to loop over Wright, onto the far post and in. Not that the Everton keeper had followed its fate. He was busy receiving treatment having tested the strength of the post in a nasty collision.
David Moyes was not prepared to watch the right-hand side of his team ripped apart by Gronkjaer any longer without doing something about and he replaced Yobo with Hibbert at the same time as bringing Gravesen on. Unsworth was the player to make way for the midfielder, Weir moving into the centre of defence and Naysmith dropping back to left-back.
Rather than making progress down the wings, Chelsea instead went for the middle ground once more to add a third on the hour and this time, rather than claim bad luck, Everton could only look at their own absent defence.
John Terry took a free-kick from deep, deep in his own half and spotted Gronkjaer making an undetected run straight through the centre. Having made his way behind the visitors' back-line, no-one was going to catch the flying Dane and he brought the ball down well before slotting it calmly past a recovered Wright. Game all but over!
Lampard bursting into the area nearly added a fourth and Gravesen was booked for a bad tackle from behind on De Lucas before Everton gave themselves a glimmer of hope.
Gemmill knocked a neat ball through to Carsley running into the area and he slotted it beyond Cudicini. There were just over 15 minutes remaining and Moyes opted for the Duncan Ferguson route to attempt to further claw back into the game. He came on for Li Tie with the hardworking but ineffective Rooney moving out wide. Ranieri also freshened up his forward line with Zola replacing Hasselbaink followed by Cole for Gudjohnsen.
With just six minutes remaining came another unwelcome scare. Carsley again found space in the area but thankfully hooked just wide. That was enough frights thank you very much!
The final minutes were played out quite calmly, Gronkjaer making way for Le Saux, and then with seconds remaining, smiles all round were restored with a fourth goal.
Again the Everton defence looked to have started their journey back north early as Gallas' long ball found Zola all alone. With a deft flick of his right boot he lofted the bouncing ball over Wright and into the far netting.
Chelsea had by no means sparkled this afternoon but we had found our cutting edge once more. If you had only seen Everton against us this season you would wonder quite how they are where they are.
We have now scored 11 times against the blue half of Merseyside this season and this afternoon we surely finished them off as Champions League challengers. Liverpool are still a threat but we have lifted ourselves above Newcastle into the third spot. It has been a good and important Easter Monday.