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Premiership - West Brom Home 26th December 2008 - 2-0


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Lacklustre Chelsea Do Enough to Dispatch the Baggies

By Alan McGuinness

First half goals from Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard ensured Chelsea beat West Brom 2-0 at Stamford Bridge this afternoon to keep apace with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

The three points never really looked in doubt once Drogba headed in the opener, but the Blues failed to sparkle for the remainder of the match, wasting a number of opportunities to add to their lead.

Luiz Felipe Scolari decided to pair Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka upfront from the outset, and his decision paid off within minutes of kick off.

Joe Cole sent a ball into the box and Drogba powered a header over Scott Carson and into the far corner of the net.

Chelsea began to dominate possession, and Lampard struck a fierce free kick straight at Carson.

Kim had the visitors first effort on target, forcing Cech into a save with a left foot shot.

Alex had another Chelsea opportunity from a free kick, but he found his typically powerful shot blocked by the West Brom wall.

Abdolaye Meite was forced off for the Baggies after 26 minutes, Leon Barnett replaced him.

Finding a way through was proving difficult for the home side, and Ballack and Lampard both tried to remedy this by testing Carson with shots.

Ashley Cole came agonisingly close to adding a second goal with two efforts in quick succession.

First his shot from inside the box was brilliantly tipped onto the post by Carson, and then he just failed to make contact with a Jose Bosingwa cross as he slid across the box.

However, Lampard did add a second goal just before half time, easing the nerves of many inside Stamford Bridge.

Joe Cole played the ball into the box and Lampard picked up the pieces after Ashley Cole had been felled, taking the ball around Paul Robinson and then dinking the ball over Carson.

Juliano Beletti was brought on for Bosingwa at half time, and the Brazilian had Chelsea’s first effort of the second half.

The right back found himself with space to move into, but took the wrong option in opting for a chip, instead of passing it to one of his team mates who was in space.

Drogba provided evidence that is starting to recapture his best form when he expertly beat two players and hammered a shot at Carson.

Chipping seemed to be the attacking method of choice for Chelsea, as Lampard was another player to try to beat Carson with a lobbed shot.

The England midfielder got his angles all wrong and his shot was tame and easily gathered by Carson.

Despite having plenty of possession, the home side were finding it difficult to add to the score line.

Drogba again found his path to goal blocked by Carson, and it was to the Ivorian’s last action of the game, as he was replaced by Florent Malouda.

Alex headed wide from a corner afterwards, but Chelsea never looked like adding to the lead they had established in the first half.

The win was comfortable, but the performance by Scolari’s men was hardly spellbinding.

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