Premier League - Chelsea extend lead with win
Sat, 23 Oct 16:52:00 2010
Chelsea went five points clear at the top of the Premier League table after they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Florent Malouda joined Carlos Tevez at the top of the scoring charts after he netted his seventh league goal of the season midway through the first half, before Salomon Kalou came off the bench to make sure of the win.
With second-placed Manchester City playing Arsenal on Sunday, the Blues know they will at least retain the two-point advantage they went into the weekend once the rest of this round of fixtures is completed.
The champions seemed content for Wolves to keep the ball and hit them on the break. Although it was a tactic that paid off, they could have gone behind on six minutes when Matt Jarvis's cross was diverted goalwards, but John Terry was on hand to block it.
Jose Bosingwa completed his return from a long-term injury lay-off by making his first start for Chelsea in a year, and he made his presence felt.
The Portuguese full-back played a neat one-two with Didier Drogba - also returning after missing Chelsea's last two matches through an illness - and he fired in a low strike that Marcus Hahnemann blocked well with his feet.
Terry headed wide from a Drogba free-kick delivery, but the offside flag was already up, before David Edwards could only head a tame effort at Petr Cech from Jarvis's cross.
Jelle van Damme rose to meet another good Jarvis ball but could not get sufficient power on it, and Chelsea raced right up the other end and scored.
Nicolas Anelka charged up the left wing before feeding Yuri Zhirkov, who pulled his pass back from the by-line to tee up Malouda for a simple finish.
The home crowd made it a debut to remember for Stephen Hunt. The Ireland winger collided with Cech while playing for Reading four years ago, with the scrum cap the Czech keeper still wears today a reminder of the skull injury he received in that notorious incident.
Hunt is well used to the abuse from the Blues faithful, having scored at the Bridge on his debut for Hull City last season, and he almost repeated the trick just moments after replacing Van Damme for the second half.
Richard Stearman flicked on a corner at the near post and Hunt dived in to meet the ball with a header that was blocked on the line by Michael Essien.
Not long afterwards, Kevin Doyle forced a good low save at the near post from Cech as Wolves continued to press in the knowledge that, as long as Chelsea's lead was still just the odd goal, they had a chance of levelling.
However, for all the chances they created, they were not able to test Cech sufficiently, with Nenad Milijas firing a pair of strikes too close to the keeper, and Doyle glancing a header from a corner right at him.
In the midst of all this, the threat of a killer second from Carlo Ancelotti's side was ever-present. Malouda fired an effort wide while Hahnemann had to come out of his area to block at the feet of Drogba.
Kalou finally put the result beyond doubt when he capped off a flowing move which saw Drogba find Essien with his back to goal. Essien played a first-time pass into Kalou's path, and the Ivorian swept the ball through the legs of Hahnemann.Tony Mabert / Eurosport