rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Chelsea make it seven in a row

Chelsea make it seven in a row

January 23, 2005 16:03 IST

Chelsea continued the relentless assault on their first league title for 50 years by comfortably beating Portsmouth 3-0 to equal a club record of seven successive top-flight victories.

The west London club, who have not conceded a goal in that run, are now 11 points clear of Manchester United, who beat Aston Villa 3-1, and 13 clear of champions Arsenal, who host Newcastle United on Sunday.

Everton remain fourth on 44 points after they lost 1-0 at home to Charlton Athletic, while fifth-placed Liverpool's bad run continued with a 2-0 defeat at struggling Southampton.

Liverpool have 37 points along with Charlton and Middlesbrough, who led Norwich City 4-1 with 12 minutes remaining at Carrow Road only to draw 4-4.

Crystal Palace shocked Tottenham Hotspur 3-0, Fulham won 2-1 at Birmingham City while bottom side West Bromwich Albion completed a good day for the strugglers with a 2-0 victory over Manchester City.

EFFECTIVELY OVER

Chelsea needed only first gear to ease past Portsmouth and the match was effectively over once they moved 2-0 up after 21 minutes.

Striker Didier Drogba tapped in the first after 15 minutes following a great run and cross by Arjen Robben and the Dutch winger got the second in the 21st when he cleverly went round goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.

Aiyegbeni Yakubu missed a good chance for Portsmouth and they were immediately punished when Drogba curled in his second goal from a free kick in the 39th minute.

The only team to pierce the Chelsea rearguard in the last nine games have been fourth division Scunthorpe in a 3-1 FA Cup defeat and Portsmouth never looked like matching the fourth division club's minor achievement as Chelsea cruised home.

Manchester United also got off to a good start when Louis Saha set up Cristiano Ronaldo to shoot in after eight minutes.

United's defence has looked as solid as Chelsea's in recent weeks but it was breached for the first time in nine games in all competitions when Rio Ferdinand's mistake allowed midfielder Gareth Barry to equalise eight minutes into the second half.

The comeback was short-lived, however, as United hit back with two goals in two minutes by Saha (69) and Paul Scholes.

Liverpool, beaten at home by United in the league last Saturday and dumped out of the FA Cup by second division Burnley on Tuesday, were comfortably beaten by Southampton thanks to goals by David Prutton and Peter Crouch in the first 22 minutes.

BULLDOG SPIRIT

Crystal Palace responded to Southampton's win in the early kickoff with their best performance of the season to beat Spurs.

Second-half goals by Mikele Leigertwood, Danny Granville and an Andy Johnson penalty were all the more impressive since Tottenham had only conceded five away goals all season.

Norwich took the lead against Middlesbrough but two goals each for Franck Queudrue and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink seemed to have the visitors comfortably home and dry.

Norwich, though, refused to give in and goals for Dean Ashton, Leon McKenzie and, in injury time, Adam Drury grabbed a point.

Kevin Campbell scored five minutes into his home league debut for West Brom and Ronnie Wallwork added a late second against Manchester City as Bryan Robson enjoyed a first league win since taking over as manager more than two months ago.

Charlton completed the double over Everton as Matt Holland's long-range effort was enough to win a scrappy Goodison Park clash. Everton's six defeats this season have all been against London clubs.

Mitch Phillips
Source:
© Copyright 2013 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.