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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 September, 2003, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Chelsea crush Wolves
Chelsea's Frank Lampard celebrates

Wolves 0-5 Chelsea

Chelsea cruised ominously to the top of the Premiership table as they brushed aside beleaguered Wolves at Molineux.

First-half strikes from Frank Lampard and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink were followed by a first Chelsea goal for Damien Duff and an Hernan Crespo double to leave Wolves looking horribly out of depth alongside the Premiership's big fish.

Wolves will not be the last side to be so embarrassingly belittled by Chelsea's millionaire social club, but the new boys are already looking in big trouble.

Veteran stars Paul Ince and Dennis Irwin no longer have the pace or the presence to stamp their authority on games of such pace, while new signings like the lively Henri Camara rarely have the space in which to shine.

KEY MOMENTS
17 mins: Lampard fires home from Hasselbaink's lay-off
36 mins: Duff frees Hasselbaink for crisp low finish
53 mins: Duff fires in his first goal for Chelsea
67 mins: Substitute Crespo strikes with his first touch of the game
90 mins: Crespo smashes home his second

Off the pitch, Roman Abramovich's Chelsea wealth makes Wolves owner Sir Jack Hayward look like a down-on-his-luck vagrant - and on the pitch Wolves were similarly outclassed.

An embarrassment of riches in the Chelsea squad means Claudio Ranieri requires the skills of a circus juggler to keep all of his players happy and the early signs are that the Italian is getting the balance just right.

From the first whistle, Chelsea pushed forward with purpose and were unfortunate not to take the lead inside eight minutes when John Terry's strike was ruled out for an Eidur Gudjohnsen handball.

But the breakthrough never looked far away and duly arrived on 17 minutes.

Hasselbaink held the ball up well and drew Ince towards him to create a space for Lampard to run into and fire a crisp shot beyond the helpless Michael Oakes.

Lampard turned provider for the second when his quickly-taken free-kick had Wolves furiously back-pedalling.

Gudjohnsen helped the ball on to Duff, who found Hasselbaink with a perfect threaded pass that simply needed rolling into the far corner of Oakes' net.

And Chelsea's third goal on 53 minutes provided a perfect cameo of the game as some superb passing build-up play stretched Wolves in all directions and ended with Gujohnsson easily outpacing Ince as he set up Duff for a simple finish.

Predictably, Wolves played their best football and enjoyed their best chances in the closing stages as pride kicked in to coincide with Chelsea's foot easing off the gas.

Joey Gudjonsson blazed a volley just wide of one post and Paul Butler and Steffen Iversen both hit the bar in a late scramble.

But Wolves' briefly inflated egos were quickly burst by the introduction of substitute Crespo.

The Argentine striker had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds when he got on the end of Duff's fierce low cross to claim his first Chelsea goal with his first touch of the game.

And his second was a belting injury-time finish with Wolves still embarrassingly stretched.

Wolves' headaches are many; defensively stretched, without a goal since the opening day of the season and too pedestrian to cope in the Premiership fast lane.

But for Chelsea, the only problem is how to keep their fans' feet on the ground.


Wolves: Oakes, Irwin, Butler, Craddock, Naylor, Newton, Ince, Gudjonsson, Kennedy, Iversen, Camara. Subs: Murray, Luzhny, Cameron, Rae, Silas.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Johnson, Terry, Gallas, Babayaro, Gronkjaer, Makelele, Lampard, Duff, Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen. Subs: Ambrosio, Cole, Petit, Crespo, Huth.

Referee: M Messias (N Yorkshire).


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"It could have been 10-0 and Chelsea wouldn't have been flattered"


Wolves' manager Dave Jones
"You can't allow good players to have freedom around the box"




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