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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 March 2007, 16:57 GMT
Chelsea 3-0 Sheff Utd
By Owen Phillips

Andrei Shevchenko
Frank Lampard (left) congratulates Shevchenko after his opener
Chelsea eased past Sheffield United to move back to within six points of Premiership leaders Manchester United.

Andriy Shevchenko blasted the Blues ahead after a superb surge out of defence by Ricardo Carvalho and Salomon Kalou made it 2-0 from close range.

The Blades, who lost Rob Hulse to an horrific broken leg, went close through a Colin Kazim-Richards strike.

But half-time substitute Michael Ballack headed home a Wright-Phillips free-kick to seal a routine win.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho had not lost a home league since February 2002 when he was manager of Porto.


And the Londoners made a blistering start to ensure that amazing record was never under threat.

Carvalho broke up play deep in the Chelsea half after four minutes and eased past three defenders before finding Shevchenko with a glorious crossfield pass.

And the Ukraine striker, back in the starting line-up for the rested Didier Drogba, crashed the ball past Paddy Kenny.

The pace, movement and trickery of Robben, Wright and Kalou was causing Neil Warnock's side no end of problems and the home team were soon celebrating a second goal.

Wright-Phillips got free on the right flank and his teasing cross was turned on by Shevchenko and Kalou finished from close range.

Chelsea seemed to think it was job done at that point and the Blades almost hit back immediately.

Rob Hulse is taken off on a stretcher
Petr Cech (left) cannot look as Hulse's broken ankle is treated

Keeper Petr Cech did well to beat out Kazim Richards' vicious long-range effort and Hulse also went close with a neat overhead kick.

Hulse then almost turned in a low Keith Gillespie cross but Cech raced out to smother his effort and in the collision the Blades top-scorer suffered an horrific injury when his ankle appeared to snap beneath him.

Hulse lay motionless and it was clear from Cech's reaction that the injury was serious. After a five-minute delay Hulse was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital with what was thought to be a double fracture.

His replacement Christian Nade barely had a kick for the remainder of the game and the home side cruised to victory in a relatively uneventful second half.

Ballack, another to be rested with one eye on Monday's FA Cup quarter-final replay against Spurs, came on as a half-time substitute for Lampard and was soon on the scoresheet.

Gillespie was harshly deemed to have fouled Robben, Wright-Phillips whipped in a dangerous free-kick and Ballack reacted first to head the ball past the flapping Kenny.

Warnock was furious but the game was lost by then and Chelsea dominated possession.

Wright Phillips fizzed a shot narrowly wide and Kalou and Shevchenko impressed but Mourinho's men were unable to find a fourth against a well-organised away defence.

  • Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho:
    "We played well, we started well and scored two goals so after 20 minutes the game is under control.

    "They had a little spell before half-time but we were in control and played well in the second half.

    "When we have our best players back we are a good team and it is no surprise to me that we have won six games in a row."

  • Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock on Rob Hulse's injury:
    "It looks like a double fracture. It was pretty horrific - one of those where you look away.

    "He almost got the ball but his ankle collided with Cech's leg, goes one way and then goes the other way.

    "We have a job on our hands and it is up to one of the other lads to take us on from what Rob has done for us."

    Chelsea: Cech, Boulahrouz, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole (Ferreira 65), Wright-Phillips, Makelele, Lampard (Ballack 46), Robben, Shevchenko (Drogba 65), Kalou.
    Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Diarra.

    Goals: Shevchenko 4, Kalou 17, Ballack 58.

    Sheff Utd: Kenny, Geary, Davis, Morgan, Armstrong, Gillespie, Alan Quinn (Tonge 67), Jagielka, Montgomery, Kazim-Richards, Hulse (Nade 25).
    Subs Not Used: Bromby, Shelton, Stead.

    Att: 41,897.

    Ref: C Foy (Merseyside).

    Saturday's football photos
    17 Mar 07 |  Football


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