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Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Saturday, 26 December 2009

Birmingham   0 - 0   Chelsea

By Ian Hughes

Cameron Jerome and John Terry
Jerome and Terry tussle as both sides find it hard to dominate

Premier League leaders Chelsea failed to score for the first time in 34 games as they were frustrated by Birmingham.

Joe Hart made two stunning first-half saves to keep out Daniel Sturridge's low shot and Frank Lampard's drive.

Alex smashed a 35-yard free-kick against the bar, while Sturridge steered Didier Drogba's cross wide.

Chucho Benitez had a goal ruled out for offside and Sebastian Larsson's free-kick was saved by Petr Cech before Florent Malouda was sent off late on.

The Frenchman was shown a second yellow card for a challenge on Stephen Carr and his early exit summed up Chelsea's disappointment.

The visitors created enough chances to win the game and will feel they have dropped two points - handing rivals Manchester United and Arsenal a chance to make up ground when they play on Sunday.

Birmingham streak pleases McLeish

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has now seen his side win only once in their last seven games.

And with the likes of strikers Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou now heading to the Africa Cup of Nations, the Italian will be concerned that their poor run could continue for a while yet.

In contrast, Birmingham have now stretched their unbeaten run to 10 matches - courtesy of yet more resolute defending and their eighth clean sheet of the season.

However, at times they were hanging on as Chelsea craved out chances to score.

Branislav Ivanovic headed over from a corner, Juliano Belletti nodded a chance into the side netting and Drogba fired over as Chelsea dominated early on.

And it took a superb save from Hart, diving to his left, to prevent Sturridge from scoring his first goal for Chelsea on his first Premier League start.

606: DEBATE
Guildford Bluenose

Lampard was next to be frustrated when his fierce effort from 15 yards was pushed over by the excellent Hart.

Then in a rare foray forward, Birmingham would have taken the lead but for the assistant referee's flag.

With Drogba laying on the floor in the Chelsea penalty area, Liam Ridgewell squared the ball for Benitez to tap in only to be ruled offside, despite TV replays suggesting otherwise.

Birmingham may have felt hard done by, and had Alex's free-kick not been kept out by the woodwork and Sturridge not missed an excellent chance as half-time approached they would have been livid.

After the break, Larsson curled in a free-kick that had Cech scrambling scramble across his line to keep out.

We lack confidence - Ancelotti

But it was not a sign of things to come as Chelsea resumed control - but continued to misfire.

Substitute Salomon Kalou, on for Sturridge, crossed for Malouda but he missed his kick and sliced horribly wide.

Then Hart came to his side's rescue once more when he brilliantly saved Kalou's shot.

It proved to be Chelsea's last clear-cut chance and their frustration was compounded when Malouda saw red for a late challenge.


Birmingham boss Alex McLeish:
"Both teams had their chances - with a wee bit of luck on the day we may even have sneaked it.

"Chelsea are a great side, they get bodies forward and their goal threat was always there but the concentration of our players was fantastic.

"To go 10 games unbeaten is phenomenal. These guys have the winning attitude and their intensity is terrific."

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti:
"We played a good match, we had a lot of chances - there were some very good saves by their goalkeeper Joe Hart, who played very well.

"Normally when you have five, six, seven chances in a game, you score.

"I think we lost some confidence in our play and we are a little bit tired. But we are still top of the table and we have to think about the next game."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Birmingham 0-0 Chelsea FT
(HT 0-0)

      Birmingham

      Substitutes

      • 01 Taylor,
      • 27 Gregory Vignal,
      • 18 Fahey,
      • 19 McSheffrey,
      • 22 Johnson,
      • 26 Carsley,
      • 09 Phillips

      Chelsea

      Substitutes

      Ref: WaltonAtt: 28,958
      BIRMINGHAM
      CHELSEA

      Possession

      • Birmingham 43%
      • Chelsea 57%

      Attempts on target

      • Birmingham 4
      • Chelsea 12

      Attempts off target

      • Birmingham 7
      • Chelsea 15

      Corners

      • Birmingham 7
      • Chelsea 11

      Fouls

      • Birmingham 6
      • Chelsea 17
      • Final Result
      • Full Time
      • 90:00+6:13 The match has reached full-time.
      • 90:00+3:33 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Didier Drogba, save made by Joe Hart.
      • 90:00+3:28 A cross is delivered by Salomon Kalou, Roger Johnson manages to make a clearance.
      • 90:00+1:40 Damien Johnson has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.
      • 90:00+1:27 Lee Bowyer takes a shot. Blocked by Alex.
      • 90:00+0:16 A cross is delivered by Didier Drogba, save by Joe Hart.
      • 89:27 Keith Fahey takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.
      • 88:46 Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
      • 88:46 Sent off Florent Malouda shown a red card for second bookable offence.
      • 88:29 Florent Malouda gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephen Carr.
      • 87:52 Damien Johnson delivers the ball, Alex manages to make a clearance.
      • 87:12 Joe Hart takes the indirect free kick.
      • 87:12 Substitution Damien Johnson replaces Sebastian Larsson.
      • 87:12 The referee blows for offside.
      • 85:51 Unfair challenge on Lee Bowyer by Juliano Belletti results in a free kick. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
      • 85:03 Joe Hart takes the free kick.
      • 85:03 Substitution Mikel goes off and Michael Ballack comes on.
      • 85:03 Unfair challenge on Joe Hart by Salomon Kalou results in a free kick.
      • 80:32 Roger Johnson fouled by Didier Drogba, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
      • 79:53 A cross is delivered by Juliano Belletti.
      • 79:41 Branislav Ivanovic crosses the ball, clearance made by Barry Ferguson.
      • 79:00 Unfair challenge on Scott Dann by Salomon Kalou results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Scott Dann.
      • 78:09 Direct free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.
      • 78:09 Substitution Joe Cole joins the action as a substitute, replacing Frank Lampard.
      • 78:09 Booking Branislav Ivanovic goes into the referee's book.
      • 78:00 Free kick awarded for a foul by Branislav Ivanovic on Keith Fahey.
      • 76:24 Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
      • 76:24 Substitution Keith Fahey replaces James McFadden.
      • 76:24 Salomon Kalou gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Liam Ridgewell.
      • 75:01 Frank Lampard takes a shot. Barry Ferguson gets a block in.
      • 73:51 Outswinging corner taken by James McFadden from the left by-line, clearance made by Florent Malouda.
      • 72:18 James McFadden fouled by Mikel, the ref awards a free kick. Sebastian Larsson has an effort direct from the free kick.
      • 71:28 Frank Lampard takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.
      • 71:21 Salomon Kalou decides to take a short corner.
      • 71:06 Salomon Kalou takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.
      • 70:12 Booking The referee shows Lee Bowyer a yellow card.
      • 69:48 Branislav Ivanovic takes a shot. Blocked by Barry Ferguson.
      • 68:54 The assistant referee flags for offside against Didier Drogba. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
      • 67:37 Effort on goal by Frank Lampard from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.
      • 66:53 Substitution Salomon Kalou on for Daniel Sturridge.
      • 66:29 Outswinging corner taken by Florent Malouda, Header on goal by Didier Drogba from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
      • 65:46 Outswinging corner taken by Frank Lampard from the right by-line played to the near post, Juliano Belletti takes a shot. Blocked by Sebastian Larsson.
      • 65:40 The ball is crossed by Branislav Ivanovic, clearance by Barry Ferguson.
      • 64:05 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by James McFadden played to the near post, clearance by Frank Lampard.
      • 63:49 Lee Bowyer takes a shot. Blocked by John Terry.
      • 63:02 James McFadden takes the outswinging corner, clearance made by Didier Drogba.
      • 60:40 Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Sebastian Larsson, save by Petr Cech.
      • 60:40 Booking Florent Malouda goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
      • 60:33 Free kick awarded for a foul by Florent Malouda on Christian Benitez.
      • 60:20 Mikel concedes a free kick for a foul on James McFadden. Barry Ferguson takes the direct free kick.
      • 59:56 Branislav Ivanovic crosses the ball, clearance by Stephen Carr.
      • 59:42 Ashley Cole sends in a cross, clearance made by Liam Ridgewell.
      • 57:59 Christian Benitez takes a shot. John Terry makes a clearance.
      • 56:03 Cameron Jerome gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on John Terry. Direct free kick taken by John Terry.
      • 54:47 Ashley Cole fouled by Sebastian Larsson, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Frank Lampard, Sebastian Larsson manages to make a clearance.
      • 54:06 Foul by Daniel Sturridge on Barry Ferguson, free kick awarded. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
      • 53:14 Outswinging corner taken by Florent Malouda from the left by-line, Alex takes a shot.
      • 53:06 Ashley Cole takes a shot. Roger Johnson gets a block in.
      • 52:57 The ball is delivered by Didier Drogba.
      • 51:11 Lee Bowyer fouled by Juliano Belletti, the ref awards a free kick. Sebastian Larsson takes the free kick.
      • 48:15 Outswinging corner taken by Sebastian Larsson, Branislav Ivanovic manages to make a clearance.
      • 45:34 Centre by James McFadden, Ashley Cole manages to make a clearance.
      • 45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
      • Half Time
      • 45:00+2:37 The players leave the pitch at half time.
      • 45:00+2:00 Didier Drogba sends in a cross, Close range shot by Daniel Sturridge misses to the left of the target.
      • 45:00+1:15 The ball is sent over by Ashley Cole, Barry Ferguson manages to make a clearance.
      • 45:00+0:01 Liam Ridgewell concedes a free kick for a foul on Juliano Belletti. The ball is swung over by Florent Malouda, Juliano Belletti takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.
      • 43:35 Didier Drogba concedes a free kick for a foul on Roger Johnson. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
      • 42:40 Centre by Ashley Cole, Barry Ferguson manages to make a clearance.
      • 40:20 Branislav Ivanovic crosses the ball, Roger Johnson manages to make a clearance.
      • 39:31 Free kick awarded for a foul by Lee Bowyer on Florent Malouda. Alex shoots direct from the free kick,
      • 38:32 The ball is crossed by Daniel Sturridge, Didier Drogba challenges Scott Dann unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
      • 37:56 The referee blows for offside against Didier Drogba. Joe Hart takes the indirect free kick.
      • 37:27 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mikel by Cameron Jerome. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.
      • 37:04 The ball is swung over by Daniel Sturridge, Joe Hart makes a save.
      • 36:38 Barry Ferguson takes a shot.
      • 36:32 The ball is delivered by Sebastian Larsson, clearance by Didier Drogba.
      • 36:22 Short corner taken by James McFadden from the right by-line.
      • 35:48 Corner taken by James McFadden from the right by-line played to the near post, Didier Drogba manages to make a clearance.
      • 35:03 Effort from the edge of the penalty box by Florent Malouda goes wide of the right-hand upright.
      • 34:03 Lee Bowyer sends in a cross, Headed effort on goal by Liam Ridgewell from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
      • 33:57 Liam Ridgewell crosses the ball, clearance made by Ashley Cole.
      • 32:38 Effort on goal by Didier Drogba from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.
      • 30:38 Christian Benitez is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.
      • 29:39 Juliano Belletti challenges James McFadden unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, Petr Cech makes a save.
      • 28:36 The referee blows for offside against Christian Benitez. Ashley Cole takes the free kick.
      • 28:22 Daniel Sturridge takes a shot. Blocked by Liam Ridgewell.
      • 27:29 Corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda.
      • 27:08 Frank Lampard takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.
      • 25:52 Mikel concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Bowyer. James McFadden crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, save by Petr Cech.
      • 24:33 The ball is swung over by Ashley Cole, save by Joe Hart.
      • 24:05 Christian Benitez is ruled offside. Petr Cech takes the free kick.
      • 23:42 Corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard from the left by-line, Alex takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.
      • 22:59 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda from the right by-line, Alex takes a shot. Roger Johnson gets a block in.
      • 22:46 Daniel Sturridge takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.
      • 21:55 The ball is delivered by Branislav Ivanovic, Shot from deep inside the area by Didier Drogba clears the bar.
      • 21:07 A cross is delivered by Florent Malouda, Daniel Sturridge takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.
      • 20:27 Christian Benitez is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Alex takes the indirect free kick.
      • 19:39 Frank Lampard takes a shot. Barry Ferguson gets a block in.
      • 18:42 A cross is delivered by James McFadden.
      • 17:51 The ball is delivered by Daniel Sturridge, Juliano Belletti has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal.
      • 16:40 Frank Lampard takes a shot.
      • 16:24 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Florent Malouda by Barry Ferguson. Free kick taken by Alex.
      • 14:30 Corner taken by Florent Malouda, Alex takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.
      • 14:17 A cross is delivered by Barry Ferguson, clearance by John Terry.
      • 13:14 Christian Benitez fouled by Alex, the ref awards a free kick. Sebastian Larsson fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
      • 10:51 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line.
      • 9:19 Corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda from the right by-line, Close range headed effort by Branislav Ivanovic clears the crossbar.
      • 9:12 Branislav Ivanovic crosses the ball, clearance by Liam Ridgewell.
      • 5:21 Shot by Branislav Ivanovic missed to the left of the target.
      • 5:07 Branislav Ivanovic sends in a cross, Stephen Carr makes a clearance.
      • 2:34 Florent Malouda sends in a cross, save by Joe Hart.
      • 2:12 The ball is swung over by Florent Malouda, Scott Dann manages to make a clearance.
      • 1:52 Short corner worked by Frank Lampard.
      • 1:22 Juliano Belletti produces a cross, clearance made by Roger Johnson.
      • 0:30 Cameron Jerome conjures a right-footed shot from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.
      • 0:00 The match has kicked off.

      Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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      Premier League table

      Saturday, 26 December 2009 19:28 UK

      Position Team P GD PTS
      Full Premier League table
      1 Chelsea 19 28 42
      2 Man Utd 18 20 37
      3 Arsenal 17 24 35
      4 Aston Villa 18 15 35
      5 Tottenham 19 18 34
      6 Man City 18 8 32
      7 Liverpool 19 11 30
      8 Birmingham 19 1 29
      9 Fulham 18 6 27
      10 Sunderland 19 -3 22
      11 Stoke 18 -7 21
      12 Blackburn 19 -15 20
      13 Burnley 19 -16 20
      14 Everton 18 -8 19
      15 Wolves 19 -16 19
      16 Wigan 18 -18 19
      17 West Ham 19 -7 18
      18 Bolton 17 -10 17
      19 Hull 18 -20 17
      20 Portsmouth 19 -11 14

      see also
      Boxing Day football as it happened
      26 Dec 09 |  Football
      Premier League photos
      26 Dec 09 |  Football



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