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Page last updated at 20:44 GMT, Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:44 UK

Chelsea   3 - 1   Birmingham

Salomon Kalou (left) and Florent Malouda celebrate as Chelsea take control
Kalou (left) and Malouda (second left) both scored for Chelsea

By Paul Fletcher

Chelsea leapfrogged Arsenal and moved into second place in the Premier League after brushing aside Birmingham.

Florent Malouda converted a Didier Drogba flick-on after three minutes while Salomon Kalou finished a solo run with a thunderous strike.

Malouda headed in his second at the near post after the break.

Sebastian Larsson scored a penalty for Birmingham after David Luiz fouled Matt Derbyshire but Chelsea held on to cut Manchester United's lead to six points.

With Arsenal dropping two points in a scintillating 3-3 draw across London at Tottenham, the men from Stamford Bridge moved level on 64 points with the Gunners but above them in the table on goal difference.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has seen his side win six of their last seven top-flight fixtures and become the form team just as the season moves towards its conclusion.

Title race not over yet - Ancelotti

The west Londoners have five league games left - including a trip to Old Trafford to face United on 8 May - while United boss Sir Alex Ferguson still faces a trip to Arsenal on 1 May.

However, although Wednesday's results might have given Chelsea a glimmer of hope that they can retain their Premier League crown, it was not a perfect evening for Ancelotti's team.

Fernando Torres came on as a second-half substitute for his 13th Chelsea appearance but did not really have a clear sight of goal and has now gone almost 900 minutes without scoring.

There were no such problems for Malouda, who converted the home side's first meaningful attack with a finish from three yards.

The goal came from Paulo Ferreira's right-wing cross after he controlled a raking pass from John Terry.

Ancelotti's men were in total control and almost doubled their lead when Ben Foster struggled to deal with a long-range strike from Drogba that the keeper just managed to tip over his crossbar.

The visiting side did threaten to force their way back into the contest but Terry made a superb covering tackle to deny the recalled Alexander Hleb, who was poised to shoot, while Petr Cech saved Cameron Jerome's strike from a tight angle.

Chelsea in tremendous form - McLeish

Drogba went close with an audacious attempt at a lob and drew a good save from Foster with a precise strike that threatened to find the bottom corner.

But Foster was powerless to prevent Kalou doubling Chelsea's advantage after the Ivorian capped a fine mazy run that left Roger Johnson and Stuart Parnaby trailing in his wake with a crisp shot from 20 yards that clipped the inside of the post.

If there was any doubt about the outcome of the match, the west Londoners appeared to have made sure of three points when they scored a third just after the hour mark.

Malouda lost marker Liam Ridgewell at the near post and had plenty of time to head a cross from 21-year-old substitute Ryan Bertrand - making his Chelsea debut - beyond Foster.

The visiting side pulled a goal back when Larsson drilled a penalty into the top corner after Luiz had needlessly fouled another substitute, Matt Derbyshire, on the edge of the penalty area as the two players headed away from the danger zone.

And Derbyshire might have pulled another goal back - and in the process set up an exciting climax to the contest - but after bearing down on goal the former Blackburn Rovers player snatched at the chance and his low strike went wide of goal.

Drogba might have capped a fine individual performance with a goal but the striker shot an indirect free-kick from 12 yards over the crossbar after Birmingham had been penalised for a backpass.


Birmingham boss Alex McLeish:
"I thought there were aspects of our play that were good but losing an early goal was pretty sad.

"Last year we did the same thing and it leaves you with a mountain to climb.

"But what a great fightback by our team, who have a superb attitude and a never-say-die attitude against a Chelsea team in fantastic form."

Live text and stats

 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Chelsea 3-1 Birmingham FT
(HT 2-0)
  • Malouda 3
  • Kalou 26
  • Malouda 62
  • Larsson (pen) 76

Chelsea

Substitutes

Birmingham

Substitutes

Ref: JonesAtt: 40,848
CHELSEA
BIRMINGHAM

Possession

  • Chelsea 65%
  • Birmingham 35%

Attempts on target

  • Chelsea 7
  • Birmingham 3

Attempts off target

  • Chelsea 10
  • Birmingham 3

Corners

  • Chelsea 7
  • Birmingham 4

Fouls

  • Chelsea 9
  • Birmingham 11
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:05 The match has reached full-time.
  • 90:00+2:37 Stephen Carr challenges Didier Drogba unfairly and gives away a free kick. Michael Essien takes the direct free kick.
  • 90:00+1:05 The ball is sent over by Sebastian Larsson.
  • 89:55 Craig Gardner challenges Mikel unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Mikel.
  • 88:27 Fernando Torres fouled by Roger Johnson, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Bertrand.
  • 85:49 Didier Drogba conjures a right-footed shot from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.
  • 84:33 Frank Lampard takes the direct free kick.
  • 81:59 Mikel fouled by Matt Derbyshire, the ref awards a free kick. Michael Essien takes the free kick.
  • 81:27 Matt Derbyshire produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the target.
  • 78:52 Substitution Curtis Davies on for Stuart Parnaby.
  • 78:42 Michael Essien produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 77:12 Matt Derbyshire provided the assist for the goal.
  • 75:43 GOAL - Sebastian LarssonChelsea 3 - 1 Birmingham Sebastian Larsson scores a power penalty. Chelsea 3-1 Birmingham.
  • 75:42 Marinho David Luiz concedes a Penalty for a foul on Matt Derbyshire.
  • 70:58 Nicolas Anelka takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Stuart Parnaby.
  • 70:52 Centre by Nicolas Anelka, Barry Ferguson gets a block in.
  • 69:34 Substitution Matt Derbyshire on for Cameron Jerome.
  • 69:34 Substitution Alexander Hleb goes off and David Bentley comes on.
  • 67:20 The assistant referee signals for offside against Fernando Torres. Free kick taken by Ben Foster.
  • 66:40 Substitution Nicolas Anelka comes on in place of Florent Malouda.
  • 66:40 Substitution (Chelsea) makes a substitution, with Fernando Torres coming on for Salomon Kalou.
  • 65:39 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Bertrand by Sebastian Larsson. Ryan Bertrand takes the free kick.
  • 64:10 Outswinging corner taken by Frank Lampard, clearance made by Roger Johnson.
  • 63:02 Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Florent Malouda, John Terry takes a shot. Save made by Ben Foster.
  • 61:34 The ball is delivered by Ryan Bertrand,
  • 61:29 Assist by Ryan Bertrand.
  • 61:29 GOAL - Florent MaloudaChelsea 3 - 0 Birmingham Florent Malouda finds the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Chelsea 3-0 Birmingham.
  • 57:30 Mikel has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 57:14 The ball is crossed by Ryan Bertrand, clearance made by Liam Ridgewell.
  • 55:52 Substitution Ryan Bertrand on for Ashley Cole.
  • 55:11 Corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Roger Johnson misses to the left of the goal.
  • 53:55 Mikel challenges Alexander Hleb unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Craig Gardner.
  • 50:13 Corner taken right-footed by Didier Drogba from the right by-line to the near post, Headed effort from inside the area by Marinho David Luiz misses to the right of the target.
  • 49:04 Free kick crossed by Didier Drogba.
  • 49:04 Booking Stuart Parnaby booked.
  • 48:54 Unfair challenge on Salomon Kalou by Stuart Parnaby results in a free kick.
  • 45:58 Cameron Jerome is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Marinho David Luiz restarts play with the free kick.
  • 45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+2:10 The half-time whistle blows.
  • 45:00+1:46 Unfair challenge on Alexander Hleb by Michael Essien results in a free kick. Sebastian Larsson takes the free kick.
  • 45:00+0:44 Michael Essien has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand post.
  • 45:00+0:08 Mikel challenges Barry Ferguson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Keith Fahey takes the free kick.
  • 44:14 Frank Lampard takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.
  • 41:22 The ball is delivered by Paulo Ferreira, Salomon Kalou has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.
  • 40:49 Cameron Jerome takes a shot. Blocked by Marinho David Luiz.
  • 40:28 Unfair challenge on Barry Ferguson by Marinho David Luiz results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Liam Ridgewell.
  • 40:15 The ball is crossed by Didier Drogba, Liam Ridgewell manages to make a clearance.
  • Correction - 39:25 Didier Drogba takes the inswinging corner, Barry Ferguson manages to make a clearance.
  • 39:25 Corner taken by Didier Drogba from the left by-line, clearance made by Keith Fahey.
  • 38:05 Unfair challenge on Alexander Hleb by Marinho David Luiz results in a free kick. Sebastian Larsson delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, Petr Cech makes a save.
  • 37:20 Effort on goal by Didier Drogba from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
  • 35:28 Frank Lampard takes the outswinging corner, Headed effort from inside the area by Michael Essien misses to the left of the goal.
  • 35:13 Didier Drogba takes a shot. Save made by Ben Foster.
  • 35:00 Craig Gardner takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.
  • 33:09 Marinho David Luiz sends in a cross, Didier Drogba challenges Ben Foster unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Roger Johnson.
  • 32:17 Craig Gardner challenges Florent Malouda unfairly and gives away a free kick. Florent Malouda restarts play with the free kick.
  • 28:55 Didier Drogba fouled by Stephen Carr, the ref awards a free kick. Ashley Cole takes the direct free kick.
  • 28:00 Stuart Parnaby concedes a free kick for a foul on Salomon Kalou. Petr Cech takes the free kick.
  • 25:49 Assist by Didier Drogba.
  • 25:49 GOAL - Salomon KalouChelsea 2 - 0 Birmingham Salomon Kalou finds the net with a goal from long range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Chelsea 2-0 Birmingham.
  • 24:15 Effort from just outside the box by Didier Drogba goes over the bar.
  • 23:43 Unfair challenge on Ashley Cole by Sebastian Larsson results in a free kick. Free kick taken by John Terry.
  • 20:56 Cameron Jerome produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes wide left of the goal.
  • 20:02 Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson, Petr Cech makes a save.
  • 19:48 Cameron Jerome takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.
  • 17:20 Roger Johnson fouled by Didier Drogba, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ben Foster.
  • 14:37 Didier Drogba is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Ben Foster takes the direct free kick.
  • 13:05 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Didier Drogba by Craig Gardner. John Terry takes the direct free kick.
  • 12:05 Frank Lampard produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses right.
  • 10:49 John Terry delivers the ball, Roger Johnson gets a block in.
  • 9:41 Outswinging corner taken by Sebastian Larsson from the right by-line played to the near post, Mikel manages to make a clearance.
  • 8:36 The ball is sent over by Paulo Ferreira, Roger Johnson makes a clearance.
  • 7:31 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line to the near post, Michael Essien makes a clearance.
  • 6:52 Unfair challenge on Barry Ferguson by Michael Essien results in a free kick. Sebastian Larsson restarts play with the free kick.
  • 4:56 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard played to the near post, Liam Ridgewell makes a clearance.
  • 4:45 Didier Drogba takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.
  • 2:42 The assist for the goal came from Didier Drogba.
  • 2:42 GOAL - Florent MaloudaChelsea 1 - 0 Birmingham Goal scored by Florent Malouda from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Chelsea 1-0 Birmingham.
  • 2:40 The ball is sent over by Paulo Ferreira,
  • 0:00 The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Barclays Premier League results

20 Apr 2011 23:59 UK


Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 20 Apr 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 33 38 70
2 Chelsea 33 34 64
3 Arsenal 33 32 64
4 Man City 32 20 56
5 Tottenham 32 8 54
6 Liverpool 33 7 49
7 Everton 33 6 47
8 Bolton 32 3 43
9 Newcastle 33 1 40
10 Aston Villa 33 -12 40
11 West Brom 33 -15 39
12 Fulham 32 1 38
13 Stoke 32 -3 38
14 Sunderland 33 -12 38
15 Birmingham 33 -12 38
16 Blackburn 33 -14 35
17 Wigan 33 -21 34
18 Blackpool 33 -22 33
19 West Ham 33 -19 32
20 Wolves 32 -20 32

see also
Wednesday football as it happened
20 Apr 11 |  Football
Tottenham 3-3 Arsenal
20 Apr 11 |  Premier League





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