Nicolas Anelka got Chelsea up and running with a fabulous opener at the Bridge
By Sam Lyon
Chelsea maintained their 100% record in this season's Champions League with a clinical win over Spartak Moscow that secured their progress from Group F.
An even first half was notable mostly for an awful miss by Chelsea's Alex.
But the hosts impressed in the second half, sparked by Nicolas Anelka's fine rising finish before Didier Drogba earned and fired home a penalty.
Branislav Ivanovic then headed a third and slammed home a fourth, either side of Nikita Bazhenov's late consolation.
As so often with Chelsea this season, it was a victory that in the end could barely have been more comfortable - and yet the hosts never really got out of third gear.
It extends the Blues' unbeaten run at home in the Champions League group stages to 22 matches - a run built on clinical finishing and the foundations of a superb defence, marshalled from between the sticks by Petr Cech - who had gone 956 minutes without conceding at Stamford Bridge before Bazhenov's late strike.
Spartak certainly played their part in a keenly-contested opening half, though.
Despite losing the reverse fixture a fortnight ago, the Russian outfit served enough warning in the second half of that game to suggest they could threaten the Blues at the Bridge - and so it proved in a first 45 minutes that was arguably shaded by the team from Moscow.
With Dimitri Kombarov and Aiden McGeady providing plenty of width and fit-again skipper Alex pulling the strings in midfield, Spartak more than held their own.
Former Celtic winger McGeady curled the match's first effort of note narrowly wide after a decent break by Evgeni Makeev, while Alex forced a smart stop on the dive from Cech with a swerving effort from range that the Chelsea keeper did well to beat away.
But it was the visitors' drive and energy more than their incision in front of goal that will have impressed their vocal away support - and for a long time Chelsea failed to fire as a result.
With John Terry on the bench, Michael Essien rested and Frank Lampard still injured, a lack of spark betrayed a sense that Chelsea were expecting - rather than battling for - things to happen, despite the prospect of early qualification to the knockout stages.
Not that the hosts were completely toothless. Anelka curled inches wide on the back of an incisive run, Drogba forced a low save from the angle and only Alex will know how he failed to tap in from all of a yard after Ivanovic's near-post flick from a corner.
Still, more purpose, intent and ambition was needed if Chelsea were going to break the Russians' resolve - and it took less than five minutes of the second half for Anelka to provide it.
The Frenchman exchanged passes on the run with Salomon Kalou on the edge of the Spartak area and then squeezed home a fabulous rising finish between the post and keeper Andriy Dykan from a tight angle to open the scoring.
That goal enabled Chelsea to do what they have done so well all season - patiently build, wait for the gaps, and then strike with clinical precision.
It was 2-0 soon after the hour mark, Makeev chopping Drogba down inside the area and the Ivorian picking himself up to slot in the resulting spot-kick.
And only moments later Ivanovic put the game to bed, getting himself free to nod into the corner from Drogba's precise free-kick.
Kalou twice went close to a fourth, firing over when well placed in the area and then forcing a smart save with a low drive.
But it was Spartak, against the run of play, that grabbed the game's fourth in the end - Bazhenov, looking suspiciously offside, sliding home from Welliton's cross on the break.
The final word, however, belonged - fittingly - to Chelsea, Ivanovic slamming in his third goal in two matches after a spot of pin-ball inside the visitors' box in stoppage time.
Marseille's 7-0 rout of MSK Zilina in the night's other Group F game means top spot is not yet guaranteed for the west Londoners - but with Zilina the next opponents for Carlo Ancelotti's men, entering the knockout stages as group winners for the sixth time in the last eight campaigns looks odds-on for the Premier League leaders.
90:00+3:22 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+2:42 Ramires gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Barreto Ibson. Direct free kick taken by Nikola Drincic, Barreto
Ibson takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.
90:00+1:45 Yury Zhirkov provided the assist for the goal.
90:00+1:45 GOAL - Branislav Ivanovic:Chelsea 4 - 1 Spartak Moscow Goal scored by Branislav Ivanovic from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Chelsea 4-1 Spartak
90:00+1:14 Short corner taken by Salomon Kalou from the right by-line.
90:00+0:10 Daniel Sturridge produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the goal.
89:49 Ramires fouled by Nikola Drincic, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Paulo Ferreira.
87:12 The referee blows for offside against Salomon Kalou. Andrei Dikan takes the indirect free kick.
86:45 A cross is delivered by Daniel Sturridge, Ramires takes a shot. Nicolas Pareja gets a block in.
85:15 Assist by Nikola Drincic.
85:15 GOAL - Nikita Bazhenov:Chelsea 3 - 1 Spartak Moscow Nikita Bazhenov finds the back of the net with a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. Chelsea 3-1 Spartak
84:19 The ball is sent over by Gael Kakuta, Headed effort from close range by Daniel Sturridge goes wide left of the goal.
83:38 Effort from just outside the box by Alexandr Kozlov goes over the bar.
81:34 Dmitri Kombarov fouled by Ramires, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Dmitri Kombarov.
78:56 Substitution Nikita Bazhenov joins the action as a substitute, replacing Aiden McGeady.
78:29 Gael Kakuta produces a cross.
77:28 Shot from 20 yards from Salomon Kalou. Save by Andrei Dikan.
76:46 Daniel Sturridge challenges Andrei Ivanov unfairly and gives away a free kick. Nikola Drincic takes the direct free kick.
75:40 Substitution Daniel Sturridge joins the action as a substitute, replacing Didier Drogba.
75:14 Substitution Gael Kakuta joins the action as a substitute, replacing Nicolas Anelka.
73:59 Effort on goal by Salomon Kalou from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
71:27 Barreto Ibson fouled by Ramires, the ref awards a free kick. Nikola Drincic takes the free kick.
70:56 Shot from long distance by Ramires misses to the left of the goal.
67:54 Substitution Joshua McEachran is brought on as a substitute for Mikel.
67:43 Substitution Alexandr Kozlov replaces Meschini Alex.
67:35 Effort on goal by Nicolas Anelka from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.
66:33 Substitution Nikola Drincic replaces Alexander Shyeshukov.
65:44 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Salomon Kalou by Andrei Ivanov. Didier Drogba provided the assist for the goal.
65:44 GOAL - Branislav Ivanovic:Chelsea 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow Branislav Ivanovic grabs a headed goal from inside the box. Chelsea 3-0 Spartak Moscow.
65:10 Booking The referee shows Andrei Ivanov a yellow card.
64:11 Free kick awarded for a foul by Marek Suchy on Didier Drogba. Free kick taken by Paulo Ferreira.
61:29 Yevgeni Makeev challenges Didier Drogba unfairly and gives away a Penalty.
61:29 GOAL - Didier Drogba:Chelsea 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow Penalty scored by Didier Drogba. Chelsea 2-0 Spartak Moscow.
59:15 Paulo Ferreira sends in a cross, Nicolas Pareja makes a clearance.
58:52 Unfair challenge on Ramires by Meschini Alex results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Paulo Ferreira.
58:06 Didier Drogba concedes a free kick for a foul on Marek Suchy. Nicolas Pareja takes the direct free kick.
56:37 The ball is sent over by Aiden McGeady, clearance by Salomon Kalou.
55:14 Dmitri Kombarov challenges Nicolas Anelka unfairly and gives away a free kick. Petr Cech takes the direct free kick.
53:46 Foul by Dmitri Kombarov on Nicolas Anelka, free kick awarded. Mikel takes the free kick.
53:24 Nicolas Anelka delivers the ball.
50:38 Shot by Meschini Alex. Save made by Petr Cech. Corner taken by Meschini Alex, Petr Cech makes a save.
48:40 Salomon Kalou provided the assist for the goal.
48:40 GOAL - Nicolas Anelka:Chelsea 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow Nicolas Anelka scores a goal from inside the penalty box high into the middle of the goal. Chelsea 1-0 Spartak Moscow.
47:55 Meschini Alex sends in a cross, Alex manages to make a clearance.
46:01 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Salomon Kalou by Marek Suchy. Didier Drogba restarts play with the free kick.
45:01 The second half kicks off.
45:00+1:10 The referee blows for half time.
45:00+0:52 Mikel gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Barreto Ibson.
44:21 Free kick awarded for a foul by Nicolas Pareja on Nicolas Anelka. Direct free kick taken by Yury Zhirkov.
44:14 Yevgeni Makeev delivers the ball, clearance made by Branislav Ivanovic.
43:43 Unfair challenge on Dmitri Kombarov by Yury Zhirkov results in a free kick. Barreto Ibson takes the direct free kick.
43:10 Ashley Cole crosses the ball, Marek Suchy makes a clearance. Corner taken left-footed by Yury Zhirkov from the left by-line,
save made by Andrei Dikan.
42:32 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Yury Zhirkov by Dmitri Kombarov. Mikel takes the free kick.
42:32 Booking Dmitri Kombarov booked.
Correction - 40:59 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Yury Zhirkov from the right by-line to the near post, Alex takes a shot from inside
the six-yard box clearing the crossbar.
40:59 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Yury Zhirkov played to the near post, Close range effort by Alex goes over the bar.
40:22 Shot from just outside the box by Dmitri Kombarov goes over the bar.
38:52 Ramires fouled by Alexander Shyeshukov, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Branislav Ivanovic.
37:59 The ball is delivered by Didier Drogba, clearance by Andrei Ivanov.
37:03 Meschini Alex fouled by Mikel, the ref awards a free kick. Shot comes in from Meschini Alex from the free kick.
37:03 Booking The referee shows Mikel a yellow card.
36:37 Effort on goal by Dmitri Kombarov from 30 yards. Petr Cech makes a save.
36:12 Ramires concedes a free kick for a foul on Barreto Ibson. Free kick taken by Barreto Ibson.
36:06 The ball is swung over by Nicolas Anelka, Alexander Shyeshukov manages to make a clearance.
34:45 Free kick awarded for a foul by Nicolas Anelka on Meschini Alex. Free kick taken by Meschini Alex.
34:21 The ball is sent over by Aiden McGeady, Branislav Ivanovic makes a clearance.
33:41 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Meschini Alex from the left by-line to the near post, Salomon Kalou makes a clearance.
33:03 Shot from 25 yards by Meschini Alex. Save by Petr Cech.
32:50 Meschini Alex crosses the ball, Ashley Cole manages to make a clearance.
32:13 Yevgeni Makeev produces a cross, save by Petr Cech.
30:50 Corner taken by Yury Zhirkov played to the near post, Didier Drogba produces a header from inside the area that goes over
29:44 Meschini Alex delivers the ball, clearance by Branislav Ivanovic. The referee blows for offside. Alex restarts play with the
29:26 Andrei Ivanov delivers the ball.
27:56 Didier Drogba takes a shot. Save by Andrei Dikan.
26:35 Meschini Alex takes a outswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post.
26:05 Dmitri Kombarov crosses the ball, clearance made by Paulo Ferreira.
25:03 Foul by Salomon Kalou on Yevgeni Makeev, free kick awarded. Andrei Dikan restarts play with the free kick.
24:15 Inswinging corner taken by Didier Drogba from the left by-line played to the near post.
22:32 Nicolas Anelka produces a cross, save made by Andrei Dikan.
21:55 Didier Drogba crosses the ball, Andrei Dikan makes a save.
20:27 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Nicolas Anelka played to the near post, Dmitri Kombarov manages to make a clearance.
Nicolas Anelka delivers the ball.
18:42 Dmitri Kombarov gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ashley Cole. Mikel restarts play with the free kick.
17:50 Barreto Ibson crosses the ball, clearance by Ashley Cole.
15:36 Nicolas Pareja concedes a free kick for a foul on Nicolas Anelka. Yury Zhirkov delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed
from left wing. Branislav Ivanovic is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Andrei Dikan takes the indirect free kick.
14:23 Nicolas Anelka produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the net.
13:35 The referee blows for offside against Didier Drogba. Barreto Ibson takes the free kick.
11:48 Effort from outside the penalty area by Dmitri Kombarov goes wide left of the target.
10:06 Yury Zhirkov produces a cross, clearance made by Alexander Shyeshukov. Outswinging corner taken by Yury Zhirkov from the left
by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Yevgeni Makeev.
6:56 Aiden McGeady has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.
5:59 Dmitri Kombarov challenges Ashley Cole unfairly and gives away a free kick. Didier Drogba restarts play with the free kick.
5:09 Unfair challenge on Yury Zhirkov by Barreto Ibson results in a free kick. Mikel takes the direct free kick.
3:19 Nicolas Anelka fouled by Nicolas Pareja, the ref awards a free kick. Yury Zhirkov crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed
from left channel. Yury Zhirkov takes the inswinging corner, Nicolas Pareja makes a clearance.
2:15 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.
0:00 The match has kicked off.
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