Premiership: Chelsea 2 – 1 Portsmouth

Match reports

The Observer, Amy Lawrence: “Emerging from the considerable shadow cast by Didier Drogba’s excellence this season, Shevchenko eradicated some of the doubts over his condition by giving Chelsea the leg up they needed in a match where they must have wondered how they struggled to knock a hatful past David James.”

Sunday Telegraph, Roy Collins: “For Shevchenko, nine games without a goal was a drought worthy of attracting the attention of world aid organisations. But a man many pilloried as over-the-hill looked as though he did not have a care in the world as he swept home a cut-back from Arjen Robben before disappearing under the attentions of his team-mates.”

Independent on Sunday, Steve Tongue: “The visitors’ defensive triumvirate of David James, Sol Campbell and Linvoy Primus, all in exceptional form this season, must have expected to be kept particularly busy, and they were not disappointed. But for James, Portsmouth would have let in more goals in 90 minutes than the three conceded in eight previous League games. Lacking both regular full-backs, Dejan Stefanovic and Glen Johnson, Harry Redknapp had a seriously weak link on the right in Noe Pamarot. The former Tottenham man was embarrassingly outpaced throughout by Arjen Robben, which is hardly unusual but on this occasion cost his team heavily. The Dutchman tantalised him throughout the first half and then laid on both goals early in the second.”

Sunday Times, Joe Lovejoy: “Portsmouth played well, and deserved the goal that Benjani pulled back after 69 minutes, but they needed David James, in the sort of form that could see him restored to the England squad, to keep the score close. Without the 36-year-old goalkeeper’s heroics, Chelsea would have had a hatful.”

Official Chelsea FC Website, Paul Mason: “For Portsmouth, their misery at Stamford Bridge continues – 51 years since a win here.”

The good

  1. Didier Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko. Shevchenko answered his critics with a trademark goal, aided slightly by Sol Campbell’s outstretched leg. He could have had a hat-trick if it wasn’t for Portsmouth keeper David James, who kept the scoreline respectable. Drogba was his usual masterful self.
  2. Arjen Robben. Back to his best, helped in no small part by some inept Pompey defending, particularly by right-back Noe Pamarot. James made several good saves to prevent him from getting on the scoresheet. Played a key role in both goals. His final ball could still be better though.
  3. Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard. Dispelled the ridiculous notion that they can’t play in the same side. Lampard’s passing was excellent, and Ballack’s performance composed. The German scored his first goal for the club (just 20 seconds before nodding the ball home, he was near the halfway line apparently threatening to put one on a Pompey player) to top a good afternoon’s work.
  4. Michael Essien. Once again the powerhouse in midfield. He’s going to be one of the all-time greats.

The bad

  1. Poor goals-per-chance ratio. A factor in most games this season. On this occasion it was more to do with James’ goalkeeping prowess than wasteful finishing, but there’s no doubt Chelsea should have won this game by three or four goals. Pompey could easily have fluked a draw.
  2. Mark Clattenburg. Booking both Shevchenko and Ballack for celebrating their first goals at the Bridge with the fans smacked of pedantry at its worse. Yes, he was obeying the letter of the law – but that particular law is an ass. Fracturing a player’s skull is okay, hugging a few fans isn’t. Ridiculous.

Man of the Match

It’s got to be Andriy Shevchenko, despite Arjen Robben’s performance.

Related links