Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea maintain perfect start

Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba got the goals in a 2-0 win which kept Chelsea on course in their bid to retain the Barclays Premier League title.

Chelsea also missed a penalty before the break through Frank Lampard but had more than enough to take all three points.

Malouda and Drogba, the latter from the penalty spot in the second half, earned the champions the spoils.

While it was not the goal rout of recent weeks, Chelsea were by far the classier side, giving warning of what was to come within five minutes when Michael Essien split the Stoke defence only for Ashley Cole to drag wide.

Stoke also had their chances early on, with Dean Whitehead bringing a sharp save from Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Lampard missed with a tame penalty after Ryan Shawcross had brought down Drogba.

Thomas Sorensen was also on hand to punch clear a savagely-struck free-kick from Drogba before John Terry set up the opener and Malouda smashed right-footed past Sorensen for his fourth of the season.

Sorensen was required again when he saved a point-blank header from Drogba following a floated cross from Nicolas Anelka.

To Stoke's credit, they did not capitulate and were lent some shape and determination by substitute Glenn Whelan. Indeed, he provided the effort of the second half, giving Chelsea something of a fright when he stepped forward and cracked a 25-yard shot against Cech's crossbar.

Drogba then sealed it when Sorensen hauled down Anelka in the area. Salomon Kalou almost made it three in the closing moments, while there was also a debut from the bench for new Blues signing Ramires.


From Belfast Telegraph