Belfast Telegraph

Rampant Chelsea hammer Baggies

Didier Drogba's hat-trick sent double winners Chelsea straight to the top of the Barclays Premier League after thrashing new boys West Brom 6-0 at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season.

Florent Malouda set Chelsea on their way after only six minutes, with Drogba's free-kick making it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.

It was more one-way traffic after the restart as the Ivory Coast striker netted from close range with Frank Lampard then making it four. Drogba's deflected effort and a last-minute strike from Malouda sealed an emphatic win for the champions.

Chelsea got off to a flying start when they took the lead after only six minutes. Malouda was tripped by Pablo Ibanez on the edge of the West Brom box. Keeper Scott Carson spilled Drogba's free-kick straight to John Obi Mikel, whose follow-up effort was blocked. The ball then dropped straight to Malouda, who could not miss.

Czech striker Roman Bednar smashed a fine finish into the roof of the Chelsea net on 18 minutes, but the offside flag had already gone up for what looked a marginal decision.

After a drop in tempo, Chelsea slowly started to find their rhythm again. They made it 2-0 just before the break when Youssouf Mulumbu tripped Michael Essien and this time Drogba smashed his free-kick through the wall and into the bottom corner.

Chelsea moved 3-0 ahead in the second half when Drogba bundled in his second. John Terry flicked Malouda's inswinging corner goalwards and Mulumbu hacked it off the line, but the ball was not cleared and Drogba was alert to smash it in from close range.

Lampard walked in a fourth after 63 minutes after a clever exchange between Nicolas Anelka and Ashley Cole down the left.

Drogba completed his hat-trick with a 20-yard effort which cannoned off Gabriel Tamas and flew into the bottom corner.

Malouda rounded off a fine performance after converting Anelka`s pass to make it 6-0 and banish memories of last week`s Community Shield defeat to Manchester United.


From Belfast Telegraph