Birmingham 0 Chelsea 0: Carlo needs creator Joe Cole to step up to the plate

28 December 2009 12:26
Time for Joe Cole to step up to the mark. [LNB]Top of the league they may be, but Chelsea needcreativity and goals. [LNB]After one victory in seven, there is no need for panic yet, but listen to the words of Carlo Ancelotti and you realise he is in need of inspiration. [LNB] His time: Joe Cole could play an important role in the coming weeks[LNB]'We have lost a little bit of confidencein our play,' he said. [LNB]'It's normal when you don't get results. We have had some injuries. We are a little bit tired. This can happen. [LNB]'We did very well against Arsenal. Now we are a little bit down. Withoutthe African players we have to show we can play without them. [LNB]'But there are a lot of matches and it is impossible to stay all the time in the top condition. But today I think we gave signs that are good for the future.' [LNB]Shorn of their influential African influence for a month after today's derby against Fulham, the Italian has also suffered a further blow with Florent Malouda's suspensionfollowing two bookable offences at St Andrew's. [LNB]It places an extra burden on Cole, who is certain to start at Stamford Bridge this afternoon. [LNB]The 3,500 away contingent were howling for his involvement after an hour on Saturday.[LNB]And while this might have been the first time in 33 matches since late April that Chelsea have not found the net, this blank was coming. [LNB] You're off: Florent Malouda sees red[LNB]Against Portsmouth, West Ham and Birmingham, Ancelotti's side has scored once in open play.Although he has been used sparingly,it appears Cole's time has come. [LNB]'It's not easy for Joe to do his best after nine months out,' said Chelsea's boss. [LNB]'He has to improve and stay focused. He hasn't got to lose the confidence in himself. [LNB]'He has quality and he's a fantastic player. I think he will show this in his next game.'[LNB]Ancelotti was relatively pleased with Daniel Sturridge, but it is asking too much for him to shoulderthe goalscoring burden alone. [LNB]There would not be so much of an issue today had Chelsea not encountered a keeper in Joe Hart and a team in Birmingham who defend their goal as if their professionallives depend upon it. [LNB]Hart gave his most assured performancein the home goal by a distance. One save from Frank Lampard had the England star shaking his head in disbelief.He was also involved in a crunchingcollision with Salomon Kalou.[LNB] Sudden impact: Keeper Joe Hart feels the full force of Salomon Kalou's boot and is laid out[LNB] It brought back memories of Petr Cech's injury at Reading as Hart was down for seven minutes. [LNB]'The doctor put two staples in my head when I wasn't looking,' said Hart.[LNB]'He told me he had to do it to stop the bleeding. If he'd have told me what he was doing, I wouldn't have let him so he just shot them in when I wasn't looking. [LNB]You can't wash it (blood in hair). I didn't know whether it was a staple gun he was behind me! He glued the one on my forehead.[LNB]'I got it (the ball) in plenty of time. It was unfortunate. I say 'unfortunate'but the bottom of his boot caught my head. No harm was done and the ball didn't go in so it didn't really matter. [LNB]'I spoke to Petr (Cech) afterwardsbecause he was down after he crashed into the upright trying to keep out Seb Larsson's free-kick. He was very grateful he was wearing his helmet. [LNB]Ouch: Hart's head is stapled back together[LNB]'He said it saved him because it caught him right on the side of his head. Each to their own but I don't need one at the moment.' [LNB]Chelsea enjoyed more chances than most who have turned up at St Andrew's this season. Lampard'sfirst-half effort was kept out by a superb reflex stop by Hart, who brilliantly denied Kalou with a one-handed save. [LNB]Alex also fired a thunderous 35-yard free kick against the bar.At the other end, Larsson's free-kick was kept out by Cech and Birmingham had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside when ChristianBenitez sidefooted home. [LNB]Ten matches unbeaten for McLeish's side leaves them just one short of a club record, set duringthe 1905-06 season. [LNB]'I'm runningout of superlatives for these guys,' said McLeish.[LNB] 'We keep askingthe question and they keep coming up with the answers.' [LNB]What Ancelotti wouldn't give to be able to utter the same sentence in a few weeks' time.[LNB]MATCH STATSBIRMINGHAM: (4-4-2) Hart 9; Carr 7, R Johnson 8, Dann 8, Ridgewell 7; Larsson 7 (D Johnson, 87min), Ferguson 7, Bowyer 7, McFadden 6 (Fahey 77); Jerome 7, Benitez 7.Booked: Bowyer.[LNB]CHELSEA: (4-4-2) Cech 7; Ivanovic 6, Alex 7, Terry 7, A Cole 6; Belletti 6, Mikel 6 (Ballack 84), Lampard 6 (J Cole 78), Malouda 5; Sturridge 5 (Kalou 67, 6), Drogba 6.[LNB]Sent off: Malouda. Booked: Ivanovic.[LNB]Man of the match: Joe Hart.[LNB]Referee: Peter Walton.[LNB] 

Source: Daily_Mail