Chelsea 4 Wolves 0: Kakuta sparkles as Blues turn heat on United

23 November 2009 10:56
So this is what all the fuss was about. Gael Kakuta raced from the bench to make his Chelsea debut, apparently in a hurry to prove why he has caused such a stir.

A drop of the teenager's shoulder and an explosion of pace took him clear of RichardStearman, a smart flick with the outside of his left boot threaded the ball to Florent Malouda in a crowded penalty box and a dipping shot flashed inches wide.

A teasing glimpse of Kakuta restored intrigue to a game which had long been over as a contest and prompted gushing praise from one team-mate who knows better than most how the 18-year-old has felt during his contractual ordeal.

Great impact: Kakuta's much-anticipated debut lived up to the hype

'In terms of skill, he is the best at the club,' said John Mikel Obi. 'When he's got the ball, the skills just come and you know he's doing it naturally.

He's a fantastic player. The only way to stop him is to kick him. That's what we do in training.'

Mikel also recognises a young man cut loose from his chains. Not only was it Kakuta's debut for the club, it was also his first game since a four-month ban, imposed by FIFA for his illegal transfer from Lens, was suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport pending an appeal.

'You can see how relieved he was, how free he was, running around the pitch,' added Mikel. 'You can see he's hungry. He wants to show the fans what he's got.'

Mikel knows a thing or two about this. The 21-year-old Nigerian was embroiled in his own complicated transfer when he left Lyn in Norway for England. Manchester United signed him at the age of 18, only for Chelsea to insist they already had a contractwith his agents, struck before he had left Africa.

The tangle took longer than a year to resolve and for some of that time Mikel wasunable to play for any of the clubs.

'When you are young, a lot of people are getting into your head,' said Mikel. 'It was too much pressure. I just had to shut everyone up and concentrate and see what happened in the end. It took time but when I started playing, it was such a relief. It's the same with Gael.

'I've spoken to him about it. He knew what had happened to me and I tried to tell him to calm down and continue working hard in training. Hopefully everything is going to be fine now.'

Blue murder: Essien heads home Chelsea's second

Chelsea were already four up when Kakuta was sent on. Malouda struck after just five minutes, driving into the heart of the Wolves defence after a poor clearance by Jody Craddock and smashing home a left-footer.

Michael Essien added two more: a header from a Malouda corner, then a fizzingshot through a congested area which flummoxed goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

It was 3-0 within 22 minutes and Wolves manager Mick McCarthy abandoned his three-man defence and reverted to a flat back four. His team, which had created chances, then looked more solid in defence even if Chelsea eased off, Joe Cole adding a fourth with a shot Hennessey should have stopped.

'It was about damage limitation,' said McCarthy, honestly. 'We weren't going to win 4-3. It was just about not getting beaten by seven.'

Back in the swing: Joe Cole notched his first goal for 13 months

Wolves have not won since September and Sunday's derby against Birmingham looks like a key game.

'We have to understand we're in a relegation dogfight,' said McCarthy. 'We can't hide from it and say 'Oh, we're doing OK, we'll be fine'. Then we get to half-way through the season and we're not doing fine. Let's put our chips on the table. We look like a team that can get relegated.'

Even without Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack, the Blues preserved their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League on a day when Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City dropped points and Carlo Ancelotti was able to blood some of his youngsters.

NEW STARS AT THE BRIDGEFABIO BORINI: Age: 18. Quick and mobile striker, who has scored four in five games for the reserves. Natural finishing ability caught the eye of Carlo Ancelotti. Joined Chelsea from Bologna in 2007 and made Italy U21 debut earlier this month.

NEMANJA MATIC: Age: 21. Elegant left-sided midfielder who impressed in the European U21 Championships. Broken foot delayed his impact at Chelsea after £1.5m transfer from Kosice, in Slovakia. Now a full Serbia international.

Nemanja Matic and Fabio Borini followed Kakuta on. 'They were not emotional and they showed their quality,' said Ancelotti.

'Young players have to improve without thinking of playing in the first team. These three players are ready to play in the Premier League with us. They are not ready to play a strong game but they are ready to play. They have possibilities to make a career with Chelsea. It depends on them, not me.'

Their progress will also be influenced by the verdict of CAS, expected next year. Kakuta will be forced to serve the rest of his four-month ban if FIFA's punishment is upheld.

For others, a transfer ban would force Ancelotti to supplement his squad with more players from the youth ranks.

CHELSEA (4-3-1-2): Cech 6; Belletti 6, Alex 6, Terry 6, A Cole 7; Essien 8, Mikel 7, Malouda 7 (Matic 69 min, 5); J Cole 7; Kalou 7 (Borini 78), Anelka 6 (Kakuta 59, 6).

WOLVES (3-5-2): Hennessey 4; Stearman 6, Craddock 5, Berra 5; Halford 4, Edwards 5, Castillo 5 (Kightly 53, 4), Henry 6, Surman 6; Jarvis 5, Ebanks-Blake 4 (Keogh 62, 5). Booked: Berra, Keogh.

Man of the match: Michael Essien.

Referee: Lee Mason.


Source: Daily_Mail

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