Chelsea 4-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers - Match report
Michael Essien claimed a brace with Florent Malouda and Joe Cole completing the rout as Chelsea maintained their place at the top of the Premier League table with a 4-0 rout of Wolves.
The visitors had an early chance through Jody Craddock on three minutes but that was just about it.
Wolves were made to pay dearly for the miss when, 30 seconds later, Malouda let fly with a searing left-foot blaster from 20 yards which arrowed into the top left-hand corner of Wayne Hennessey's goal.
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Malouda had capitalised on the wayward pass from Craddock and was left unchallenged as he raced towards goal and crashed home the opener.
On 12 minutes, Salomon Kalou forced Hennessey into a low save which went for a corner.
From the resultant kick from Malouda, Essien stole a march on the defenders and powerfully headed in from close range.
The points were sown up on 22 minutes when midfielder Essien rammed home another daisy-cutter from 20 yards which Hennessey let squirm under his body.
Wolves almost got a nose back in the game on 39 minutes but Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's downward header from six yards out was brilliantly saved by Petr Cech.
The Czech Republic goalkeeper scooped the ball away from goal with sublime athleticism when it looked certain the striker would score.
The second half started as the first with Chelsea on the front foot and Hennessey went some way to making up for a poor first 45 minutes by getting down low to halt Alex's volley on 52 minutes.
But the fourth goal was always coming and it duly did on 56 minutes.
A fine counter-attack saw Nicolas Anelka feed the ball to Kalou, who touched it into the path of an in-running Joe Cole and he slotted the ball home with a right footer from just inside the Wolves penalty area.
Gael Kakuta, the subject of Chelsea's transfer embargo imposed on them by FIFA, came off the bench for Anelka on 59 minutes.
Chelsea will be allowed to wheel and deal in January subject to their appeal being heard, probably in the spring.
The youngster almost scored with his first touch but his shot hit the side-netting.
Hennessey denied Essien his hat-trick on 63 minutes by tipping the Ghana midfielder's 30-yard rasper onto the crossbar and then the ball was cleared by Craddock.
Another Chelsea debutant, Nemanja Matic, entered the fray on 69 minutes replacing Malouda.
Fabio Borini replaced the ineffectual Kalou with 12 minutes remaining as the Blues cruised to victory.
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