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West Ham 0 Chelsea 1: Things are okay but they might get a bit Messi
Published : 27 Apr 2009 01:48:24Rss feed
John Terry described him as the best player of his generation, a winger with mercurial ability on the ball and the mesmerising skills that can slice open the meanest defences. Suffice to say he was not talking about Lionel Messi's warm-up act at Upton Park on Saturday, the isolated figure of Luis Boa Morte on West Ham's right wing. He never stood a chance of filling the flying Barcelona winger's boots, rarely getting a touch as Jose Bosingwa, who will replace the suspended Ashley Cole tomorrow evening, settled down for business with a solid performance at left back. Tirade of abuse: Frank Lampard runs the gauntlet of hate at Upton Park - again Suddenly it is down to Bosingwa, returning to the team following a hamstring injury, to keep Chelsea's Champions League ambitions alive. Scolari undecided on future as he denies agreeing to be new Angola coachWest Ham 0 Chelsea 1: Hammers pay penalty as Kalou strikes the winnerCHELSEA FC STORIES FROM ACROSS THE WEBWEST HAM UNITED FC STORIES FROM ACROSS THE WEB He has the task of taming the world's best winger, bar none. Good luck. Terry believes he can become a right-footed left back who has the pace to recover if he buys one of Messi's frequent dummies. The Chelsea captain said: 'Messi is the best player of our generation and I believe the best player for the past two or three years. Xavi Hernandez is world class, too. So is Samuel Eto'o, Andres Iniesta flipping hell you could keep going with them. 'Bosingwa is capable of playing well against Messi. He has come back from a hamstring injury, but the manager took him off against West Ham because he was a bit tired. He has pace and he will need it against probably the best player in the world.' Fortunately for Chelsea the fixture list saw to it they would have the perfect preparation as Frank Lampard, predictably, and West Ham's new terrace target, Terry, were showered with abuse during a thoroughly unpleasant 90 minutes. This time there was a sinister side, with supporters in the Bobby Moore Stand striking up at Lampard by repeatedly singing: 'You let your children down' a reference to thenow infamous interview conducted with LBC last Friday. Match winner: Salomon Kalou celebrates his winning goal against West Ham The pair had revenge, of sorts, when Lampard celebrated the assist for Salomon Kalou's 55th-minute winner by sitting in front of the stand and waiting for the arrival of his captain, before responding with some evidently choice words of their own. It ended with Lampard being given a police escort to the coach and politely declining the opportunity to speak (little wonder after his LBC experience), but Terry did all the talking. Many of West Ham's supporters are still buying into the misguided logic that the more venom they direct at Lampard, who left Upton Park eight years ago, the more likely they are to put him off his stride. Instead, it looked too easy for him, running rings around Kieron Dyer, starting his first game since August 2007, and the usually reliable Mark Noble in the centre ofmidfield whenever the mood took him, which was frequently. He usually scores against his former club, but this time he turned provider, hanging a left-footed cross towards the back post which was palmed into Kalou's path by West Ham keeper Robert Green. Surprisingly, it was Chelsea's first London derby win this season, something they put straight after Noble's 71st-minute penalty was saved by Petr Cech. It was a decent save to prevent Noble scoring an improbable equaliser at a time when Guus Hiddink's team were perhaps being distracted by tomorrow. At least Gianfranco Zola, who signed a new contract on Saturday, is making steady progress with this West Ham team, although they will never fulfil long-term ambitions to challenge for the top four with David Di Michele and Diego Tristan up front. They were kept quiet by Branislav Ivanovic, moved to the centre to accommodate Michael Mancienne at right back and outshining the England captain with a classy display. It's there: Salomon Kalou scores Chelsea's winner Chelsea will step up another gear or so in Spain, with Zola noting this Chelsea team is further advanced than the side he was in when they were beaten 5-1 in the Nou Camp nine years ago. 'It's not just about the quality, it's about the experience,' said Zola. 'We had good players, but not many had played Champions League. 'With this team it is a different story. Not many were giving them too much of a chance to beat Liverpool, but they made it and showed they have the desire. Don't be surprised if they produce an incredible game on Tuesday and even win. The core of the team is strong.' Staying strong is one thing, standing up to Messi will be another. WEST HAM (4-4-2): Green 6; Neill 6, Tomkins 6, Upson 5, Ilunga 6; Boa Morte 5 (Savio 72min 6), Dyer 6 (Sears 61 5), Noble 6, Stanislas 6; Di Michele 5 (Kovac 61 5), Tristan 5. Booked:Stanislas. CHELSEA (4-3-3): Cech 6; Mancienne 6 (Ballack 83), Ivanovic 7, Terry 7, Bosingwa 6 (A Cole 58 6); Belletti 6, Lampard 7, Obi 5; Kalou 5 (Essien 73 6), Anelka 5, Malouda 5.Man of the match: Branislav Ivanovic. Referee: Mike Dean.
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