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Chelsea 1 Man City 0: Blues jump into second as Robinho flops again

15 March 2009 11:38
What a result for Chelsea

. Not just the victory that leaves them four points behind Manchester United

, but their failure to sign Robinho last August is the save of the season.

It certainly looked that way when Roman Abramovich walked across the pitch at the final whistle, heading into the home dressing room to slap Guus Hiddink on the back after Chelsea's fourth successive victory in the Barclays Premier League.

There were no thumb-sucking celebrations at Stamford Bridge from the Brazilians, just a good old-fashioned strop from two of Manchester City's

potential match-winners.



Michael Essien celebrates his goal for Chelsea with Didier Drogba

Elano was at it first, feigning surprise when he was substituted inthe 65th minute and then heading straight down the tunnel towards thedressing room. A dressing down, more like.

He was followedshortly afterwards by Robinho, swapping shirts with Salomon Kalou onhis way down the steps and no doubt wishing he had held his nerve lastAugust to wait for Chelsea to improve their offer.

 Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0: How the action unfolded

Blues boss Hiddink playing on late United nerves

Is Chelsea boss Hiddink preparing to swap John Terry for Robinho?

CHELSEA FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET

MANCHESTER CITY FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET

'Don't makeanything of it,' pleaded City's manager Mark Hughes after they slippedpathetically to their ninth defeat of the season on the road.

Hardnot to when two of the Premier League's most talented players wanderedaimlessly across the pitch until Hughes plucked up the courage to haulthem off.

'You can't expect one player to carry a team. We haveother players who have to stand up and be counted. It wasn't Robbie'sday.'

Frank Lampard brushes aside the challenge of Pablo Zabaleta

Even when the sun is shining, as it was at StamfordBridge, their team-mates could not convince them to come out to play -they were shirking their responsibilities and hiding in the shade.

'The sun affected both teams,' claimed Hughes.

'It certainly didn't shine too kindly on us.'

Nokidding. Robinho's sole contribution to the game was to repeatedly tellMichael Ballack to '**** off' as Shaun Wright-Phillips scampered awaywith the ball after he failed to retreat the full 10 yards when theChelsea midfielder took a first-half free-kick.

This team had10th written all over them when Robinho scored on his debut in a 3-1defeat at Eastlands last September and yet apparently they are makinggreat strides.

Where are they this morning? Tenth. They areeight places and 26 points behind Chelsea, a team with a sniff - and itis no more than that at the moment - of a third Premier League title.

Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Phillips is challenged by Lampard

Chelseawere always comfortable. Not convincing by any means, but there is aresilient look about them. They seem ready for a battle in theremaining nine games and will believe they are back in the hunt, readyto overhaul Manchester United in the run-in if Sir Alex Ferguson's teamsomehow slip up.

This morning they will scan the fixture list again - Tottenham

, Newcastle

, Bolton

, Everton

, West Ham

, Fulham

, Arsenal

, Blackburn

and Sunderland

, believing they are capable of winning every one of those games.

Hiddinkeven changed his formation to accommodate Deco, who limped off with ahamstring injury after just 41 minutes of his first start since theylost 3-0 at Manchester United in January, and that bulldozer MichaelEssien.

They lined up 4-4-2, highly unusual for Chelsea, withEssien on the right until he unexpectedly popped up inside the area todivert Frank Lampard's 17th-minute freekick beyond Shay Given.

Essien'sgame was explosive, giving a barnstorming performance and remindingJohn Mikel Obi, easily Chelsea's weakest link, how to dictate matches.

Hisgoal, his second in less than a week after his equaliser againstJuventus last Tuesday, was supposed to be the catalyst to go on andscore two, three or four past their second-rate opponents.

John Terry wins a header with Robino only able to watch

 Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0: How the action unfolded

Blues boss Hiddink playing on late United nerves

Is Chelsea boss Hiddink preparing to swap John Terry for Robinho?

CHELSEA FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET

MANCHESTER CITY FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET



Insteadthey played within themselves, always ready to tap their foot on thegas if City threatened to turn this into a contest.

Another win: New Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink saw his side move back up to second place in the Premier League

They neverlooked likely to. Valeri Bojinov's effort, shortly after he came on asRobinho's replacement, was their only shot, an embarrassing footnote inthis embarrassingly one-sided game.

'Sometimes it is difficult when we play away because Robbie is obviously a threat and opponents know that,' added Hughes.

'Wecouldn't get him in the game, we're an attack-minded team but we didn'thave the sharpness we need when we come up against the top-classteams.'

Chelsea threatened to be top class, picking holes inCity's defence whenever the mood took them. Ballack read DidierDrogba's mind by running on to his delicious back-heel in the firsthalf but clipping his effort wide of the target.

Drogba and FrankLampard then took it in turns to shoot wide and Juliano Belletti, on asa substitute for Deco, rattled Given's post after the break.

Hiddinkhas overseen this impressive transformation, turning Chelsea into afootball force again and laying the foundations for the future.

His(allegedly) short stay in England will not cost anything like that £34mCity paid for Robinho, but at least Chelsea are on to a winner.

MATCH FACTS

CHELSEA (4-4-2): Cech 6; Bosingwa 6, Carvalho 7, Terry 7, A Cole 6; Essien 8, Lampard 6, Ballack 6, Deco 5 (Belletti 42min, 6); Anelka 6, Drogba 5 (Malouda 70, 6).

MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-1-1): Given 6; Richards 5, Dunne 7, Onuoha 6, Bridge 6; Wright-Phillips 6, Zabaleta 6, Elano 4 (Etuhu 65, 6), Ireland 6; Robinho 4 (Bojinov 81); Caicedo 5 (Evans 53, 5). Booked: Elano, Evans.

Man of the match: Michael Essien. Referee: Mike Riley.

 Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0: How the action unfolded

Blues boss Hiddink playing on late United nerves

Is Chelsea boss Hiddink preparing to swap John Terry for Robinho?

CHELSEA FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET

MANCHESTER CITY FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET





 

Source: Daily_Mail