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  • Date:2009-12-26
  • Kick-off:12:45
  • Venue:St Andrews Stadium
  • Attendance:28958
  • Referee:Walton, P

Live Commentary

90mins

Full time at St Andrews and Chelsea miss the chance to go 7 points clear while Birmingham's excellent recent run continues.

90mins

There are to be six minutes of time added on, yes SIX!

88mins

Florent Malouda receives his second yellow card for a late challenge and Chelsea will have to end the game with ten-men.

87mins

Damien Johnson makes his first appearance of the season, replacing Sebastian Larsson.

86mins

Hart is ok to carry on, complete with white bandage round his head.

85mins

Hart is still recieving treatment as Mikel comes off for Michael Ballack.

83mins

Brave goal-keeping by Joe Hart, Stephen Carr's back header is a touch short and with Kalou looming Hart does well to claim the ball, getting a cut on his head for his troubles.

79mins

Another sub for Chelsea as Joe Cole comes on for Frank Lampard.

79mins

Branislav Ivanovic is booked for a cyncial challenge on Liam Ridgewell.

77mins

Change for Birmingham as James McFadden makes way for Keith Fahey.

76mins

Malouda breaks into the box and shapes to shoot only to be tackled by his own player Didier Drogba!

71mins

Hart is at it again. Belletti fed Kalou who curled in a shot that was well tipped wide by Hart, then from the resulting corner the on-loan 'keeper did well to save from Lampard.

70mins

Bowyer is booked for late challenge during the last Chelsea attack.

70mins

That should have been a goal. Kalou again does well down the right and his chipped cross is met by Malouda 8 yards out but he completely slices the ball and it goes wide.

68mins

Kalou is in the action immediately, breaking free down the left and his deflected cross is met by Lampard whose effort goes well over.

67mins

Daniel Sturridge 's first Premier League start is over as Salomon Kalou comes on to replace him.

63mins

Cech recovered from his collision with the post to see Birmingham's corner cleared by Drogba.

62mins

Great save! Larsson's curling free kick looked to be going in but Petr Cech stretched across to tip the ball wide - colliding with the post in the process.

61mins

Malouda goes into the book.

58mins

Joe Cole is warming up on the touchline, he may have to be introduced if Chelsea are to break the deadlock in this one.

55mins

Ashley Cole's shot is well blocked and from the resutling corner Alex is completely unmarked but his header is cleared by Ridgewell - poor marking by Birmingham.

50mins

The game has continued at the same frantic pace, no chances so far though.

45mins

Were underway again at St Andrews.

45mins

The half-time whistle goes and somehow it is still goalless - more of the same in the second half please!

45mins

Another chance for Chelsea as Daniel Sturridge somehow puts the ball wide from 3 yards!

40mins

What an effort! Alex strikes a swerving free-kick from fully 30 yards that thumps off the crossbar - I think it's still shaking!

37mins

This game has come to life now! Jerome appears to be fouled by Belletii, however referee Peter Walton overrules the linesman's decision - much to the home fans frustration!

35mins

Birmingham are back in this game now as Ridgewell has a header just over the bar.

31mins

Chaos in the Chelsea box! Didier Drogba lies injured on the turf as Liam Ridgwell's shot is deflected in by Benitez. The linesman's flag denies him again, though replays show the injured Drogba playing Benitez onside!

28mins

Joe Hart does it again! Lampard fires in a volley only for Hart to tip over from point blank range, brillant stop from the England 'keeper, Lampard can't believe it.

26mins

Close call! Benitez finds himself clean through only for the offside flag to deny him - replays though suggest he might have been onside.

23mins

What a save! Florent Malouda and Ashley Cole combine to set up Daniel Sturridge, whose goal bound shot is tipped wide by Joe Hart. It looked in all the way.

21mins

The same match pattern continues - Chelsea dominating the ball but Birmingham closing them down at every opportunity and restricting them to long range efforts.

17mins

Frank Lampard makes space for himself but his 25 yard effort goes miles over.

15mins

Sebastian Larsson goes for goal but it whacks off the Chelsea wall and away.

14mins

Great play from Christian Benitez as his quick feet evades two Chelsea defenders before he is brought down for a free-kick to Birmingham 25 yards out.

11mins

Chance for Chelsea! Ivanovic meets Lampard's corner but his header flashes just over the bar.

8mins

It's all Chelsea so far, though they have only managed the one shot at goal for their efforts.

6mins

Branislav Ivanovic has an ambitous effort from 25 yards, but it goes well wide of Joe Hart's goal.

4mins

Chelsea have dominated the early possession despite the eager Birmingham players snapping at their heels.

1mins

Chance for Birmingham! Cameron Jerome latches onto a Sebastian Larsson pass, outpaces Alex, but can only shoot into the crowd.

0mins

Referee Peter Walton gets the first game of a busy Boxing Day programme underway at a sunny St Andrews.

0mins

Chelsea meanwhile make 4 changes with Alex, Belletti, Mikel and Sturridge in for Carvalho, Cole, Ballack and Kalou.

0mins

Birmingham remain unchanged for the 7th game in succession as they look to continue their impressive run of form against the league leaders.

Match Preview

Birmingham City welcome table-toppers Chelsea to St Andrew's on Boxing Day with both outfits eager to get back to winning ways.

Following a poor start to this season's Premier League campaign, Birmingham have startled many as they remain on a lengthy unbeaten run.

They have won six and drawn three of their last nine games and Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea should offer a stiff test if they are to take that spell to ten matches.

Alex McLeish watched his City side pick up a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon as their resolve continued to shine in unfavourable situations.

Seb Larsson equalised Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's opener as the second city outfit continue to rise up the table. They now sit in seventh place, one place ahead of Liverpool.

Chelsea only managed a 1-1 stalemate at West Ham United and they have looked a mere shadow of the side that had won five Premier League games on the spin without conceding through October and November.

They have now won just one of their last six fixtures in all competition and this record will be infuriating Ancelotti.

He will know a win at St Andrew's won't come easily with Birmingham in such fine form.

Frank Lampard has notched in the last two games and he seems to have put his shooting boots back on again.

Cameron Jerome has started to find the net for City after a slow start to the season and he will want to aid his burgeoning reputation with another explosive display against John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho at the heart of the visitors' backline.

Chelsea's Didier Drogba will play his last game before leaving to play for Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations in Angola.

Nicolas Anelka has been in exceptional form on all fronts this term, but he is missing with a calf strain.

Ancelotti may put his faith in the youth with Daniel Sturridge and Fabio Borini in line for a starting berth and they will want to help extend their four point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

The title challengers will still be without Michael Essien (hamstring) and Jose Bosingwa (knee).


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Match Report

Table-toppers Chelsea produced another classy performance but the only ingredient missing was a winning goal as battling Birmingham bravely maintained their impressive unbeaten run.

It was not a particularly happy game for Chelsea as, in the 89th minute, Florent Malouda was sent off for a second yellow card.

Dogged determination by Birmingham enabled them to collect another valuable point to maintain their creditable league position.

Once again Birmingham competed well against a top-four club and, on this occasion, they were often indebted to a superb display from their on-loan goalkeeper, Joe Hart.

Birmingham may still be looking for their first win over Chelsea in 29 years but they can be delighted with the point from a hectic goalless draw.

The match was a dream come true for avid Chelsea fan, Roger Johnson. The Birmingham defender came up against his hero, Didier Drogba, and emerged with a great deal of credit as he prevented the best striker in the world from scoring.

Chelsea, unbeaten in their previous 15 games against City, had numerous chances but, on this occasion, weak finishing and the goalkeeping skill of Hart prevented them from winning.

In the circumstances Chelsea boss, Carlo Ancelotti, who does not believe he needs to add to his squad in the transfer window next month, was often a placid, emotionless figure on the touchline as his side struggled to take control.

The story could have been entirely different if Cameron Jerome had scored in the opening minute following a solo run. This miss only appeared to spur Chelsea into a ten-minute spell of attacking pressure as they laid siege on Birmingham's goal.

Birmingham weathered this storm but Chelsea's star team were well in control with Drogba showing his potential danger. He produced one powerful shot on the volley which flew just wide as he began to find his range.

Shortly afterwards Birmingham were indebted to their young England goalkeeper, Hart, who dived low to his left to palm away a Danny Sturridge effort.

There was a controversial moment in the 27th minute when Frank Lampard ran through into an offside position. He gathered the ball and, with only Hart to beat, lofted his shot over the bar as if he was playing at Twickenham.

Birmingham were seemingly out of luck with linesmen's decisions as Christian Benitez tapped home from only a yard out from Liam Ridgewell's pass only to be ruled offside, while Sturridge fired just wide just before the break.

There was an anxious moment for Chelsea on the hour. Malouda was booked for a foul on Benitez and, after saving Seb Larsson's free-kick, Petr Cech smashed himself against a post and had to receive treatment.

With the encouragement of the Birmingham fans, Hart continued to thwart the Chelsea attack. Substitute Salomon Kalou had a wonderful opportunity but he jinked the wrong way and Hart was able to block his eventual shot.

In an attempt to break the stalemate Ancelotti took off Lampard and sent on Joe Cole to give the midfield a different dimension.

It was all to no avail although Drogba very nearly took advantage of a bad back-pass from Birmingham skipper, Stephen Carr. His late challenge caught Hart who had to receive extensive treatment for a head injury.

Malouda then received his marching orders for a foul on Carr to sum up Chelsea's afternoon.

Birmingham City

Chelsea

Corners

711

Fouls

617

Goal attempts

Shots off target

615

Offsides

43

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