Chelsea manager C.Ancelotti has hailed the performances o f D.Drogba and F.Lampard in last night's 5-0 destruction of Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Florent Malouda, like Drogba, bagged a brace in the victory, whilst Lampard put the seal on the game with the final goal in injury time. Whilst Ancleotti was pleased with the performance of his stars, he also wants them to maintain their standards as the Blues head into the last seven Premier League games still very much in the hunt for the title. "Lampard had a good performance, like the other players," the manager told his club's official website. "He was happy because he scored the last goal, and he worked for the team. "It is a very important season for Drogba, a fantastic striker, but I am looking at what he can do the next nine games [seven in the League and a possible two in the FA Cup]. I hope he hasn't finished scoring." Meanhwile, Ancelotti was able to confirm that the injury to Didier Drogba that saw him hobbling at the end of the game was "nothing special" and that Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou's being named on the bench was about keeping players fresh rather than anything tactical. Ricardo Carvalho did leave the game in the first half, though, and the seriousness of the problem was yet to be determined. The Italian explained: "Carvalho has turned his ankle, we don't know now if it is a big problem or not."
Chelsea fired their Premier League title charge back on track with a comfortable win over troubled Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Two goals each for D.Drogba and F.Malouda and a late goal by F.Lampard secured a vital victory for the Londoners that sees them leapfrog Arsenal into second place and within a point of leaders Man Utd
After dropping points against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, manager Carlo Ancelotti made no less than five changes to his starting line up, bringing in Petr Cech, Daniel Sturridge, Ricardo Carvalho, Deco and Yuri Zhirkov. Avram Grant, meanwhile, up against his former employers swapped Richard Hughes for Quincy Owusu-Abeyie with Steve Finnan also coming in at the expense of Nadir Belhadj. Yet the visitors began the game brightly with Didier Drogba twice going close in the opening 10 minutes but unable to test David James in the Portsmouth goal. However, against a battling home side Chelsea found it difficult to create many clear-cut openings in the early exchanges and their opening goal, when it did come, was unfortunately assisted by Pompey shot-stopper James. With a little over half an hour on the clock, the England international came to clear a Deco header on the edge of the box only for the ball to take a vicious bobble, which led James to miss the ball completely and allowed Drogba the simple task of slotting into an empty net. Within minutes of taking the lead the visitors could have had a second; Frank Lampard striding through on goal before firing a shot over the bar from inside the box. Ancelotti’s side were clearly on top but were then forced into a change with Alex replacing a hobbling Carvalho as Chelsea suffered yet another defensive injury. The Portuguese international was swiftly followed off the pitch but Ricardo Rocha, stretchered off in a head brace after a clash with Florent Malouda, that angered the Fratton Park faithful. Tempers rose once again just before the break after Sturridge caught Tommy Smith in the face with a stray elbow that required treatment but no caution for the young striker and led to jeers as the two teams left the pitch at half-time. Indeed it was little surprise when Smith failed to appear for the second half replaced by Owusu-Abeyie and within five minutes of the restart Chelsea had doubled their lead through Malouda. Lampard out wide on the left was the creator, lofting in a ball to the Frenchman who lashed the ball home past James at his near post to give the visitors some breathing space. Chelsea could have added a third moments later with James saving well from substitute Joe Cole but the veteran could do nothing on the hour mark when Malouda bagged his second of the evening. Again the provider was Lampard, the midfielder firing in a low shot which James could only parry into the Frenchman’s path and he fired the rebound high into the net for the Blues’ third of the night. A minute later and Chelsea almost scored again, a super effort from Lampard looked destined for the top corner until a diving James denied his international team-mate with an excellent save. With the home side struggling to offer any sort of attacking threat it was little surprise to see the Blues add to their tally with Drogba grabbing his second of the goal with 15 minutes remaining. The Ivorian latched onto a diagonal ball before shrugging off Steve Finnan and firing the ball past James at his near post. There was still time for Chelsea to add another goal with Lampard nodding home in injury time to add some gloss to the scoreline. Ultimately it was a comfortable victory for the visitors, who did not have to be at their best to claim the three points, but they will welcome the boost to their goal difference column ahead of Saturday’s visit from Aston Villa before they head to Old Trafford and Manchester United.
Chelsea have been handed a blow with regard to their push for the Premier League title, with defender Branislav Ivanovic expected to be sidelined for a month. The Serbia international sustained an injury during the recent 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, and reportedly underwent scans on Monday to determine the extent of the injury. According to a report on Sky Sports, the former Lokomotiv Moscow defender has damaged medial ligaments in his right knee, and will require a four-week recovery. This means that the full-back will be unavailable for the trip to Fratton Park to play Portsmouth, while manager Carlo Ancelotti will be short on defensive numbers for the important fixtures that follow. The Blues have two fixtures against Aston Villa - one in the FA Cup - that sandwich a potential title tilter against Manchester United coming up. Carlo Ancelotti is expected to call upon Paulo Ferreira to man the back-line, as Jose Bosingwa is on a long-term injury. Chelsea travel to play Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Wednesday.