Chelsea return to top after 2-0 win over Arsenal

Goals from Didier Drogba earned Chelsea a 2-0 win over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, securing them a return to the top of the Premier League two points ahead of Manchester United.

By (Reuters)

Published: Mon 8 Feb 2010, 1:04 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:05 AM

Drogba, who has scored 12 goals in 12 appearances against Arsenal since joining Chelsea in 2004, was left unmarked at the far post and simply poked home captain John Terry’s header from a Florent Malouda corner in the eighth minute.

Drogba’s second came on the break after some sustained pressure from Arsenal, when England midfielder Frank Lampard burst out of his half in the 23rd minute, galloped 20 yards and laid the ball off to the Ivorian on the right of the Arsenal area. The big striker stepped inside Gael Clichy to ram the ball past a stranded Manuel Almunia.

The result, following a 3-1 defeat at home by Manchester United last weekend, leaves Arsenal nine points adrift of Chelsea and seven behind the champions.

Before the goal Chelsea keeper Petr Cech had had to make two saves in quick succession, diverting a ball at Samir Nasri’s feet behind for a corner and blocking a shot from Andrei Arshavin with his feet as Arsenal used the speed of Nasri, Theo Walcott and the tricky Russian to harass the Chelsea defence.

But Arsene Wenger’s team, so energetic in the build up, lacked the final flourish.

They failed to capitalise on a free kick just outside the area in the 69th minute after subsititute Nicklas Bendtner was brought down by Ricardo Carvalho, Cech pulling off a fine double save. Despite constant moves down the wings, they could not find a way through a defence stubbornly marshalled by Terry.

The Chelsea captain showed no sign of strain despite being stripped of the England captaincy on Friday following a week of lurid press headlines about alleged extra-marital affairs, including one with the former girlfriend of England team mate Wayne Bridge.

Neither Terry, nor Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti, mentioned the scandal in their programme notes and the club have avoided any comment. Ancelotti said on Friday he was not interested in Terry’s private life, only in his performance in training and on the pitch. His behaviour there had been ‘top’ Ancelotti said, and he would remain Chelsea skipper.

Almost every touch of the ball by Terry was greeted with boos from Arsenal fans and cheers from the Chelsea support. The 29-year-old flung his shirt into the Chelsea crowd after applauding them following the final whistle.

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger watched mostly stony-faced as his side’s title chances ebbed. His team have not won the league since 2004 and last captured silverware with the FA Cup in 2005.

Arsenal were the last side to beat Chelsea at home, in November 2008, under last-but-one Chelsea coach Luis Felipe Scolari.

Since then Chelsea, under temporary coach Guus Hiddink and then Ancelotti, have put together a 36-match undefeated home run, including 23 in the league.

Another former Chelsea coach, Jose Mourinho, whose Inter side face Chelsea in the Champions League later this month, watched the game from high in the stands.

In Sunday’s earlier Premier League game Birmingham City came from behind at home to beat West Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 with two goals from substitute Kevin Phillips.

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