Chelsea 3-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Adrian Sherling reporting

How fitting it seems that the final match of the century celebrated so many other landmark hundreds. This was the 100th league meeting between the two sides, Dennis Wises goal marked the 100th under Gianluca Viallis management at Chelsea, and barely 100 Sheffield Wednesday supporters made it to Stamford Bridge on this bitterly cold December night.

It doesnt seem quite so fitting however that the final Premiership match of the century was won by a team not even around in 1900 and starting without a single Briton.

When you are in the position that the Owls find themselves in, you tend to look for any omen that may spell good fortune. Well, try this one on for size the last time that Wednesday won at Stamford Bridge, current manager Danny Wilson was on the scoresheet. Did I hear anyone whisper the words straws and grasping?

True to the form of Sheffield Wednesday, they dominated the first half-hour of this London encounter, yet after 35 minutes, found themselves two goals down.

Just within the opening ten minutes, the Owls pressed forward with vigour and passion and were unlucky not to score only the second goal for the away team at the Matthew Harding Stand End in 1999.

Didier Deschamps had to head clear as Ed De Goey fumbled in his own six-yard box, while the Dutch stopper made two identical low saves from powerful drives by Gilles De Bilde and Lee Briscoe.

There was also time for Andy Booth to head a lovely De Bilde cross woefully wide before Chelsea even started playing.

Indeed, with the stars of Europe, Africa and South America on show, it took an injury to Deschamps and the introduction of a true Brit to kick-start the Blues.

Dennis Wise, the personification of Bulldog spirit, opened the scoring with a simple, yet wonderfully worked goal. He timed his run to perfection, meeting Gustavo Poyets header back across goal for a simple tap-in, through the legs of goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek.

For someone who claims to have been suffering from flu all week, Wise seemed to have a surplus of energy.

Four minutes later and Chelsea had the points wrapped up. Poyet had runners unmarked on either side as he ran through the middle, choosing Tore Andre Flo on the left, who made no mistake with the finish.

As if to prove that Chelsea is full of born and bred Englishmen, another one took the field and found the net with one of his first touches. Again Poyet was the provider, as Srnicek could only parry the Uruguayans 84th minute header and the ball bounced in having hit Jody Morris on the chest, no more than a yard out.

For the Owls, the odds of survival look to have lengthened yet again. Considering just how bad a start they made just two points from their first nine games just how they expect to escape without the two best players they had at the time, Benito Carbone and todays opponent Emerson Thome.

The Wall kept his former team-mates out with consummate ease and, the Owls first-half period of pressure apart, kept the Wednesday forwards as quiet as a Marcel Marceau performance. The statistics say it all the Brazilian had to make just one tackle all match.

This was the Hillsborough sides tenth away defeat in eleven games, and considering their home form is little better, relegation may be just around the corner. As the predictions of Armageddon come from the soothsayers as we enter a new Millennium, the end does appear to be nigh for Wednesday.

Sky Sports' Man of the Match: Dennis Wise

Sky Sports Match Facts:

              C    SW
Goals         3     0
Attmepts     21     9
On target    11     4
Corners      10     7
Fouls        10     8
Offside      4      4
Bookings     1      2
Sent off     0      0
Possession   60     40

Chelsea: De Goey, Lambourde, Thome, Leboeuf, Babayaro, Petrescu, Deschamps (Wise 22), Di Matteo, Ambrosetti (Morris 81), Poyet, Flo (Zola 81).
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Terry.
Booked: Leboeuf.
Goals: Wise 31, Flo 34, Morris 83.

Sheff Wed: Srnicek, Nolan, Walker, Atherton, Hinchcliffe, Alexandersson, Jonk, Sonner (Haslam 61), Briscoe (Sibon 61), De Bilde, Booth (Cresswell 70).
Subs Not Used: McKeever, Pressman.
Booked: Booth, Alexandersson.

Att: 32,938
Ref: A D'Urso (Billericay).