Blues Work Hard For Victory (Sky Sports)
Chelsea 2 Portsmouth 0
Chelsea huffed and puffed and eventually blew down Portsmouth as the Premiership champions laboured to a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho's men were a long way shy of their best, but they kept pushing forward and second half goals from Frank Lampard and Arjen Robben secured another three points.
Time may be running out for Pompey to pull themselves away from the drop zone, but they forced Chelsea to dig deep and could climb out of trouble if only they could find a goalscorer.
Chelsea showed no signs of a UEFA Champions League hangover as they started brightly, with three defenders required to halt Michael Essien on the edge of the box and John Terry heading over at a corner.
The Blues failed to turn their early dominance into a goal and Ognjen Koroman and Matthew Taylor fired out warnings when letting fly from distance without success at the other end.
Weak defending is one of the reasons why Pompey are languishing in the drop zone and they gifted Shaun Wright-Phillips a shooting chance on 18 minutes, but Dean Kiely was the equal of the low drive.
Pompey survived a scare on 23 minutes, as Robben had two shots charged down and Lampard then scooped the rebound over.
Asier Del Horno kept his place despite his midweek dismissal, but his contribution lasted just 30 minutes before he was replaced by Damien Duff.
Duff made an immediate impact as he skipped away from his marker and teed-up Wright-Phillips, but the diminutive winger fired wastefully over from 12 yards.
Terry had a sighter earlier in the half and he hit the target on 35 minutes, but Kiely was perfectly placed to parry his headed effort to safety.
Kiely improved on his two earlier saves when stooping to his left to keep out a swerving free kick from Didier Drogba on 40 minutes.
Wright-Phillips looked like a player with a point to prove and his dash down the right cut Pompey to shreds, but neither Drogba nor Robben could get on the end of his teasing ball across the six-yard line.
Chelsea threatened at the start of the second half, with Robben playing in Drogba on the left of the box but the Ivorian's touch was heavy and the ball ran disappointingly out of play.
Pompey gave a glimpse of their quality when stringing together a dozen passes, but there was no end product as Pedro Mendes fired wildly over the bar.
Kiely pulled off a fine save to deny Wright-Phillips, but there would have been fierce protests from Pompey had the ball beaten the keeper as the former Manchester City man left Gary O'Neil in a heap following a late tackle on the edge of the box which went unpunished by referee Mike Riley.
Pompey were rarely seen as an attacking force, but Robert Huth and Lampard had to be alert to stop Tresor Lomana Lua Lua from bearing down on goal.
Chelsea were in need of inspiration and it was Lampard who provided it on 65 minutes, as he arrowed a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box after Eidur Gudjohnsen had created space for the England man with a superb step over.
Pompey produced a spirited response, with Richard Hughes just failing to make full connection with a superb cross from Wayne Routledge and Mendes curling a shot just over the bar from 25 yards.
Robben killed off Pompey with a neat finish 12 minutes from time, but the goal owed plenty to the vision of Gudjohnsen who set his team-mate free with a clever lofted pass.
Lampard wasted a gilt-edged chance to add a third in stoppage time, but he shot just wide from six yards and, in truth, it would have flattered The Blues.
Cech, Del Horno (Duff 31), Huth, Ferreira, Terry,
J. Cole (Gudjohnsen 60), Essien, Lampard, Wright-Phillips (Makelele 60), Drogba,
Subs Not Used Cudicini, Johnson
Goals Lampard 65, Robben 78
Kiely, OBrien, Primus, Taylor, Hughes (Davis
72), Koroman (Routledge 67), ONeil, Mendes, Karadas, LuaLua, Mwaruwari
Subs Not Used Ashdown, DAlessandro, Todorov