Blues Battle To Wolves Win  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

Florent MaloudaChelsea were made to work for a 2-0 victory over Wolves at Stamford Bridge, with the away side putting in a dogged performance to make it a tricky afternoon for the Premier League champions.

With many expecting Mick McCarthy's men to roll over and concede defeat with a whimper in West London, they looked a threat coming forward but were too often undone on the counter-attack.

Florent Malouda Description: opened the scoring in the 23rd minute after a lovely move that saw Yuri Zhirkov Description: pull the ball back from the by-line for the Frenchman to slot home, and one could be forgiven for expecting the floodgates to open.

However, Wolves stood tall in defence and even created some half-chances of their own, only to lack that cutting edge in the final third.

And substitute Salomon Kalou Description: grabbed a decisive second just nine minutes from time to secure the win for Chelsea, Description: who go five points clear.

Mick McCarthy's visiting side earned a corner as early as the second minute but Nenad Milijas' flag-kick was punched clear by Petr Cech.

Their bright start continued but another corner from Matthew Jarvis was headed straight at John Terry by Christophe Berra.

Chelsea struggled to find any kind of continuity in midfield and John Obi Mikel twice gave the ball away in dangerous positions. Fortunately for Chelsea, Ashley Cole managed to recover the situation before any damage could be done.


But Chelsea almost went in front in the 13th minute when Jose Bosingwa, playing his first game for over a year at home, burst into the penalty area but saw his angled drive tipped around the post by Hahnemann.

Wolves responded with a chance of their own in the 19th minute. Kevin Foley crossed from the right wing but a header from Dave Edwards was safely gathered by Cech.

Chelsea opened the scoring with a fine three-man counter-attack in the 23rd minute.

Nicolas Anelka fed Zhirkov inside the penalty area and the Russian's pull-back was sidefooted home by Malouda.

Chelsea should have increased their lead in the 27th minute when Jarvis gave the ball away to Zhirkov.

He quickly fed Didier Drogba who in turn passed the ball on to Anelka inside the penalty area but the Chelsea striker fired his effort into the sidenetting.

Wolves tried to get back into the game but two long-range efforts from Milijas were easily dealt with by Cech.

Richard Stearman then became the first man in referee Lee Probert's notebook when he showed him the yellow card for a crude challenge on Drogba.

Bosingwa was determined to crown his return to action with a goal and he was only inches away from achieving that feat with a 25-yard shot in the 38th minute.

Kevin Doyle was unlucky not to equalise in the 42nd minute when he got on the end of a cross from Foley but could not direct the ball beyond Cech.

Bosingwa was then put clear by Malouda and the Chelsea right-back was thwarted by the feet of Hahnemann.

Stephen Hunt was introduced for Wolves at half-time for his debut for the club.

Hunt, who was involved in the collision that left Cech with a fractured skull when he was with Reading, was roundly booed by the home fans.

Hunt almost equalised in the 48th minute but his low header was cleared off the line by Michael Essien.

Doyle then forced Cech into a fine save at the near post as Wolves continued to press forward.

In the 56th minute Anelka got clear of the Wolves midfield and cleverly laid the ball through to Drogba but the Ivory Coast striker sent his shot wide of the target.

Milijas continued to try his luck from range but another 20-yard effort went straight into the midriff of Cech.


Drogba squandered another gilt-edged chance in the 65th minute when Branislav Ivanovic sent him racing clear.

But he failed to take the ball around the onrushing Hahnemann and the chance was gone.

Doyle forced Cech into a save at his near post in the 71st minute when he met a corner from David Jones.

Chelsea replaced goalscorer Malouda with Kalou moments later as they looked for a second.

They duly made it 2-0 in the 80th minute when Kalou slotted past Hahnemann, opening up their substantial points lead over Manchester City who face Arsenal on Sunday.


Team Statistics

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Click Here For Official Team Sheet


Chelsea  Cech, Bosingwa (Ferreira 78), Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Mikel, Zhirkov (McEachran 82), Anelka, Drogba, Malouda (Kalou 72)
Subs Not Used  Turnbull, Bruma, Kakuta, Sturridge
Booked  Mikel
Goals  Malouda 23, Kalou 81

Wolverhampton Wanderers  Hahnemann, Foley, Stearman, Berra, Ward, Jarvis (Fletcher 87), Edwards, Milijas, Jones, Van Damme (Hunt 46), Doyle (Ebanks-Blake 86)
Subs Not Used
 Hennessey, Elokobi, Mouyokolo, Bent
Booked  Stearman, Berra

Attendance  41,752

Referee  L. Probert

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