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Premier League

  • 5 January 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, West Midlands
  • Referee: M. Halsey
  • • Attendance: 26432

Wolves 1-0 Chelsea: Bosingwa own goal leaves champions nine points adrift in title race in title race

Wolves 1-0 Chelsea: Bosingwa own goal leaves champions nine points adrift in title race in title race

Disastrous Blues lose again

Chelsea hit a new low in their awful Premier League run of form after a pitiful defeat at Wolves.

Jose Bosingwa's own goal handed bottom-of-the-table Wanderers an early lead, from which the champions failed to recover, with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey in imperious form.

Carlo Ancelotti welcomed back Branislav Ivanovic to the defence, where he was so badly missed in the disastrous 3-3 draw with Aston Villa at the weekend. Meanwhile, Mick McCarthy made three changes, including a surprise return strikers Steven Fletcher and Kevin Doyle, who had both been absent for lengthy spells.

And it was the visitors who started the brighter, with Didier Drogba laying the gauntlet down early for Christophe Berra and Richard Stearman, despite muted support from their travelling fans.

But the home side quickly had their illustrious opponents on the back foot. From a stunning Ronald Zubar strike from 40 yards, Petr Cech was put at full stretch to tip it wide, only for the dangerous corner to be whipped into the near post, where George Elokobi's flick skimmed off Bosingwa and into the back of the net.

Yet the pattern of play swiftly resumed, as Chelsea held the ball in their opponents' half, but Stephen Hunt looked lively on the counter, and nearly embarrassed John Terry by slipping a ball between the former England skipper's legs.

And the Chelsea captain's frustration was evident moments later as he carelessly lumped a ball from inside his own half straight out for a goal kick.

There was more to come from the visitors though as Ashley Cole used his electric pace to his advantage to get into space and deliver a cracking ball to the far post, but Elokobi was able to head it out for a corner as a blue shirt looked set to test Wayne Hennessey in goal.

But Wolves wouldn't turn over for their opponents, and Zubar went on a barnstorming run that split open the Chelsea backline before Cole made a terrific recovery tackle, but moments later and Saloman Kalou was given a glorious chance courtesy of compatriot Drogba, whose low ball across the face of goal was turned in from short range, only for Hennessey to make a superb instinct save with his right foot.

And the Welsh stopper showed his command of the box minutes later with an authoritive catch above Kalou from a Drogba free-kick.

The anger continued from the away side, who finally mustered a second scoring opportunity of the match just prior to the break with some slick play, only for Brazilian Ramires to slice his shot away from goal.

As the teams headed down the tunnel, Ancelotti must have had Chelsea's defeat at Birmingham - at the start of the rut in form - in his mind. That day, the champions travelled to the Midlands and were beaten 1-0, with a young goalkeeper dominating the show. And from the restart, no changes were made by either boss.

Chomping at the champs | Wolves win leaves Chelsea's title hopes hanging by a thread

And Hennessey was quick to get in the action again, denying Florent Malouda with an adept low save from a shot that would have crept in.

The Welsh youngster was on hand once more as Kalou latched onto a through ball, only to be blocked the 'keeper, and then collected a soft Drogba header with aplomb.

But his team-mates weren't fulfilling on their end of the bargain on the ball. Too often Doyle and Fletcher failed to find each other on the counter, while the solid midfield invited pressure by backing off.

Ancelotti made his first move - bringing on Anelka for the pitiful Kalou - with his side looking increasingly unlikely to score, typified as Drogba twisted and turned in the box before firing into the side netting.

Injury prompted McCarthy to make his first change as Fletcher, who had run tirelessly, was replaced by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. As did Doyle, who departed for Stephen Ward - matchwinner at Anfield last week.

After Hunt hit the bar with a whipping free-kick, Drogba burst into life and brushed aside Stearman in the box, but once again the Chelsea striker failed to hit the target, with his left-footed drive bobbling harmlessly wide.

That prompted the Chelsea boss to throw on another forward, as Daniel Sturridge replaced the terrible Ramires. But it was Wolves' sub Ebanks-Blake who made an immediate impact, bursting beyond the backline before being denied by a terrific recovery tackle from Michael Essien.

Gael Kakuta, Chelsea's bright young thing, replaced countryman Malouda in Ancelotti's last move to change the game, but the swap only served to open up more holes in an increasingly porous Chelsea midfield.

Yet Wolves suffered a blow as substitute Ebanks-Blake limped off injured, with Serbian midfielder Nenad Milijas coming on - leaving the home side with no out-and-out forward, but the men in black and gold held on, including a heroic swipe away from goal with the ball loose in the area.

And Hennessey once again stole the show with a stunning rush and tackle 30 yards from goal to deny Anelka, who had been released by a visibly tiring Drogba.

It was a fine block to sum up a fantastic display from the home side, and yet another result for Chelsea to crow about - but they could have little sympathy.

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