CHELSEA 3 vs BIRMINGHAM 1
CHELSEA manager Carlo Ancelotti admits his side might just be back in with a chance of snatching the Premier League title from under the noses of Manchester United after surging into second place.
Two goals from Florent Malouda and a fine strike by Salomon Kalou despatched Birmingham and lifted the resurgent champions ahead of Arsenal and within six points of the leaders, who they still have to play.
“There are five games until the end of the season, our aim is to
win every game and after that we can see where we are in the table,” said Ancelotti. “In football I’ve learned that everything can happen in the game until the final whistle. You can win or lose in the last minute.
“We thought that one month ago we had a little chance to come back and fight for the title. Now, we are happy because we have reached second place and we will see what happens in the next five games.”
Chelsea went into the game with five wins and a draw from their last six league games and continued in that vein instantly, Malouda applying the final touch virtually on the goal-line to Didier Drogba’s header after just two minutes.
Fernando Torres, the £50m British record signing who is still without a goal for Chelsea, was left on the bench but Kalou provided ample stardust with a fine strike to put Ancelotti’s men two goals ahead.
With 25 minutes played, the Ivorian turned towards goal 30 yards out, drifted past three Birmingham challenges and thumped an in-swinging drive that flew past Ben Foster via his left-hand post.
The visitors, just five above the relegation zone, could only keep Chelsea and Malouda at bay until just after the hour, when substitute Ryan Bertrand swung in a left-wing cross and the France winger headed home emphatically.
There was still time for Sebastian Larsson to slam home a consolation penalty, awarded for a David Luiz trip on Matt Derbyshire, but only after the Swede had argued with team-mate Craig Gardner over who would take the spot-kick.