Brilliant Blues go five clear
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: 27/11/04 4:50pm
Chelsea moved five points clear at the top of the table with a 4-0 destruction of Charlton at The Valley.
Jose Mourinho's men were in imperious form as they picked up their fifth consecutive away win and sent an ominous title warning to their rivals.
After an early scare when Petr Cech was forced to save at the feet of Jerome Thomas, Chelsea broke the deadlock on four minutes with a superb goal from Damien Duff.
Eidur Gudjohnsen was the creator of the goal with an inch-perfect pass through to Duff who easily outpaced Paul Konchesky before beating Dean Kiely with a cool finish from an acute angle.
Shaun Bartlett had a half chance for the hosts on ten minutes when he rose highest to meet Danny Murphy's cross, but he could only send his header over the top.
Chelsea should have doubled their lead after 22 minutes when the unmarked Ricardo Carvalho got on the end of Arjen Robben's corner six yards out, but the Portuguese ace powered his header over the crossbar.
Charlton were almost gifted a way back into the game on 37 minutes when Carvalho, in trying to clear a long ball into the box, sent his header against the post and was relieved to see William Gallas on hand to clear the ball for a corner.
From the resulting corner Gallas was the right man in the right place to block Jonatan Johansson's downward header four yards out.
Robben created a chance for himself two minutes later when he picked up the ball on the edge of the area and teed the ball up on his favourite left foot before firing a swerving volley which Kiely did well to keep out.
Charlton were looking to trouble Chelsea in the air and Bartlett again sent a header from Murphy's free kick over the crossbar two minutes before the break.
Chelsea picked up where they left off in the second half and had claims for a penalty rejected when Tiago appeared to be pulled back in the box, but referee Mark Clattenburg only awarded Chelsea a corner.
The failure to award a penalty did not trouble Chelsea as John Terry ran in unmarked to head home Duff's resulting corner with a powerful downward effort.
Frank Lampard then forced Kiely into a good save on 49 minutes with fierce left-footed strike from the edge of the area after Charlton failed to clear a Chelsea corner properly.
Chelsea put the game beyond Charlton a minute later when Carvalho headed Duff's corner across the face of goal for Terry to tap home at the back post although Gallas tried to claim the goal by knocking the ball over the line.
Mourinho's men were running riot and it was no surprise when they grabbed a fourth on 59 minutes with Gudjohnsen netting his eighth goal of the season.
Lampard swapped passes with Robben before sending Gudjohnsen clear on goal with a delicious through ball and the Icelandic international lifted the ball over the advancing Kiely.
Charlton looked stunned by Chelsea's onslaught and never offered anything in response as the visitors continued to pepper the home side's goal.
The home side missed a great chance to reduce the arrears on 69 minutes when substitute Dennis Rommedahl lofted the ball into the box for fellow substitute Hermann Hreidarsson only for the defender to head wide of goal.
Charlton were seeking to gain some pride and Talal El Karkouri fired a powerful shot from 30 yards just over the crossbar before substitute Jason Euell wasted their best chance of the game when he got through on goal, but he could only drive his shot straight at Cech.
Kiely denied Lampard the goal his performance deserved two minutes from time as the midfielder made space for himself inside the box before firing in a shot which the keeper pushed out.
|Charlton Athletic||Team Name||Chelsea|
|1||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||8|
|4||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||4|
|13||Total Fouls Conceded||12|
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||17||31|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||17||17|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||17||17|