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Barclays Premier League

Stamford Bridge (ATT 41,501) 25th August 2007 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: A Wiley

Chelsea Chelsea vs Portsmouth Portsmouth

Chelsea hang on for win

Blues battle for home win

By Peter Fraser.   Last Updated: 25/08/07 6:20pm

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Lampard: Chelsea winner

Lampard: Chelsea winner

Chelsea stretched their unbeaten home record to 65 games, but they were forced to fight all the way in a 1-0 win over Portsmouth.

Once again it was Frank Lampard who made the difference as he collected his third goal in as many games in the 31st minute to settle a tight match.

The England midfielder raced onto a knock-down from Didier Drogba and drove a low shot past David James in the Pompey goal from 18 yards.

Pompey had enjoyed the better of the opportunities in a flat opening half hour, and it was only a fine Michael Essien challenge which denied them the lead when the Ghanaian international excellently blocked John Utaka.

In the second half Portsmouth continued to suggest they could conjure an equaliser as Chelsea were forced to hang on for much of the time.

Sean Davis should have done better when presented with a good opportunity following close skills from Nwankwo Kanu and then Pompey knew it was not to be their day as Hermann Hreidarsson saw a late goalbound header cleared off the line by Ashley Cole.

Strong start

Chelsea began in their customary attacking fashion and almost took a first-minute lead when Claudio Pizarro sent a low drive just beyond the reach of James and his right-hand upright.

In the 10th minute, the home side put together another fine move, with Pizarro and Florent Malouda combining on the left-flank.

However, Malouda's left-foot shot from an acute angle could only find the side-netting.

Two minutes later, a free-kick from Malouda almost paid dividends for the home side but Pizarro's header was just too high to trouble James.

Chelsea found themselves having to defend for the first time in the game and, in the 23rd minute, Pompey almost went ahead.

Matt Taylor found himself with time and space in the penalty area and his curling shot deflected inches wide of Petr Cech's far post.

Moments later, Lauren tried his luck from distance but his effort failed to trouble Cech.

Deadlock

But Chelsea broke the deadlock in the 31st minute thanks to

Lampard, although the goal owed much to the bravery of Didier Drogba, who collected a kick in the face for his efforts as he found Lampard with a flick-on.

Lampard ran clear of the Pompey defence to drive the ball under James. The England keeper should really have done better but, although he got a hand to the drive, he could not prevent it going in.

It was the signal for Chelsea to increase the pace and moments later Shaun Wright-Phillips skied an 18-yard effort high over the crossbar.

It was all Chelsea now and in the 42nd minute Wright-Phillips almost managed to get on the end of a cross from Drogba.

But the diminutive winger could not anticipate the flight of the ball adequately.

Moments later, Lampard almost made it two but James was equal to his quickly-taken free-kick and managed to save comfortably.

Chelsea began where they left off and a clever move involving Malouda and Drogba ended with Wright-Phillips shooting just wide of the target from the edge of the penalty area.

A minute later, Portsmouth should have equalised when Davis collected a neat pass from Kanu only to fire over the crossbar from eight yards.

The visitors squandered another opportunity in the 58th minute when a counter-attack caught Chelsea's defence napping but Gary O'Neil could not find the target from the edge of the penalty area when presented with a clear shot at goal.

Pompey push

Portsmouth continued to push for an equaliser but Cech gathered the ball safely when Sylvain Distin looked to prosper from Sully Muntari's long ball into the penalty area in the 67th minute.

Yet, Chelsea showed they were very much in charge when Malouda sent a 20-yard effort just inches wide two minutes later.

James was at his best to prevent Drogba from adding a second goal fives minutes from time when he took advantage of a fine pass from Malouda to deliver a stinging drive which the Pompey keeper did well to hold on to.

But Chelsea were lucky to escape three minutes from time when a header from Hreidarsson was blocked on the line by Ashley Cole.

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ChelseaTeam StatisticsPortsmouth
1Goals0
11st Half Goals0
7Shots on Target1
10Shots off Target13
2Blocked Shots9
4Corners6
15Fouls13
4Offsides4
0Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
84.1Passing Success76.6
18Tackles21
83.3Tackles Success90.5
63.9Possession36.1
45.9Territorial Advantage54.1

Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 35 80
2 Chelsea 35 75
3 Manchester City 33 71
4 Arsenal 35 70
5 Everton 35 69
6 Tottenham Hotspur 35 63
7 Manchester United 34 57
8 Southampton 35 49
9 Newcastle United 35 46
10 Stoke City 35 44
11 Crystal Palace 35 43
12 West Ham United 35 37
13 Swansea City 35 36
14 Hull City 34 36
15 Aston Villa 34 35
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 33
17 Norwich City 35 32
18 Cardiff City 35 30
19 Fulham 35 30
20 Sunderland 34 29

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