Chelsea frustrated by West Ham (Roundup)

December 15th, 2008 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

ChelseaLondon, Dec 15 (DPA) Chelsea missed the chance to go top of the Premier League, as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by West Ham United.Craig Bellamy put West Ham ahead in the first half and although Nicolas Anelka levelled just after the break Chelsea were unable to find a winner Sunday.

For manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, who had spent the previous night in hospital with a kidney stone problem, the draw was a huge disappointment.

Chelsea have dropped 14 points in nine home games, and remain second in the table, a point behind Liverpool after a weekend in which all the Big Four drew.

West Ham, who would have dropped into the relegation zone with a two-goal defeat, climb a place to 16th, above Manchester City.

For their manager, Gianfranco Zola, a former Chelsea hero, this was a notable tactical success.

It was a familiar story for Chelsea, as they controlled possession without really threatening when they fell behind after 32 minutes.

They protested that Mark Noble had handled in nudging the ball past Jose Bosingwa, but replays suggested the midfielder had used his upper chest.

Noble’s subsequent cross was half-blocked, but fell kindly to Craig Bellamy, who took the ball down on his chest and fired low past Petr Cech.

The arrival of Drogba at half-time, though, changed the pattern, giving Chelsea extra edge, and they levelled six minutes after the break.

Drogba won the knock-down, and when Frank Lampard helped the ball into the area, Anelka tucked in his 14th league goal of the season.

Chelsea proceeded to dominate, and it took a combination of Scott Parker and the crossbar to keep the ball out after Rob Green had flapped at a corner.

Moments later Green made a splendid save to deny Alex, but West Ham never found themselves besieged, and it took an excellent save from Cech to keep out Carlton Cole’s injury-time effort.

In the day’s other game, Newcastle United climbed out of the relegation zone as goals from Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins and Danny Guthrie gave them a 3-0 win over Portsmouth.

The victory, Newcastle’s first away from home since March, brought to an end a run of four successive draws and means they have now won three of 11 league games since Joe Kinnear replaced Kevin Keegan as manager.

It was Portsmouth’s first defeat in six games, but they remain eighth.

Martins had hit the post in the first half, but it was six minutes into the second that Newcastle took the lead.

Arnold Mvuemba lost possession playing a needless cross-field ball, Jonas Gutierrez slid through a delightful angled ball and Owen made up for a poor first touch by scooping the ball over David James for his seventh of the season.

Martins made the game safe 25 minutes later, converting Jose Enrique’s cross as James committed himself far too early.

James was at fault again for Newcastle’s third, allowing Guthrie’s drive to slip through his hands with two minutes remaining.

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