Portsmouth 0-5 Chelsea: A better more balanced performance with 4-3-3!

Like alot of you have been in recent weeks, I have been asking for Carlo Ancelotti to revert back to the tried and trusted of old 4-3-3 fo...

Football - Portsmouth v Chelsea Barclays Premier League

Like alot of you have been in recent weeks, I have been asking for Carlo Ancelotti to revert back to the tried and trusted of old 4-3-3 formation playing with one striker through the middle and two wingers. Tonight he answered our prayers, adopted the 4-3-3 and it we played much better and scored five goals.

Credit to Portsmouth who made life difficult in the first half. Their five man midfield worked hard to ensure we had little time on the ball and for 30 minutes limited Chelsea to a long shot from Frank Lampard saved to his right and pushed wide for a corner by David James.

That all changed soon after. No matter what we think with our tinted blue glasses Chelsea fans, O'hara was fouled by Zhirkov in our own half. Free-kick wasn't given, we played on and a mix up between the Pompey defence and the ball is up in the air. Deco see's Didier on his bike and heads the ball through the middle. Didier chases down but won't get there before James, but the ball bounces on a divert on the pitch, James has an almighty swing, misses the ball and Drogba runs onto it and taps home from 8 yards in the empty net. 1-0 Chelsea.

Once the goal goes in we look comfortable. Before the close of the half, Malouda catches Rocha with an elbow as he jumps up for the ball, doesn't look intentional to me, Rocha badly hurt and has to go off. Danny Sturridge, starting wide right ahead of Joe Cole (someone else ahead of him in the pecking order it seems) has a mazy dribble and under a challenge from Tommy Smith, catches him in the face with his elbow and Smith is down holding his nose. Its broken, and he can't continue. The crowd are having a go at the ref but both do not seem intentional to me.

Ricardo Carvalho also has to leave the field after injuring his ankle in a challenge with Mokoena. Alex comes onto replace him.

Half Time 1-0 Chelsea.

Chelsea come out looking confident and we score early. Lampard plays in Malouda down the left wing and into the box, he takes a touch, composes himself and smacks the ball into the net from a tight angle, James no chance, 2-0 Chelsea.

Portsmouth seem to drop their heads and their spirit as soon as that goal goes in and the floodgates open. Pleasing for me was to see Sturridge being brought off for Joe Cole. So with just over 30 mins to go the front three I have been asking for are now playing together.

Soon after Malouda thumps a rebound into the net after a Lampard shot is saved down low to his right by James but he can do nothing about the follow up and Chelsea are flying. 3-0 Chelsea.

Its now all Chelsea and we add our fourth of the night as Mikel in the centre circle spots Drogba has a run on his marker. The ball is played to Drogba who chests it down into his path as he heads into the box, Finnan comes across to put him under pressure, Drogba stands up and holds of the challenge and fires the ball past James at his near post into the net and its 4-0 Chelsea!.

Zhirkov comes off for Patrick Van Aanholt to get a run at left back and he looks comfortable on the ball and in possession. He almost gifts Drogba his hat-trick as he slides a ball across goal and Didier slides in and puts it over the bar.

We finally get our fifth goal as the ball is fed out wide right to Joe Cole. He stands a cross up to the far post to Drogba who under pressure heads the ball back into the middle of the box and Frank Lampard heads home a free header from six yards. 5-0 Chelsea.

We are now a point behind United and have equal goal difference. We are in a better position than we were this morning and it was a much better and much more balanced performance. Frank Lampard got forward today more than I have seen him in recent weeks and had more shots on goal than in recent weeks. It was because of the formation. The freedom today that Frank had once more suited him down to the ground. He influenced the game so much more.

We are at our best with the three up front and Lampard making late runs to make it 4 up top and we were doing that time and time again today and it caused Portsmouth so many problems. Even with their 5-man midfield they couldn't cope.

Malouda & Drogba together up there down the left and through the middle link up perfect. Play off of each other really well and have to be mainstays in the side from now on. Sturridge was busy, but we had a better balance when Joe came on. The time Joe was on the pitch he looked busy, hungry and created a goal. He nearly scored when Lampard played him in on goal. Joe let the ball run across him slightly too much and he had forced himself too far wide.The resultant shot was easy for James to save at his near post.

One thing is to not get carried away. It was a start and a better performance but there is still work to be done. A sentiment echoed by Ancelotti after the game. He said:

"We'd lost some confidence in our play in the last few weeks, but we played well here. This performance will improve our confidence. We are involved in the Premier League and the FA Cup, so maybe eight or nine games until the end of the season, so we need to maintain this period and this spirit to play. We have to prepare for these remaining games like they are finals. It won't be easy, but it's important to stay involved in the Premier League."

So now we move onto Villa and look to take the improved performance and confidence into that game and hope to get another three points. Every game is a win from now on!

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ferreira, Carvalho (Alex 36), Terry (c), Zhirkov (van Aanholt 69); Mikel, Lampard; Sturridge (J Cole 54), Deco, Malouda; Drogba.

Unused subs Turnbull, Bruma, Kalou, Anelka.
Scorers Malouda (2), Drogba (2), Lampard
Booked Malouda, Mikel.

Portsmouth (4-3-2-1): James (c); Mullins, Rocha (Basinas 45), Hreidarsson, Finnan; Mokoena (Kanu 69), Wilson, Hughes; O'Hara, Smith (Owusu-Abeyie H-T); Piquionne.

Unused subs Ashdown, Vanden Borre, Brown, Webber.
Booked O'Hara, Hughes, James.


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