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THE
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Discussion Starter #1
April 27 away

Well, 2 games are left till the end of the season and unfortunately we won't reach to CL anymore. Tho, one big game still ahead and hopefully upgoming game will help us to prepare for it. The result should be better since I doubt we can play any worse than we played against ManU.
 

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THE
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14,123 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea

Chelsea warmed up for next Saturday's FA Cup final against Arsenal with a comfortable victory over Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

First-half goals from 18-year-old striker Carlton Cole - a late replacement for the injured Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - and Boudewijn Zenden proved enough against a lacklustre Boro side.

A third consecutive league defeat, and a seventh at home this season, ended any hopes of beating their previous best Premiership finish of ninth place.

The result saw them slip to 10th and they could have no complaints as their problems in front of goal continued.

Jonathan Greening and Noel Whelan wasted their best chances, while the Blues were unsurprisingly content to sit back in the second half a week before their Cardiff date.

The start was delayed by 10 minutes as stewards were forced to evacuate the West Stand after a fire alarm.

And Claudio Ranieri was forced into some late tinkering to his starting line-up after top scorer Hasselbaink strained a calf muscle in the warm-up.

The Dutchman's absence saw a first Premiership start for Cole, a prolific goalscorer for the Blues reserves and youth sides.

He partnered Gianfranco Zola up front, as Ranieri also left Eidur Gudjohnsen on the bench, and was a lively presence throughout.

Zenden, back in the starting line-up, found himself clean through early on with only Mark Schwarzer to beat, but the Boro keeper was out swiftly to block the Dutch winger.

Greening then enjoyed a similar opportunity at the other end, but could only find the side netting from Benito Carbone's sweet pass.

Middlesbrough were without the likes of Alen Boksic and Gareth Southgate, but were bolstered by the return of captain Paul Ince and Ugo Ehiogu after injury.

The home side twice had the ball in the net from Franck Queudrue and Colin Cooper in the first half, but both were ruled out - Dean Windass was clearly offside and Ehiogu was penalised for pushing.

And they fell behind in the 38th minute when Cole escaped Ehiogu's attentions to meet Emmanuel Petit's free-kick with a firm header for his first senior goal.

Greening should have equalised almost immediately when Windass chested the ball into his path, but slipped and totally miscued a great chance in front of goal.

Chelsea swiftly capitalised on the let-off to double their advantage three minutes before the interval.

Zenden broke clear from the halfway line before unleashing a drive from the edge of the box which deflected off Cooper and into the net.

Middlesbrough boss Steve McLaren made a triple substitution at half-time, bringing on Szilard Nemeth, Michel Debeve and 17-year-old Stewart Downing.

It almost yielded an instant reward as Ehiogu headed wide from Downing's corner, before Whelan sent a wild slice wide from 25 yards.

The lanky striker later wasted a glorious chance when he headed off target trying to pick his spot.

And Chelsea might have added to their tally as the impressive Cole turned and fired in a wicked shot, while Schwarzer saved from Lampard's long-range effort.



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Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Desailly, Terry, Gallas, Gronkjaer, Lampard, Petit, Zenden, Zola, Cole.
Subs: de Goey, Jokanovic, Stanic, Dalla Bona, Gudjohnsen.
 
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