Tue, Aug 22, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Chelsea continue where they left off

CAPTAIN COURAGEOUS John Terry showed that he might be just the man England need at the helm as he scored the opening goal for a rampant Chelsea

AFP , LONDON

Chelsea captain John Terry, left, celebrates after scoring the first goal against Manchester City on Sunday.

PHOTO: EPA

John Terry capped a week to remember as he put two-time Premiership champions Chelsea on course for a 3-0 win against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Terry had marked his debut as England captain on Wednesday with a goal in his country's 4-0 win over Greece.

And the Blues skipper got Chelsea's title defense off to a flying start with an early opener before Frank Lampard added a second to put Jose Mourinho's side in complete control -- Didier Drogba rounded the scoring off in the 70th minute.

United

After watching Manchester United get their Premiership campaign off to a fine start against Fulham earlier in the day with a 5-1 thrashing, it was vital for Chelsea to follow suit as they try to win a third consecutive title.

Fellow contenders Liverpool and Arsenal had stumbled on Saturday, but Chelsea were quickly back into the old routine with the kind of ruthless performance that has enabled them to establish a vice-like grip on English soccer over the last two years.

Mourinho's options were restricted by injuries to Claude Makelele, Petr Cech, Joe Cole and Michael Ballack and he also left unsettled defender William Gallas out of the squad.

But Chelsea were hardly inconvenienced by those absences and dominated possession in the opening minutes, although they couldn't create a serious threat to the visitors.

However, when Ben Thatcher made a rash challenge on Paulo Ferreira to concede a needless 11th minute free-kick, the champions seized their opportunity.

Arjen Robben whipped in a precise delivery and Terry muscled his way ahead of Richard Dunne to glance a header into the far corner.

City had been unable to get a foot-hold in the game but, out of nothing, Italian striker Bernardo Corradi produced a defense-splitting pass to send Trevor Sinclair clear on goal.

Sinclair had time to steady himself but could only scuff his shot straight at Carlo Cudicini.

City were made to regret that miss in the 26th minute when Lampard took Michael Essien's pass, turned and fired in a low drive that took a wicked deflection off Dunne and flew past the wrong-footed Nicky Weaver.

Georgios Samaras should have reduced the deficit just before half-time when he sprinted onto Sinclair's lobbed pass, but the Greek striker missed his kick completely with the goal at his mercy.

As well as excelling as a midfield anchor-man, Essien proved he has plenty to offer going forward when his long-range drive forced a fine save from Weaver.

Shevchenko

Andriy Shevchenko was quiet on his Premiership debut, but the Ukraine striker showed a glimpse of why Mourinho paid a British record ?30 million to sign him from AC Milan when he twisted away from Distin and fired in a shot that cannoned off Dunne to safety.

A dispiriting day for City took a turn for the worse when Corradi, a pre-season signing from Valencia, was sent off in the 63rd minute after his late lunge on Essien earned a second yellow card in quick succession.

Chelsea rarely needed to extend themselves after the break but were still able to extend their lead in the 79th minute.

Robben picked out Wayne Bridge's overlapping run and the left-back produced an inviting cross which Drogba met with a diving header past Weaver.

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