Off to Derby for the late Saturday game with a chance to close the gap on Man U having lost 0-1 to Bolton earlier and Man City who scrapped a late 2-1 win. JT and Ash are back after injury but Drogba now joins Rickey C on the treatment table with a knee injury. Sheva, Kalou and SWP make up the attacking options whilst Carlo is still in goal. Jedi, Sidwell (in for a rested Essien) and Lamps in the middle.
Very sluggish start and nothing much happening until 17mins when a beautiful end to end move is finished off with Sidwell sliding in Kalou for one nil. Plenty of movement between SWP and Kalou and on 29mins SWP skins Griffin and snakes into the box but fires straight at the keeper.
The boos ring out anytime JT, Lamps, SWP or Ash touch the ball and frankly, even though we're all pi**'d by the England result earlier in the week, this is a bit pathetic - Derby are sitting deep, hoping to avoid a drubbing and that's just making their supporters even more restless. They're nearly punished on 38mins when a cross from SWP is headed straight back to Kalou by Derby's Claude Davis but Kalou skys it high over the bar from 10 yards out when it would have been easier to score. That's the end of a scrappy firts half and it really should all be over by now - let's hope this is not another Everton.
No changes for the mighty Blues in the second half but its Derby who start the brighter with a good chance for Fagan after just 5mins. Suddenly the Derby fans are singing rather than booing and Chelsea are rocking a little. On 64mins, JT gets caught napping and Kenny Miller loops the ball over Carlo but its (wrongly) ruled offise - we're extremely lucky to get away with that one and need to get a grip !! With 20mins to go it looks like the grip's gonna be coming from Essien, but Sheva goes down heavily (yes he is still playing - though you might not have noticed) so the change is delayed. In the intervening 5mins, Sheva chases back, wins a dodgy tackle and then releases Lamps who takes an age to get a shot away which hits the post only for SWP to slot in the rebound.... and now Essien comes on for Sidwell for the last 15mins.
Lamps comes off (for Pizarro on 89mins to predictable boos from the Derby fans only to be replaced with a loud chorus of "super frank" from the travelling Blues fans. But there's a final twist as Essien gets a straight red in the 92nd minute as he fended off Kenny Miller while attempting to shield the ball by the touchline. Its a sour end to an otherwise workmanlike away win.