Birmingham City v ChelseaEPL Highlights Video, Match Report

Barclays Premier League: Birmingham City v Chelsea Highlights Video, Match Report, Goal Videos

Played at Venue: St Andrew's Date: Saturday, 26 December 2009
Premier League leaders Chelsea failed to score for the first time in 34 games as they were frustrated by Birmingham.

Birmingham City v Chelsea Match Report:

Table-toppers Chelsea produced another classy performance but the only ingredient missing was a winning goal as battling Birmingham bravely maintained their impressive unbeaten run.

It was not a particularly happy game for Chelsea as, in the 89th minute, Florent Malouda was sent off for a second yellow card.

Dogged determination by Birmingham enabled them to collect another valuable point to maintain their creditable league position.

Once again Birmingham competed well against a top-four club and, on this occasion, they were often indebted to a superb display from their on-loan goalkeeper, Joe Hart.

Birmingham may still be looking for their first win over Chelsea in 29 years but they can be delighted with the point from a hectic goalless draw.

The match was a dream come true for avid Chelsea fan, Roger Johnson. The Birmingham defender came up against his hero, Didier Drogba, and emerged with a great deal of credit as he prevented the best striker in the world from scoring.

Chelsea, unbeaten in their previous 15 games against City, had numerous chances but, on this occasion, weak finishing and the goalkeeping skill of Hart prevented them from winning.

In the circumstances Chelsea boss, Carlo Ancelotti, who does not believe he needs to add to his squad in the transfer window next month, was often a placid, emotionless figure on the touchline as his side struggled to take control.

The story could have been entirely different if Cameron Jerome had scored in the opening minute following a solo run. This miss only appeared to spur Chelsea into a ten-minute spell of attacking pressure as they laid siege on Birmingham's goal.

Birmingham weathered this storm but Chelsea's star team were well in control with Drogba showing his potential danger. He produced one powerful shot on the volley which flew just wide as he began to find his range.

Shortly afterwards Birmingham were indebted to their young England goalkeeper, Hart, who dived low to his left to palm away a Danny Sturridge effort.

There was a controversial moment in the 27th minute when Frank Lampard ran through into an offside position. He gathered the ball and, with only Hart to beat, lofted his shot over the bar as if he was playing at Twickenham.

Birmingham were seemingly out of luck with linesmen's decisions as Christian Benitez tapped home from only a yard out from Liam Ridgewell's pass only to be ruled offside, while Sturridge fired just wide just before the break.

There was an anxious moment for Chelsea on the hour. Malouda was booked for a foul on Benitez and, after saving Seb Larsson's free-kick, Petr Cech smashed himself against a post and had to receive treatment.

With the encouragement of the Birmingham fans, Hart continued to thwart the Chelsea attack. Substitute Salomon Kalou had a wonderful opportunity but he jinked the wrong way and Hart was able to block his eventual shot.

In an attempt to break the stalemate Ancelotti took off Lampard and sent on Joe Cole to give the midfield a different dimension.

It was all to no avail although Drogba very nearly took advantage of a bad back-pass from Birmingham skipper, Stephen Carr. His late challenge caught Hart who had to receive extensive treatment for a head injury.

Malouda then received his marching orders for a foul on Carr to sum up Chelsea's afternoon.

Birmingham City v Chelsea EPL Main Highlights Video

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish:

"Both teams had their chances - with a wee bit of luck on the day we may even have sneaked it.

"Chelsea are a great side, they get bodies forward and their goal threat was always there but the concentration of our players was fantastic.

"To go 10 games unbeaten is phenomenal. These guys have the winning attitude and their intensity is terrific."

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti:

"We played a good match, we had a lot of chances - there were some very good saves by their goalkeeper Joe Hart, who played very well.

"Normally when you have five, six, seven chances in a game, you score.

"I think we lost some confidence in our play and we are a little bit tired. But we are still top of the table and we have to think about the next game."

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