Who Else Laid Chelsea?

Yesterday’s Premier League action got off to a flying start when Tottenham Hotspur turned around a 2-0 deficit at rivals Arsenal to pull off a spectacular 3-2 victory.

After a less than productive first half from Rafael van der Vaart, the Dutch ace setup two goals either side of scoring a penalty, which saw Tottenham end a 68 game streak without an away victory against a traditional big 4 side.

After a disappointing weekend last time out, everything went to plan from 3pm on Saturday. Having watched Chelsea last week in their surprise defeat to Sunderland, they gave me no reason to see why I should be backing them at Birmingham.

Birmingham City have a solid, organised defence, and while Chelsea tested Ben Foster’s goal on a number of occasions, the home side didn’t look like losing after Lee Bowyer had given them the lead with their only shot on target throughout the 90 minutes.  Chelsea came into this game with a number of injuries and problems in general.

Didier Drogba has still failed to register an away goal this season, while he, Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda have struggled to find the net at all recently. It’s two games, two defeats and zero goals for Chelsea since they got rid of Ray Wilkins. Yes, they have a number of injury problems, but this recent run of form says to be there may be other problems inside the club that we’re not hearing about.

Chelsea can and will get back to scoring and winning ways on Tuesday night when they host MSK Zilina in a dead rubber of a Champions League game. Whatever team Carlo Ancelotti puts out, they need a result and a performance to boost their confidence and put them in some kind of form before they travel to Newcastle next Sunday.

While Arsenal failed to capitalise on Chelsea’s defeat, Manchester United took advantage and are now joint-top with the defending champions following their 2-0 victory over 9-man Wigan. The result was hardly impressive given that Wigan played the last half hour with 9 men, following Antolin Alcaraz’s sending off for two yellow cards, and Hugo Rodallega’s straight red for a two-footed lunge. Prior to that, and at 0-0 Wigan created chances of their own. Patrice Evra and Javier Hernandez scored the goals that consolidated my tip and bet. Wayne Rooney made his first appearance since signing his big contract, but failed to make an impact.

My final tip for yesterday’s action was to lay West Brom at home to Stoke City. Tony Pulis’ side ended up with a comfortable 3-0 victory, scoring all goals in the second half as his side often do. It started with a controversial penalty, before Jon Walters added two more (one from the spot himself). Stoke have won all three Premier League meetings with West Brom, to nil.

A mention for Bolton Wanderers too, who at 11/10 I felt was just too short to tip and bet on for their home game with Newcastle. They ran out convincing 5-1 winners, moving up to 4th in the Premier League. Owen Coyle is showing the rest of the managers in the league that pretty football can get you results. Kevin Davies scored two penalties, while Johan Elmander scored his first goals at the Reebok this season. Fabricio Coloccini was sent off for elbowing the Swede, having had a shocker of a game at the back previously. Elmander backed up my claims that Newcastle cannot defend against sides that run at them in this one, albeit three of Bolton’s goals came from set pieces.

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