Chelsea left it late to clinch a 3-1 victory over 10-man Norwich that was marred by a serious injury suffered by Didier Drogba at Stamford Bridge yesterday.
Andre Villas-Boas’s side were in danger of being held to a draw by newly-promoted Norwich when Grant Holt punished a mistake from Blues goal-keeper Hilario to cancel out Jose Bosingwa’s opener. Drogba was stretchered off soon after when he landed heavily following an aerial collision with Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy.
But Lampard ensured Chelsea won for the second time in three league games under Villas-Boas when he drove home a spot-kick with eight minutes remaining before Juan Mata marked his debut following his move from Valencia with a goal in the final moments.
Rovers pay the penalty
Blackburn missed two spot-kicks and then paid the penalty as Everton sneaked a 1-0 win at Ewood Park.
Rovers squandered a chance to take the lead early in the second half when Tim Howard saved Junior Hoilett’s penalty after Mauro Formica made the most of minimal contact from Ross Barkley to win the spot-kick. Formica missed from the spot himself – shooting against a post – after being fouled by Phil Jagielka in the final minutes.
Everton made the hosts pay for those misses when Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta stroke home a 90th-minute penalty controversially awarded by Lee Mason for a Chris Samba challenge on Marouane Fellaini.
Swansea held again
Swansea were held to a 0-0 home draw for the second successive week as Sunderland held firm in a dour struggle at the Liberty Stadium.
Brendan Rodgers’ newly-promoted team drew with Wigan seven days ago and found it equally hard to break down the Black Cats’ defence, with Scott Sinclair going closest with a shot that hit the bar.
Wigan maintained their unbeaten start as a fine double by Argentinian striker Franco Di Santo secured a 2-0 win over QPR. Di Santo – tripling his total of goals for the club to only three goals in 32 appearances since joining from Chelsea for £2 million last August – struck in each half to give Wigan their first win of the season after two draws.
Wolves remain undefeated after Mick McCarthy’s team ground out a 0-0 draw at local rivals Aston Villa.
McCarthy’s men won their opening two league matches against Blackburn and Fulham and showed plenty of grit to keep Villa at bay in a hard-fought but ultimately uninspiring midlands derby.
Drogba injury mars Chelsea win
Chelsea’s win over Norwich came at a cost as Drogba was stretchered off with what appeared to be a serious injury. The Ivory Coast forward fell heavily following an aerial collision with Norwich goal-keeper John Ruddy midway through the second half and needed lengthy treatment before he was taken for further examination.
Drogba was hurt in an aerial collision with Ruddy, which was compounded by the heavy fall that followed. The forward stayed down and was eventually stretchered off, seemingly unconscious, with an oxygen mask on his face.
He was replaced by Nicolas Anelka.
Wolves captain Roger Johnson
“I said to the boys that we would need to weather the storm and we did. We’ll take seven points so far. We know we’re a very good team and we’ll try and finish as high as possible.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.
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