A moment's lapse on Saturday cost Chelsea three points at Fratton Park. More importantly, though, the Blues now sit even further behind in their battle for a third Premiership title in four seasons.
Jermain Defoe made a lively debut for Portsmouth, marking the occasion with a 64th-minute equalizer. The product of some good industry from Milan Baros, poor positioning from Tal Ben Haim and a lack of focus from Juliano Belletti, Defoe's strike leaves Chelsea six points adrift of league-leading Arsenal.
One can't help but say it was a deserved result. On style, both teams proved they did not merit a defeat. The game was blindingly open over the final 45 minutes, full of sleek, attractive moves, neat interior passing -- and poor finishing. Each side produced a host of scoring opportunities, though Pompey goalkeeper David James made a slew of stellar stops during the second half to keep his club in the match.
Nic Anelka scored his second league goal for Chelsea, finishing off a wildly superb counter that saw Florent Malouda -- again fairly poor -- picking out Joe Cole who cushioned the ball back across for Nico to volley past James. Defoe's response came nine minutes later.
To be fair, Defoe could've won it on a few occasions only to come up short. Chelsea, visibly ragged -- rightfully so following a run of nine games in 34 days (or 1 every 3) -- pushed vehemently for a winner that never arrived. Belletti, in particular, seemed to have a fantastic opportunity from point-blank range late.
The enigmas. SWP, after a string of quality performances, looked out of sorts today. It's as if you can almost bank on him missing whenever he's one-on-one with the keeper. Ashley Cole, back following his run in the tabloids, looked solid if you ask me. He did well to get forward, nearly scoring on a pair of occasions.
Claude the crux? As pointed out by one of the many fine contributers on CFCnet, during this current run it seems as if the side only goes as far as Makelele. Or, as Maks performs well, so does the team. He certainly wasn't at his best today, possibly underlining the fact. What do you think?
Letting a gem get away. With a performance unrivaled by anyone on the pitch, former Blue Lassana Diarra showed just why The Special One plucked him from French second division side Le Havre in 2005. The 22-year-old displayed the full box-to-box game, setting up attacks -- and thwarting them -- while exhibiting dynamic range rarely seen during his time in blue. It only leads me to the realization that he was largely constricted under Mourinho (we all know he was Makelele's padawan and remember his run at fullback). Portsmouth boss 'Arry Redknapp put it best following the match: "That little kid turned in a performance you would have to go a long way to see bettered in any league in the world. Absolutely superb."