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Chelsea 4-1 MSK Zilina: Goal By Goal

Look! Over there! Someone worse at football than I am!
Look! Over there! Someone worse at football than I am!

Sorry about the delay!

1-0 Chelsea: Jon Obi Mikel gets in the way of a long ball into the Chelsea half. His touch is a little poor as he tries to lay the ball off to Michael Essien, who is under some pressure and forced to stretch out in order to flick a pass to Malouda fifteen yards away. Essien then sets off on a dead sprint upfield as the ball finds its way to Yossi Benayoun. The Israeli midfielder shrugs off a Zilina player, skips away from another tackle, and plays an incisive forty yard pass onto Nicolas Anelka's cross-field run. The striker drags a Zilina defender to the side of the area, takes a touch, and then rolls the ball to Florent Malouda, who is occupying the space Anelka's movement has opened up. Malouda might have fancied a shot, but the pass was a little behind him, so he re-directs the ball into Essien's path with a neat backheel. Essien meets the ball virtually on the penalty spot, and slots home with a first time right footed finish, sending the keeper the wrong way. As you can (possibly) see from the movement charts below, Daniel Sturridge's run to the right opens up the space for Essien - it also helps that his marker gave up on chasing him halfway towards the area. Out of all the Zilina defenders, only the left back realised what was going on (far too late).

Figure 1: Benayoun's through ball to Anelka helps set up Chelsea's first goal.

2-0 Chelsea: John Terry picks up a pass on the left, roughly at the halfway line. Benayoun and Yuri Zhirkov are overloading Zilina's left flank, so Terry is guaranteed to have a free pass. He opts for Zhirkov, who immediately pushes infield and offers the ball to Malouda. Anelka is off like a shot, and Malouda takes one touch before chipping the ball over the defence and into his countryman's path. The goalkeeper comes out halfway and Anelka rolls the ball underneath him and towards the far post. It's a shot that probably should be saved - not that Chelsea will complain.

3-0 Chelsea: Yossi Benayoun feeds Daniel Sturridge on the right. The England U-21 international cuts inside to set up a shot with his left foot, hitting the ball with venom towards the near post. The shot is saved, but spilled behind for a corner. Malouda delivers the corner perfectly, taking it left footed and dropping the ball straight onto John Terry's head. The captain's effort is a little off-target, rattling the crossbar after beating the keeper, but the ball drops straight down and Anelka is on hand to clean up, beating Alex to the loose ball and stabbing in.

4-0 Chelsea: Mikel wins the ball cleanly very deep in Chelsea's half. With two Zilina players tight on him, his only outlet is to Florent Malouda, who is anticipating a run from Benayoun and flicks the ball back into space, taking two more Zilina men out of the equation. Benayoun has time to pick out a pass and spots Sturridge's diagonal run. The two Zilina centrebacks were occupied with Anelka and the right-back was nowhere to be found, so Sturridge found the centre quite spectacularly open. He picks the ball up at the top of the 'D', and his first touch take him too wide. However, the goalkeeper stumbles and Sturridge is able to take advantage of the slip to send the ball home from fifteen yards. It's interesting how easily Zilina's defence was distorted here - Malouda and Anelka were playing so deep there was nothing like a coherent line. The right back was in Chelsea's half but unwilling to pursue Malouda, leaving him unmarked, and one of the centrebacks was hanging around near Anelka, leaving the left back and right centre half to form what was essentially a two-man defence.

Figure 2: Sturridge is set free on goal by Benayoun's pass.

4-1 Chelsea: Zilina, operating down Chelsea's left, have possession shortly after a throw-in and send a harmless looking cross in towards Petr Cech. He misreads the ball, which ultimately skids off his fingers, hits Branislav Ivanovic in the side of the head, and rolls towards the goal. There are no Chelsea players able to clear as Tomas Oravec jumps into the fray and slides the ball home from less than two centimetres. Not the most difficult finish, but one the Slovakians will cheer nonetheless.

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