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Drogba double puts Chelsea second

LONDON, England — Didier Drogba scored twice as Chelsea came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 at Stamford Bridge and climb above their London rivals into second place in the Premier Division table.

Bacary Sagna had given Arsenal a 59th minute lead but Drogba struck twice in the space of 10 minutes to send Chelsea to within five points of leaders Manchester United, who beat 10-man Liverpool 3-0 earlier in the day.

Arsenal now lie six points adrift of United with Liverpool a further eight points behind.

The Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger conceded that his side’s title prospects were fading.

Of course it is a big setback when you add the four games we drew and then losing here, he said. I feel we have to come back to winning games before we dream of the title.

I believe we have the strength but at the moment we are six points behind United. We have first to win our next game before we speak about the title. We have to become stronger defensively first.

The players will be very disappointed because they gave everything but we go home with nothing. I feel Ferguson is the biggest winner today.

Chelsea played patiently in the early stages, allowing Arsenal plenty of possession.

The Gunners created few dangerous chances but Dutch striker Robin van Persie was well placed when he sliced a shot well off target and then he had a volley easily held by Carlo Cudicini.

Chelsea became more menacing, with Drogba often a threat, but he wasted a fine opportunity when he lost control of the ball when clean through.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Emmanuel Eboue had efforts scrambled away by Chelsea and Gallas hit the upright from five yards after sliding in at the back post.

Salomon Kalou miskicked when he looked likely to put the home team in front and Manuel Almunia did well to divert Joe Cole’s dangerous low cross.

Cudicini had an early chance to shine in the second period, superbly stopping Matthieu Flamini’s rasping volley.

Arsenal made the breakthrough when Sagna beat his marker at the near post to head in from a Cesc Fabregas corner.

But the Frenchman’s afternoon turned sour when he was forced off with an ankle injury.

Drogba equalized in the 73rd minute when the ball rebounded off Frank Lampard into his path on the edge of the penalty area. Drogba fired a low shot beyond Almunia and into the bottom corner.

Nine minutes later the powerful striker picked up Joe Cole’s free kick eight yards out and he managed to bring the ball under control before despatching a right-foot shot which Almunia got a hand to as it went into the net.

Drogba almost made it a hat-trick moments later but Almunia made an outstanding save near the post.

Chelsea manager Avram Grant was relieved to see Drogba to his best.

It is about time because since he is back from Africa, like the others, he was not in the shape he was before, Grant said.

That is reasonable because they played a lot of games in humid weather. But against Tottenham he was better and here he was very good.

Grant knows the title is still a long shot but he took pride in his side’s attacking football at a time when they need to win at all costs.

I don’t know if we will win the league but we will do our best to do it, he said.

We have won more than 80 percent of our games. Since we lost in the League Cup we scored 20 goals or more in all the competitions.

I promised we would play attacking football. We did that and scored goals. It is important because for me the way is more important than anything else. E-mail to a friend

Drogba double puts Chelsea second – found here.

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March 23, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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