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Awesome Ben Foster Denies Chelsea Redemption as Birmingham Wins, 1-0

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Awesome Ben Foster Denies Chelsea Redemption as Birmingham Wins, 1-0
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

A brilliant all-round display from goalkeeper Ben Foster earned Birmingham a shocking win over defending champions Chelsea. The 1-0 loss made it back-to-back defeats for the Blues' first after 2006 season. 

Chelsea gave an impressive performance and completely controlled the game for 90 minutes, but they could not find a way past the Red Devils' former goalkeeper. 

Birmingham went ahead in the 17th minute when Lee Bowyer held onto a header from Cameron Jerome and shot it home from eight yards, scoring the only solitary goal of the match and handing Chelsea their first defeat at Birmingham after 60 years.

The loss means Chelsea are now top of the league with Manchester United, whom they lead only on goal difference.

The player ratings are as follows:

 

BIRMINGHAM

 

Ben Foster: 9 - Undoubtedly a man-of-the-match performance. Birmingham will be thankful for his exploits that earned them a shocking victory. He made a number of spectacular saves to deny the Blues.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Roger Johnson: 7 - Struggled a bit to control Drogba and was erratic at times, allowing Anelka and Malouda to make run-ins quite easily. But he recovered in the second half and made a brilliant tackle to deny Ramires a clear goal-scoring chance.

Stephen Carr: 5 - Did not do much and was unable to control Anelka and Malouda. But overall, good work.

Sebastian Larsson: 7 - A very compact performance, though sometimes his let-ups allowed Cole and Malouda to utilise the left flank. Made a superb cross that resulted in the opener as well as the winning match.

Liam Ridgewell: 6 - Was unable to stop the fiery Drogba and was spared the horrors as his goalie made a brilliant save after he failed to stop the Ivorian hitman. He made a good tackle to deny Sturridge a chance though in the last moments of the match.

Lee Bowyer: 8 - He scored his first goal in 12 months on a superb finish. He kept his cool as he latched onto Jerome's header and sent the ball smashing into the net, earning his team a shocking victory that pulled them up from the bottom.

Keith Fahey: 7.5 - Did a brilliant job in tackling Ferreira's forward runs and also provided cover to Ridgewell throughout the game.

Barry Ferguson: 7 - Did a good job in midfield as he commanded attacks and movement during the first half, but was equally poor in the second half in providing Chelsea's midfielders more breathing space.

Nicola Zigic: 5.5 - The Serb never looked at ease and was wandering in the field. He was subbed by Hleb after a not-so-good day on the field.

Cameron Jerome: 7.5 - Produced a good all-around display and was instrumental in setting up his team's solitary winning goal with a brilliantly measured header. Had nothing to do in the second half as Chelsea dominated completely and his team struggled for possession.

Substitutes

Aleksandr Hleb: 6.5 - Replaced the off-colour Zigic and played neatly.

 

 

CHELSEA

 

Petr Cech: 6 - The Czech could do little to prevent the opener. He had nothing much to do otherwise as his side enjoyed possession all through the game.

Ashley Cole: 6.5 - Constantly overlapped and provided support to attack. 

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Branislav Ivanovic: 6.5 - He could not prevent Jerome from the opener, but otherwise impressed with a solid performance at the back. He also attacked at times and just missed a header.

Paulo Ferreira: 5.5 - Started at right back after last weekend's harrowing experience in the centre, but failed to impress there too. The Portuguese looked lackluster and was well-blocked by Keith Fahey. He was quite understandably replaced by Bosingwa.

Alex: 5.5 - Did not seem too fit and was playing through pain. Missed several chances, the worst being a wide header soon after Bowyer's opening goal.

John Obi Mikel: 6 - Looked on helplessly as Bowyer raced to score the opener, but overall delivered a solid performance and held the midfield tight.

Florent Malouda: 7.5 - Presently one of the top midfielders in the world based on his form. Malouda was the main player who formulated all the attacking moves for his team and kept the opposition's defenders on their feet all through the game.

Ramires: 5 - Had a very poor outing as he wasted numerous chances. He lost his composure in front of the goal as he blew away two sure-shot chances.

Nicolas Anelka: 6 - Was quite impressive in fooling Birmingham defenders but failed to make any inroads and take a clear-cut chance.

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Salomon Kalou: 6.5 - Drogba's fellow countryman looked quite lively and made some nice moves inside the box but failed to take his chances. Was to blame for missing a nice chance after Drogba had chested down the ball to his path, only for Kalou to shoot it wide.

Didier Drogba: 7.5 - The Ivorian hitman was in his usual form again and was unlucky to have his chances denied. Only luck and Foster were between him and the goals as he produced another impressive performance.

 

Substituitions

Daniel Sturridge: 6 - Was brought on for the unimpressive Ramires but failed to make much impact himself.

Jose Bosingwa: 6.5 - He replaced countryman Ferreira and did a good job going up front and threatening the Birmingham defense.

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