Tag Archives: drought

Crystal Palace 2 Leicester 2 – match report: Chris Wood scores equaliser at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace 2 Leicester 2: Wood pegs back hosts as Selhurst spoils are shared

PUBLISHED:

16:51 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:12 GMT, 20 April 2013

Chris Wood's second-half strike could not prevent Leicester slipping out of the npower Championship play-off places.

The New Zealander plundered his 20th goal of the season as the Foxes twice came from behind to grab a point at Palace.

But Bolton's win over Middlesbrough saw them leapfrog City into sixth, while Palace's hold on a play-off spot also looks far from secure.

To the rescue: Chris Wood's equaliser earned Leicester a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park

To the rescue: Chris Wood's equaliser earned Leicester a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park

MATCH FACTS

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Zaha, Dikgacoi, Marrow (O'Keefe 78), Dobbie (Bolasie 75), Murray,
Wilbraham (Phillips 85). Subs Not Used: Fitzsimons, Ramage, Moritz, Banton.

Booked: Moxey, Delaney, Dikgacoi.

Goals: Gabbidon 26, Dobbie 67.

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Keane, Konchesky, Knockaert (Kane 90), King, James, Dyer (Gallagher 89), Schlupp (Nugent 73), Wood. Subs Not Used: Logan, Drinkwater, Whitbread, Moore.

Booked: James.

Goals: King 37, Wood 73.

Att: 18,563.

Ref: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire).

Latest Championship table and results

The Eagles had not scored in their
previous five matches and a run of seven without win leaves them just
two points clear of Leicester in seventh.

Their eight-hour goal drought was
ended by a player who had not scored in the league for more than eight
years when Danny Gabbidon put them ahead.

City levelled before half-time through Andy King before Stephen Dobbie tucked away his fourth goal of the season for Palace.

But Wood denied Palace a welcome win when he latched onto a defensive error to fire home in the 73rd minute.

Despite their wretched run, Palace
made a bright start and Kasper Schmeichel made a fine early save to
prevent an own goal after Dobbie's corner flicked a Leicester head.

Wilfried Zaha then teed up Aaron
Wilbraham, making his first Championship start since August, but the
former Norwich striker's shot was too close to Schmeichel.

Good start: Danny Gabbidon celebrates giving Crystal Palace the lead in the first half

Good start: Danny Gabbidon celebrates giving Crystal Palace the lead in the first half

Battle: Leicester's Wes Morgan holds off Glenn Murray as they compete fro possession

Battle: Leicester's Wes Morgan holds off Glenn Murray as they compete fro possession

CHAMPIONSHIP – AS IT STANDS

Championship

After those early let-offs Leicester
began to press and Jeff Schlupp was denied by Julian Speroni before Wood
and King fired off target.

But it was Palace who went ahead in
the 26th minute when Dobbie floated in a free-kick and defender Gabbidon
swept in his first league goal since March 2005.

Alex Marrow went close to doubling the advantage with a volley which Schmeichel managed to keep out.

But instead Leicester pulled level in
the 37th minute when a slick move involving Paul Konchesky and Lloyd
Dyer ended with King curling in a fine equaliser.

Shortly before the interval Marrow's deflected drive was tipped over the top by Schmeichel.

After the break Leicester should have
taken the lead when Wood knocked down Paul Konchesky's cross into the
path of Schlupp but the youngster scooped his shot over.

At the other end Glenn Murray's header set up Wilbraham, who got in front of his marker but nodded against the crossbar.

Palace's pressure told in the 67th
minute when Murray's lay-off found its way to Dobbie on the edge of the
area and the former Swansea frontman tucked away a fine strike.

But six minutes later a slip by
Damien Delaney allowed Wood to charge through one-on-one with Speroni
and he made no mistake to snatch a point.

Patrick Vieira says Arsenal lack the self-belief to win silverware ahead of Champions League tie with Bayern Munich

Arsenal's players lack the self-belief to end their trophy drought, says Vieira (the man who drove them to silverware)

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

16:41 GMT, 19 February 2013

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UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 19 February 2013

Patrick Vieira believes Arsenal's players are lacking the self-belief required to win silverware.

The Gunners legend, who made more than 300 appearances for the club between 1996 and 2005, lifted their last trophy – the FA Cup – eight years ago.

Well off the pace in the Barclays Premier League and dumped out of the FA Cup by Blackburn on Saturday, their last hope of ending their trophy drought this season comes in the Champions League.

Scroll down for video

Distant glory: Patrick Vieira lifts the FA Cup for Arsenal in 2005, the last time the club won any silverware

Distant glory: Patrick Vieira lifts the FA Cup for Arsenal in 2005, the last time the club won any silverware

And tonight they take on the formidable Bayern Munich in the first leg of their round of 16 tie as they hope to advance in the competition.

Vieira, now Football Development Executive at Manchester City, said the players need to trust in their 'fantastic' ability to start winning trophies again.

Disaster: Arsenal's hopes of ending their eight-year trophy drought took a knock on Saturday when they lost to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup fifth round

Disaster: Arsenal's hopes of ending their eight-year trophy drought took a knock on Saturday when they lost to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup fifth round

New challenge: Vieira is now in charge of Football Development at Manchester City

New challenge: Vieira is now in charge of Football Development at Manchester City

'With Arsenal, it's always up and down. When Arsenal have a good day, they can beat any team in the world,' he told FA TV.

'But maybe they lack consistency to win silverware. When you look at the Arsenal starting XI they are fantastic players, but they may need to believe in themselves more that they can win something.

'Maybe that's why they haven't achieved the height of their potential.'

VIDEO: Vieira talks about Arsenal's lack of belief at the end of Twitter Q&A

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West Brom 2 Norwich 1: Match report

West Brom 2 Norwich 1: Lukaku heads late winner to end Canaries' unbeaten run

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UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 22 December 2012

West Brom striker Romelu Lukaku smashed Norwich's 10-game unbeaten record in the Barclays Premier League with a late winner at The Hawthorns.

Robert Snodgrass gave the Canaries an early lead after fit again Baggies keeper Ben Foster failed to keep out his dipping free-kick.

Canaries singing: Robert Snodgrass receives congratulations after netting the opener for Norwich

Canaries singing: Robert Snodgrass receives congratulations after netting the opener for Norwich

Match facts

WEST BROM: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Morrison, Brunt, Odemwingie, Gera (Long 61), Dorrans (Fortune 45), Lukaku (Tamas 83). Subs not used: Myhill, Ridgewell, Rosenberg, Jara.

Goals: Gera 45, Lukaku 82

NORWICH: Bunn, Whittaker (Martin 54), Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Snodgrass, Tettey (Jackson 83), Hoolahan (Howson 72), Johnson, Pilkington, Morison. Subs not used: Steer, Bennett, Barnett, Kane.

Goals: Snodgrass 23.

Booked: Turner

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Latest Premier League results, fixtures and table

But Zoltan Gera ended West Brom's
near six hour goal drought just before the break and then on-loan
Chelsea player Lukaku headed the winner with eight minutes remaining to
leave Baggies boss Steve Clarke hoping the Blues do not decide to recall
their player during the January transfer window.

Victory ended Albion's mini slump from which they had collected only two points from four games after climbing to third spot.

They deserved their success after
looking the more threatening during the second period. But Albion were
also indebted to another rock solid display from central defender Gareth
McAuley.

The Canaries came close to a share of the spoils despite the absence of key striker Grant Holt with a hamstring injury.

In addition to his goal, Snodgrass
was always asking problems of the Albion defence Lukaku came close to
opening the scoring for the Baggies after three minutes.

Dead-ball king: Snodgrass (right) curls the ball home from a free-kick to give the visitors the lead

Dead-ball king: Snodgrass (right) curls the ball home from a free-kick to give the visitors the lead

A big gift: Norwich keeper Mark Bunn reacts after West Brom level

A big gift: Norwich keeper Mark Bunn reacts after West Brom level

The striker made good contact on his glancing header from Goran Popov's deep cross but it flew just over the bar.

Snodgrass connected with a volley
from the edge of the Albion box but it was directed straight at Foster
who returned after a seven game absence through injury.

The first clearcut opening fell to Lukaku after 21 minutes when he took a pass from James Morrison in his stride.

On the slide: Peter Odemwingie evades Wesley Hoolahan's tackle

On the slide: Peter Odemwingie evades Wesley Hoolahan's tackle

But Lukaku failed to make a clean contact on his cross shot and Mark Bunn saved with relative comfort.

It proved a costly miss as Snodgrass
put the Canaries ahead three minutes later after Peter Odemwingie
brought down the midfielder.

His curling free-kick contained
plenty of power and, although Foster got a hand to the ball, he could
only help it into the roof of the net.

Knees up: Anthony Pilkington (left) vies for the ball with Shane Long

Knees up: Anthony Pilkington (left) vies for the ball with Shane Long

Helping hand: Goran Popov shoves Snodgrass out of the way

Helping hand: Goran Popov shoves Snodgrass out of the way

The shake of the head from the former England international conveyed the impression he should have done better.

West Brom tried to retaliate and a
goal-bound effort from McAuley was blocked by the body of Bunn following
a Chris Brunt corner.

But after 43 minutes Gera brought Albion back on level terms with his fourth goal of the campaign.

Bunn parried Jonas Olsson's downward
header from a Brunt corner onto the crossbar but Gera was on hand to
volley home the rebound.

Clarke replaced Graham Dorrans with
Marc-Antoine Fortune for the second period. McAuley rescued Albion with a
superb tackle inside the box after Steve Morison took advantage of a
mix-up at a short free-kick by the home side.

Norwich centre-back Michael Turner
headed wide from Snodgrass' centre before being booked for hauling down
Odemwingie in full flight.

Smash and grab: Popov leaves Snodgrass standing, despite the Norwich player's attentions

Smash and grab: Popov leaves Snodgrass standing, despite the Norwich player's attentions

Odemwingie had a low shot saved at
the base of a post by Bunn but chances were now at a premium. Clarke
brought on West Brom top scorer Shane Long – in place of Gera – in a bid
to add more fire-power.

Then with eight minutes left Lukaku
showed his power and strength when climbing above Javier Garrido to head
home Popov's deep cross.

Popov was booked in injury time for a foul on Snodgrass but Albion held on to claim their seventh home win of the season.

On the chase: Odemwingie puts Steven Whittaker under pressure

On the chase: Odemwingie puts Steven Whittaker under pressure

Arsene Wenger will NOT be sacked insist Arsenal but club chief Ivan Gazidis is set to face fans" fury at Emirates event

Wenger will NOT be sacked insist Arsenal but club chief Gazidis is set to face fans' fury at Emirates event

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

12:17 GMT, 12 December 2012

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UPDATED:

16:40 GMT, 12 December 2012

Arsenal are throwing their unequivocal backing behind underfire manager Arsene Wenger.

An increasing number of Gunners supporters are calling for the French manager's head after a difficult start to the season and club chief executive Ivan Gazidis will face a hostile audience tonight at the Emirates Stadium when he hosts a drinks reception for the Arsenal Supporters Trust.

The pressure on Wenger intensified last night as Arsenal were dumped out of the Carling Cup by League Two side Bradford.

Stand by your man: Arsene Wenger watches his side crash out of the Capital One Cup at Bradford last night, but the manager will continue to enjoy unwavering support

Stand by your man: Arsene Wenger watches his side crash out of the Capital One Cup at Bradford last night, but the manager will continue to enjoy unwavering support

HE'S USELESS!

Which Arsenal played has been dubbed Useless Read/watch Sportsmail brilliant new video column by clicking here…

But the 63-year-old is under no danger of losing his job despite their recent slump.

The Gunners board remain 100 per cent behind Wenger, who is continuing with his plans to bolster the squad in next month's transfer window.

Wenger has an excellent relationship with the club's hierarchy, who are in no doubt the Frenchman remains the right man to lead Arsenal.

The board's unwavering support of Wenger will anger a growing band of supporters who feel it is now time for a change.

A right old coating: Wenger watches his side slump at Bradford's Coral Windows Stadium last night's cup

A right old coating: Wenger watches his side slump at Bradford's Coral Windows Stadium last night's cup

Bradford City supporters v Arsenal

Ivan Gazidis

Hat-trick: A Bradford fan celebrates last night (left) but Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis will face a hostile audience at a supporters' event at the Emirates Stadium tonight

Arsenal will complete an eight-year trophy drought if they fail to win any silverware this season, a statistic deemed not good enough by some fans.

Nevertheless, Wenger's position remains one of the safest in European football despite the club's problems.

WENGER MUST GO… THIS ARSENAL FAN HAS DECIDED ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Matt Fortune

By the time this piece is written, I'll need a bath. No, something more, a cleansing of the soul, perhaps. Forgive me Arsene, for I have sinned.

Here goes… Wenger out.

Defeat to Bradford, a team ranked more than 60 places lower than Arsenal, was humiliating for a club of this stature.

Forget their current form, injuries or any other extenuating circumstances, it was a shameful night for all involved.

The League Cup quarter-final result will go down in history, the lead in those 'It's happened before' newspaper items many years from now.

'Valley of despair', one headline screamed. Valley of the damned, I'd prefer. It was the final straw.

Click here to read the full Matt Fortune article…

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres not impressed by scoring against Nordsjaelland – Picture of the week by Graham Chadwick

Graham Chadwick: Picture of the week – Chelsea striker Torres not impressed by scoring against Nordsjaelland

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UPDATED:

11:13 GMT, 12 December 2012

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@chadders_dm

My latest picture of the week was taken during Chelsea's 6-1 victory over Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge on December 5.

The look on the face of Fernando Torres sums up the mood at Chelsea at the moment.

European Cup holders – yet on their way out in the first stage of this season's competition.

Torres ended his goal drought by scoring twice against Nordsjaelland last Wednesday.

But the Spaniard doesn't appear to be too enthralled by his efforts.

Make sure to check out my video blog from the game by clicking HERE and feel free to let me know what you think on the comments section of this article or on Twitter.

Nikon D3, lens 400mm, ISO 2500, f/ 2.8, 800t

Fernando Torres scores for Chelsea

Fernando Torres can"t stop scoring under Rafa Benitez

From drought to glut: Now Torres can't stop scoring for Chelsea under Benitez

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UPDATED:

22:39 GMT, 8 December 2012

Fernando Torres continued his
renaissance under Rafa Benitez with his third and fourth goals in three
days as Chelsea claimed their first victory under the Spaniard by
beating Sunderland 3-1.

Torres ended nearly 13 hours of league football without scoring with two first-half goals, which helped end Chelsea's run of seven matches without a Premier League win.

And Benitez underlined the Spanish forward's growing confidence by revealing Torres had demanded to take the penalty with which he doubled the visitors' advantage.

Free scoring: Fernando Torres scored twice against Sunderland

Free scoring: Fernando Torres scored twice against Sunderland

It is the first penalty he has ever scored in English club football.

'We had three players and any of them could take the penalty, but the positive thing for me was he had confidence,' said Benitez.

'Fernando said he would take it and he would score. Who decides They do. They are players and they know how they are on the pitch.

'It's fair to say we are now watching Fernando with more confidence, more belief. I was analysing his movement and we were adjusting little things. It's a question of confidence and just a little difference in his movement.

'I said before that if the team played well and created chances, Fernando would score goals. We played really well, especially in the first half.'

All smiles: Torres (right) hugs Juan Mata

All smiles: Torres (right) hugs Juan Mata

Confidence: Torres also scored from the spot

Confidence: Torres also scored from the spot

Fernando Torres scores goals against Sunderland and Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez is delighted

Torres breaks Premier League drought by doubling up with super volley and penalty to leave Rafa purring

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UPDATED:

20:05 GMT, 8 December 2012

Fernando Torres broke his Barclays Premier League goal drought with an fine volley against Sunderland before adding another from the penalty spot.

The Spanish striker had not scored in the top flight since October 6 in Chelsea's 4-1 victory over Norwich – a total of 12 hours and 30 minutes of game time.

Rafael Benitez said after the match that 'we are watching a Fernando Torres with more confidence'.

Pouncing: Fernando Torres volleys home superbly to open the scoring against Sunderland

Pouncing: Fernando Torres volleys home superbly to open the scoring against Sunderland

Spot on: Fernando Torres strokes home from the spot but not before debating with David Luiz over who got to take it

Spot on: Fernando Torres strokes home from the spot but not before debating with David Luiz over who got to take it

Fire in his belly: Torres contesting for the rights to take the spot kick with defender Luiz - who scored one in midweek

Fire in his belly: Torres contesting for the rights to take the spot kick with defender Luiz – who scored one in midweek

'The team played well and created chances for Torres to score goals, especially in the first half,' said the Chelsea manager.

'We showed the character and the quality we have, that we can create chances and Fernando can score goals.

'We are winning, the team is training really well. You can see with more confidence the things they can do.

'Fernando is one of these players; he
knows what I want from him and the rest of the team know each other
really well so, when we do things well, we get more confidence and, when
we have that, with the quality we have, we will win more games.

Eden Hazard, who has also been
off-colour in recent weeks, laid on the first goal with a superb assist –
just as he did for Torres' second against Nordsjaelland in the
Champions League.

Then Torres converted his first ever Premier League penalty to double Chelsea's lead and his own goal tally.

Seb
Larsson needlessly took down Ramires and the Spaniard surprised a few
people by stepping up to the spot and expertly dispatching the penalty.

But he has a history of taking penalties at Sunderland's ground.

It was at the Stadium of Light he scored from the spot in the final of the European U16 Championships, 11 years ago.

Happy times: Victor Moses celebrates with Torres who played with more conviction than of late

Happy times: Victor Moses celebrates with Torres who played with more conviction than of late

That's more like it: Recently Torres has not caused the keepers much trouble - but he's certainly bothering Simon Mignolet here

That's more like it: Recently Torres has not caused the keepers much trouble – but he's certainly bothering Simon Mignolet here

Credit: Has Rafael Benitez sparked something in Torres or is it just chance

Credit: Has Rafael Benitez sparked something in Torres or is it just chance

In
the quarter final he also scored from the spot – at the same stadium –
as Spain drew 1-1 with Italy. And guess what He also scored the winning
penalty in the subsequent shoot-out.

So it was no wonder he felt comfortable enough to put himself forward today.

Benitez said: 'For me the positive is he had the
confidence [to take the penalty]. We have three penalty takers and it
depends on the moment – the players decide.

'David [Luiz] has a lot of confidence, but Fernando said, “Yes, I will take it and I will score”.

'It's fair to say we are watching a Fernando with more confidence; he has more belief and, in the same time, the team as well.

'I felt it was a question of confidence and a little change in his movement. I would like to see him scoring goals every game.'

Torres even got an assist for Juan Mata's goal – his shot rebounding off the frame of the goal for his compatriot to fire home.

In between his goal at Norwich and
today's efforts the striker scored just three times in 11 games, two
coming against the hapless Danish side which Chelsea beat 6-1 on
Wednesday.

Relief: Torres celebrates after scoring his first goal for 750 minutes

Relief: Torres celebrates after scoring his first goal for 750 minutes

Relief: Fernando Torres scored his first Premier League goal for two months

The other goal was also in Europe –
the ball rebounding off him and into the net as he closed down Shakhtar
Donetsk's goalkeeper.

Many
believe Rafael Benitez, a man widely disliked by the Stamford Bridge
faithful, was brought in by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to get the
Spaniard firing like he did at Liverpool.

Whether
or not he is going to be able to restore the striker to his former
glory remains to be seen, but the conviction he attacked Hazard's cross
with has been missed in recent months.

And Torres has often overlooked the chance to take penalties in the past – something he has been criticised for – so has Benitez given him some much needed belief

Smiling: Torres was much happier than when he netted in midweek

Smiling: Torres was much happier than when he netted in midweek

Martin Kaymer wins Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City

Former world No 1 Kaymer shines in Sun City to secure first title of the year

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UPDATED:

16:17 GMT, 2 December 2012

Martin Kaymer survived a late wobble to hold on for his first title of the year with victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City.

The overnight leader bogeyed the 15th hole to see his advantage at the top of the leaderboard cut to one stroke by South Africa's Charl Schwartzel but held his nerve the rest of the way to prevail by two strokes.

Kaymer finished on eight under par overall, with Schwartzel at six under and American Bill Haas alone in third, three strokes further back.

Long wait: Kaymer won his first title of the year in Sun City

Long wait: Kaymer won his first title of the year in Sun City

Long wait: Kaymer won his first title of the year in Sun City

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen began the final round just one stroke behind Kaymer, but a 74 saw his challenge run out of steam and he ended in fourth place on two under, one stroke ahead of defending two-time champion Lee Westwood of England, who carded a 73.

Scotland's Paul Lawrie, the leader after the second round, went over par for the second day running as he managed 74 to finish in sixth place overall.

Kaymer famously sank the putt that ensured Europe retained the Ryder Cup earlier this year, but on a personal level this season has been a disappointment for the German.

And he admitted that as the opportunity to finally break his year-long victory drought edged closer, nerves began to tell.

Clinging on: Kaymer bogeyed the 15th hole

Clinging on: Kaymer bogeyed the 15th hole

Clinging on: Kaymer bogeyed the 15th hole

'It was always tight,' Kaymer told reporters.

'Charl played a great round of golf and I was telling (my caddie) that I need a win. I need a win in 2012.'

Rainy conditions on the final day at Gary Player Country Club were in keeping with the previous three, meaning yet again that scores were kept in check by the weather.

No-one shot better than 69 all week, and that mark was again achieved by Kaymer on Sunday having also managed a three-under total over the second round.

The German began in positive fashion on Sunday, hitting a brilliant eagle on the second only to see his hard work erased with a double-bogey at three.

Birdies at nine, 10 and 11 took him clear of the pack again, although Schwartzel's birdie on the 14th trimmed the lead to one.

Swinging in the rain: Schwartzel made a late bid for the title

Swinging in the rain: Schwartzel made a late bid for the title

Swinging in the rain: Schwartzel made a late bid for the title

Kaymer hacked his way out of the rough to make an unlikely birdie on 14 and take his lead back out to two, but a bogey at the next meant the pressure stayed on.

Schwartzel's victory bid finally stuttered as he committed his first bogey of the day at the 17th, as Kaymer made par the rest of the way to close out an overdue victory.

'I'm very happy to finally win this year, that was the most important thing for me, because I was practising very hard,' Kaymer added.

'I played very well the last few weeks and months, but it just did not happen for me on the golf course.

'I said to Craig, my caddy, we have to win one tournament every year and this is our last chance. Fortunately we could bring it home.'

West Ham 3 Chelsea 1 match report: Carlton Cole, Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga heap pressure on Rafa Benitez

West Ham 3 Chelsea 1: Rafa's revolution in tatters as Blues' winless steak extends to seven games

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UPDATED:

15:09 GMT, 1 December 2012

Rafael Benitez's Chelsea nightmare continued as West Ham hit back to inflict his first defeat in charge and extend his winless start as interim manager.

Already the first boss of the Roman Abramovich era not to oversee a victory in his opening two games under the Russian, it got worse for Benitez at Upton Park this afternoon as the Blues made it seven Barclays Premier League games without maximum points.

Juan Mata appeared to ease the pressure on the former Liverpool boss by ending the European champions' five-hour, 34-minute goal drought after 13 minutes.

Sealing the deal: Modibo Maiga ensures the three points for West Ham

Sealing the deal: Modibo Maiga ensures the three points for West Ham

At full stretch: Rafa Benitez has claimed just two points from a possible nine

At full stretch: Rafa Benitez has claimed just two points from a possible nine

Match facts

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Reid, O'Brien, Tomkins (Taylor, 46), Noble, O'Neil (Diame 46), Nolan, Jarvis, Cole (Maiga 87). Subs not used: Spiegel, Spence, Fanimo, Moncur.

Booked: Noble.

Goal: Cole 63, Diame 86, Maiga 90+1.

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Mikel, Ramires, Moses (Marin 78), Hazard (Oscar 73), Mata, Torres. Subs not used: Turnbull, Ferreira, Bertrand, Romeu, Piazon.

Booked: Cech, Mikel.

Goal: Mata 13.

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Attendance: 35,005.

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

But the visitors squandered several
chances to score again and were deservedly made to pay through a
controversial Carlton Cole equaliser and goals from substitutes Mohamed
Diame and Modibo Maiga.

West Ham fans taunted Benitez with,
'You're getting sacked in the morning', while the torrent of abuse from
Chelsea supporters also continued.

There were early warning signs for
Chelsea today, with a defence reshaped by David Luiz's suspension
failing its first real test in the 10th minute when a straight free-kick
from James Collins sailed over everyone to Winston Reid, whose header
across goal was scrambled to safety by Cesar Azpilicueta.

Fernando Torres was dropping into
midfield to get involved with mixed results but it was the return of his
striking instincts that helped Chelsea end their longest goal drought
of the Abramovich era.
The Spaniard burst in behind onto Victor Moses' 13th-minute through ball
and coolly cut it back for Mata to sidefoot home easily,

Benitez kept his promise not to
celebrate the first goal of his reign, which did not spare him chants of
'One Di Matteo' and 'You're not welcome here' from the visiting fans,
along with the ubiquitous 'Rafa Out' banner.

On a run: West Ham won against Chelsea for the first time since 2003

On a run: West Ham won against Chelsea for the first time in the Premier League since 2003

In the ascendancy: Mohamed Diame blasts West Ham's second of the game

In the ascendancy: Mohamed Diame blasts West Ham's second of the game

Chelsea should have given their
supporters something else to cheer about, Moses horribly mis-hitting his
20th-minute finish from Ramires' pass.

And after Carlton Cole – in for the
injured Andy Carroll – saw a shot blocked, Ramires and Torres blew a
four-on-two break, the latter skying his finish to spark the inevitable
“What a waste of money” chants.

West Ham were also causing problems
and thought they had equalised in the 33rd minute through Kevin Nolan's
close-range overhead kick but referee Martin Atkinson controversially
chalked it off for a push.

Happy Hammers: Players mob Carlton Cole after he came back to haunt his former club

Happy Hammers: Players mob Carlton Cole after he came back to haunt his former club

Lean on me: Carlton Cole fends off Branislav Ivanovic to nod West Ham level

Lean on me: Carlton Cole fends off Branislav Ivanovic to nod West Ham level

Mata could have made it 2-0 in the
40th minute when he fired Moses' cutback too close to Jussi Jaaskelainen
and saw his follow-up blocked by Joey O'Brien.

The home side had the final attempt
of the first half when Petr Cech was booked for punching the ball clear
outside his area the goalkeeper redeeming himself by tipping Nolan's
header over the bar from the resultant free-kick.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce had seen
enough by the break, sending on Matt Taylor and Diame for James Tomkins
and Gary O'Neil after what could only have been a half-time roasting.

No mistake: Juan Mata beats Jussi Jaaskelainen from close range to put the visitors ahead

No mistake: Juan Mata beats Jussi Jaaskelainen from close range to put the visitors ahead

Pointing the way: Juan Mata fired Chelsea ahead after 13 minutes

Pointing the way: Juan Mata fired Chelsea ahead after 13 minutes

Both had the desired effect, Carlton
Cole's header from just inside the box sailing over before he got in the
way of Diame's effort.

Chelsea's defending became more
desperate, Branislav Ivanovic getting a vital touch to prevent Carlton
Cole turning in Nolan's pass after Cech went AWOL.

An equaliser looked only a matter of time and it arrived in the 63rd minute in controversial fashion.
Matt Jarvis' cross looped up off Azpilicueta and Carlton Cole climbed
all over Ivanovic to nod it in, Chelsea's protests only resulting in a
booking for John Mikel Obi.

Celebration time: Victor Moses joins Fernando Torres and Juan Mata after the latter's goa

Celebration time: Victor Moses joins Fernando Torres and Juan Mata after the latter's goa

Mayhem ensued and Jarvis tested Cech
before the visitors surged down the other end, Torres scuffing a
glorious rebound chance straight at Jaaskelainen after the keeper saved
from Eden Hazard.

Mark Noble was booked for clattering
into Ramires and Mata almost added further punishment when he hit the
inside of the post with a brilliant free-kick.

Moses appealed in vain for a penalty
under Taylor's challenge and Hazard failed to chip Jaaskelainen after
the keeper threw the ball straight to him.

The drought goes on: Fernando Torres was once again a shadow of his former self

The drought goes on: Fernando Torres was once again a shadow of his former self

Oscar immediately replaced the Belgian but West Ham were still on top and Moses soon departed for Marko Marin.

Although Chelsea enjoyed some pressure, they were almost undone when Noble sent Jarvis clear and Cech came to the rescue again.

Ashley Cole did likewise from the resultant corner, nodding Reid's header off the line but West Ham were not to be denied.

Caught out: Petr Cech reacts to his yellow card after handling outside the area

Caught out: Petr Cech reacts to his yellow card after handling outside the area

With four minutes remaining, a
throw-in found its way to Carlton Cole, who laid the ball off to Diame
to drill home and it got worse in stoppage time when fellow substitute
Maiga followed up after Taylor's shot was parried.

Torres had the final say with a header that was saved but it was already too late.

Watching brief: Sam Allardyce and Rafa Benitez look on as Cesar Azpilicueta tackles Joey O'Brien

Watching brief: Sam Allardyce and Rafa Benitez look on as Cesar Azpilicueta tackles Joey O'Brien

Fernando Torres hasn"t scored in 10 hours and 49 minutes for Chelsea and Rafael Benitez hasn"t yet got the best out of him

The stats staring at Torres: Chelsea's 50m flop barely touches the ball and hasn't scored in almost 11 hours

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UPDATED:

14:29 GMT, 29 November 2012

Chelsea failed to score again. And again there's
Fernando Torres sunk to his knees on the turf. Head despairingly in
hands as he replayed another missed opportunity in his mind.

A second consecutive bore draw, against Fulham last night, left the Blues faithful wondering how, in the space of seven days, Rafael Benitez had transformed them from the Premier League’s most attractive attacking force to a blunt instrument.

Benitez is here to get the best out of the Spain striker but there have been no immediate signs of improvement – he clearly hasn't been instantly snapped out of the malaise he found himself in during the end of Roberto Di Matteo's tenure.

Torres hasn’t scored in the league in 10 hours and 49 minutes now, since he opened the scoring against Norwich on October 6.

You can accomplish a lot in that time –
watch five Shakespeare plays or the extended Lord of the Rings trilogy,
fly to Singapore or drive to the south of France, run three marathons or
make about a thousand cups of tea.

Defining image: The sight of Fernando Torres with his head in his hands has become an all-too-familiar one

Defining image: The sight of Fernando Torres with his head in his hands has become an all-too-familiar one

Golden chance: Torres saw this volley cleared off the line by Aaron Hughes as Chelsea were held 0-0 by Fulham

Golden chance: Torres saw this volley cleared off the line by Aaron Hughes as Chelsea were held 0-0 by Fulham

Imploring: Benitez demands more from his side as they struggle to break down Fulham

Imploring: Benitez demands more from his side as they struggle to break down Fulham

BARREN SPELLS

Drought One

February 6, 2011 – April 23, 2011

15 hours and three minutes

Drought Two

October 6, 2012 –

10 hours and 49 minutes

(and counting…)

Last night, he was outshone by Fulham’s Dimitar Berbatov, who has a (largely undeserved) reputation for being languid and lazy.

The Bulgarian had nearly double the touches of Torres – 62 to 34 (see the Touch Maps below) – and his contributions were spread across both penalty areas and both flanks. He outpassed Torres too – by 47 to 23.

The 50m man’s apologists will say
that had Aaron Hughes not blocked his goalbound volley in the second
–half, we wouldn’t be having this debate this morning.

But
looking back over his season, there’s no escaping the reality that
Torres is woefully underperforming. His barren run is creeping nearer
and nearer to the 903 minutes it took him to break his duck after
joining Chelsea in January 2011.

TORRES TOUCHES BERBATOV TOUCHES
Only 34 Almost double 62

Fernando Torres touch map v Fulham

Dimitar Berbatov touch map v Chelsea

Outshone: These touch matches from last night's game compare Fernando Torres (left) and Dimitar Berbatov (right). As you can clearly see, the Fulham forward saw more of the ball (62 touches to 34 for Torres) and was effective in more areas of the field, including both penalty areas and both flanks. Source: Opta

TORRES vs FULHAM

Minutes on Pitch: 90

Goals: 0

Shots: 2

Shooting accuracy: 100%

Goal assists: 0

Chances created: 1

Total passes: 23

Pass completion: 61%

Dribbles and runs: 2

Dribble completion: 0%

Fouls: 1

Offside: 2

Source: Opta

There’s perhaps a crumb of comfort in that Chelsea next face West Ham, the side against whom Torres scored his first goal for the club – on April 23, 2011 – 11 weeks after the 50m cheque was posted to Anfield.

His 1,194 minutes on the pitch in league action this season have yielded four goals, or one every 298.5 minutes. His chance conversion languishes down at 17% and he hasn’t created a goal either.

/11/29/article-2240291-1642B6EF000005DC-379_634x422.jpg” width=”634″ height=”422″ alt=”Head-to-head: Dimitar Berbatov (left) had a much more productive evening than Torres ” class=”blkBorder” />

Head-to-head: Dimitar Berbatov (left) had a much more productive evening than Torres

TORRES IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE THIS SEASON

Appearances: 14

Minutes on pitch: 1,194

Goals: 4

Minutes per goal: 298.5

Shots: 23

Shooting accuracy: 61%

Chance conversion: 17%

Goal assists: 0

Chances created: 17

Total passes: 291

Pass completion: 70%

Dribbles and runs: 51

Dribble completion: 39%

Fouls: 20

Offside: 15

Yellow cards: 1

Red Cards: 1

Source: Opta

A side that just last month looked like a well-oiled goal machine is now spluttering to a complete standstill, with another concern for Benitez being the reliance on Torres to supply the goals.

Had he been in the job a year earlier, he could have fallen back on the reliable Didier Drogba (13 goals and four assists in 2011-2012) to offer a finish to the abundant chances coming from the midfield.

But Drogba is on the opposite side of the world and his only manifestation at the Bridge is a bright orange banner perched on the upper tier that reads in block black capitals: ‘DROGBA LEGEND.’

It can’t help Torres that whenever he misses a chance, he glances up and sees the colourful tribute.

Not forgotten: The new tribute banner to Didier Drogba at Stamford Bridge

Not forgotten: The new tribute banner to Didier Drogba at Stamford Bridge

Benitez was in ebullient mood despite the derby draw with Fulham, suggesting that Chelsea can still win the title and that, on another night, Torres would have helped himself to two or three.

‘It wasn’t easy for him, or Hazard or Oscar,’ he said. ‘We were on top of them, regaining the game higher up the pitch, and might have won it in the last minute.’

But on a night when the home faithful again made their frustrations at Benitez known, there appears little, if any, appetite for a Rafalution – or his main henchman.

TORRES PREMIER LEAGUE COMPARISON – LIVERPOOL v CHELSEA

Liverpool

Games played: 102

Minutes played: 7886

Goals: 65

Minutes per goal: 121.3

Total shots: 291

Minutes per shot: 27.1

Shooting accuracy: 48.8%

Shot conversion rate: 22.3%

Assists: 12

Chelsea

Games played: 60

Minutes played: 3860

Goals: 11

Minutes per goal: 350.9

Total shots: 86

Minutes per shot: 44.9

Shooting accuracy: 45.35%

Shot conversion rate: 12.8%

Assists: 6

Source: Opta