Chelsea 3-1 Birmingham
Malouda 3, 62 Larsson 76 (pen)
Chelsea moved up to second place in the EPL table with this routine home win over struggling Birmingham City.
The Blues went ahead of Arsenal on goal difference. And they went ahead in the match after only three minutes, Frenchman Florent Malouda bundling home Paulo Ferreira’s cross from the right from close range at the near post.
City keeper Ben Foster twice denied a lively Didier Drogba but could do nothing about Salomon Kalou’s weaving run and exquisite right-foot drive into the left-hand corner of the net on 26 minutes.
City had occasionally threatened, with Chelsea keeper Petr Cech denying Cameron Jerome with a near-post save when the score was still 1-0.
But Chelsea put the game beyond reach on 62 minutes. Ryan Bertrand, making a hugely impressive debut as a replacement for the injured Ashley Cole, fired in a pinpoint cross from the left which Malouda nodded home at the near post for his second of the match.
The visitors grabbed a 76th-minute consolation after Chelsea centre-back David Luiz clumsily upended City substitute Matt Derbyshire.
Sebastian Larsson and regular penalty-taker Liam Ridgewell embarrassingly fought over who would take the kick, Larsson winning the battle and drilling the ball home.
Tags: Chelsea, Birmingham City, Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou, Sebastian Larsson