Anelka sparkles on debut
Chelsea's new signing Nicolas Anelka put in a brilliant performance as Chelsea defeated Tottenham 2-0 today with goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips and a scorcher from Juliano Belletti.
Spurs were overmatched in midfield, with the central duo of Jamie O'Hara and Kevin Prince Boateng completely out of their depth. Both have promise, but neither is ready to take on the Premier League's top sides.
The visitors had made a decent start, looking fairly comfortable for the first 20 minutes with Ledley King adding steel to the centre of defence.
Radek Cerny, controversially preferred to Paul Robinson in goal for Tottenham, caused an early alarm when he flapped at a free-kick but otherwise Chelsea produced little.
But that midfield weakness told in the 19th minute, when neither O'Hara nor Boateng saw fit to close down Belletti as he cut inside from the right.
The Brazilian had an age to set himself and let fly from 30 yards, powering the ball past the helpless Cerny and into the top-right corner.
Aaron Lennon proved Tottenham's main threat as they sought an equaliser, tormenting Ashley Cole with his pace and dribbling.
Yet too frequently the England man's delivery into the box lacked precision. When he finally did pick out his man, Steed Malbranque volleyed straight at Cech.
On the hour mark Chelsea's new Â£15 million man came on to a rapturous reception, replacing the disappointing Claudio Pizarro. The Peruvian was given the chance to prove himself with Drogba away and Andriy Shevchenko injured, but was woeful.
The number of fans who had already bought shirts with Anelka's name on the back were testament to his importance for Chelsea's title bid.
He nearly made a spectacular impact, as Wright-Phillips found him with a deft backheel and Anelka's left-foot shot brought a brilliant diving save from Cerny.
The Frenchman largely played - understandably - like a man who has barely met his new team-mates, let alone trained with them.
Pascal Chimbonda's angled cross snuck just beyond the far post but it was not long until Wright-Phillips sealed the result for Chelsea.
Joe Cole twisted and turned past his man before laying the ball back to the winger, who fizzed a low shot into the left corner from the edge of the box.
Spurs boss Juande Ramos was ready to admit defeat, and brought on an extra defender - Younes Kaboul - for Boateng six minutes from time.