Chelsea loses 1-0 to Birmingham in Premier League

Published Nov. 20, 2010 5:41 p.m. ET

Chelsea's struggles continued Saturday when it fell 1-0 to Birmingham for its second straight loss, with the Blues now only ahead of Manchester United on goal difference atop the Premier League standings.

Lee Bowyer scored his first goal in almost 12 months in the 17th minute, converting Birmingham's first chance after Chelsea had dominated play at the start.

Chelsea missed a series of chances, with goalkeeper Ben Foster pulling off a string of saves and Didier Drogba hitting the crossbar with a header in the 38th.

Chelsea is now level with Manchester United on 28 points, while Arsenal missed a chance to go top by losing 3-2 to Tottenham.

Chelsea dominated for the entire 90 minutes but they could not find a way past Foster, despite a vastly improved performance compared to the 3-0 home loss to Sunderland last weekend.

Chelsea lost consecutive league games for the first time since the end of the 2005-06 campaign.

Salomon Kalou missed an early chance to put the visitors ahead. Drogba's flick found Kalou with only Foster to beat but his shot went through the legs of the keeper and just past the post.


Foster then made a good save after Drogba was sent clear by Kalou.

Chelsea quickly established a grip of the game and were taking advantage of having an extra midfield player. But Birmingham stunned Chelsea by taking the lead via their first worthwhile attack after 17 minutes.

Sebastian Larsson's right-wing cross was headed down by Cameron Jerome to Bowyer who was completely unmarked and lashed the ball past Petr Cech for his first goal of the season.

Chelsea tried to retaliate and Foster went down to his right to hold onto Drogba's effort from the right of the box.

He then made a superb reflex save to keep out Drogba's close range header from Nicolas Anelka's pass.

Chelsea were carving chances almost at will and Alex had a free header from Florent Malouda's corner but directed it past the post.

Drogba tried his luck with a low 30 yard free kick and Foster was again alert to turn it around the post. But he was helpless after 38 minutes when Drogba crashed a header against the crossbar from Malouda's cross.

Chelsea continued in the same manner after the break although there were less clear-cut openings.

Johnson produced a superb tackle to stop Ramires after his run into the box needed treatment to his knee before being able to continue.

Kalou had Chelsea's best chance of the second period when turning back inside but he curled his shot over the bar with Foster off his line.