Diarra thwarts Chelsea progress

Bordeaux 1 Chelsea 1

However easy Luiz Felipe Scolari made this Chelsea manager's job look when he took over at the club in the summer, it is not looking anywhere near as simple now. Frank Lampard was sent off last night, a lead was squandered and now qualification for the next round of the Champions League comes down to an awkward home game against CFR Cluj next month.

Chelsea, who are now without an away win in Europe for a year, need to win at Stamford Bridge against the Romanian champions on 9 December to be sure but the way the boat is rocking at the moment nothing is completely certain for Scolari's team. They took the lead through Nicolas Anelka last night but they were never totally in control and when Bordeaux's captain Alou Diarra headed the equaliser it was no surprise. What is hard to comprehend is how quickly the Chelsea project, undertaken with such brio by Scolari this season is starting to look ragged.

They are the only one of the four English sides in the Champions League who have not already shored up qualification and the incoherence on the pitch is starting to reflect the uncertainty off it. Didier Drogba unwisely sounded off before last night's game about his miserable six months, chief scout Frank Arnesen is on his way out the door because of Roman Abramovich's cutbacks at the club. It does not seem a coincidence that things are starting to look tricky on the pitch, too.

It is rare for a player with Lampard's cunning to find himself sent off for what amounted to two clumsy tackles and he will miss the Cluj game at Stamford Bridge. Scolari said it should be a formality for Chelsea but even this is not certain.

John Terry would have to admit that after his heroics for England one week earlier this was far from his best performance, in fact it was him who allowed Diarra to rise unchallenged to head the ball in at Petr Cech's near post with seven minutes to go. Joe Cole struggled to have an impact on the game and an ankle injury means he is 50-50 to play Arsenal on Sunday. The wing-back style of rampaging full-backs that Scolari made his trademark earlier in the season was easily nullified by Bordeaux.

The sixth-placed team in the French championship made Chelsea look pretty ordinary having been completely blown away by them in west London in September. Laurent Blanc's team were simply quicker in the tackle, more solid in midfield and were not afraid to mix it up when the situation required. The Chelsea of old — let's be honest, even the Chelsea of Avram Grant last season — would have ground Bordeaux's kids into the dust having taken a lead but they are not so solid this time around.

They are still yet to win away in the Champions League this season and at times last night they were kept in the game by Cech's saves. Drogba's arrival in the game, after the hour when Anelka came off, did not elicit any reaction from the travelling support.

It seemed incredible that the first-half possession count gave 56 per cent in Chelsea's favour because they did not manage a shot on target before the break and only two after it. By contrast, Mathieu Chalmé and Yoan Gourcuff forced excellent full-length saves from Cech in the first half and the frustration began to tell among the visitors' players as Terry, Lampard and Ashley Cole all went into the Belgian referee's book within the space of eight minutes.

This kind of frailty will do them no good against Arsenal who, for the first time in a while, can at least take heart that one of their nearest rivals is starting to look as flaky as them. Anelka's goal was made by Lampard's quick-thinking. He played the ball first time through a momentary gap in the Bordeaux defence and Anelka took his own sweet time as he bore down on Matthieu Valverde's goal. He beat the goalkeeper at his left-hand post as two Bordeaux defenders converged on him.

The goal was Anelka's 14th of the season and arguably his most important yet. Chelsea never quite settled. Terry was too easily beaten when Yoan Gouffran cut in from the right wing and, with the Chelsea captain on a yellow card, he was reluctant to commit himself to the tackle. After Diarra headed in from Fernando Cavenaghi's corner, Chelsea were struggling.

More pain followed when Lampard was late in the tackle once again on Fernando and was given a red card but only after the referee Frank de Bleeckere had taken a long time to work out he had booked him earlier. Michael Ballack scrambled away a late deflected shot as Chelsea left France chastened and probably wondering what Sunday might hold for them.

Bordeaux (4-2-3-1): Valverde; Chalmé, Diawara, Planus, Jurietti; Fernando, Diarra; Gouffran (Cavenaghi, 67), Gourcuff, Wendel (Obertan, 76); Chamakh. Substitutes not used: Olimpa (gk), Bellion, Placente, Traoré, Tremoulinas.

Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cech; Bosingwa, Terry, Alex, A Cole; Mikel; Malouda, Lampard, Ballack, J Cole (Ferreira, 85); Anelka (Drogba, 63). Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Bridge, Kalou, Alex, Stoch.

Referee: F De Bleeckere (Belgium).

Group A

Results: Chelsea 4 Bordeaux 0, Roma 1 CFR Cluj 2; Bordeaux 1 Roma 3, CFR Cluj 0 Chelsea 0; Bordeaux 1 CFR Cluj 0, Chelsea 1 Roma 0; CFR Cluj 1 Bordeaux 2, Roma 3 Chelsea 1; Bordeaux 1 Chelsea 1; CFR Cluj 1 Roma 3.

Remaining fixtures: 9 Dec: Chelsea v CFR Cluj, Roma v Bordeaux.

people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Ricky Gervais performs stand-up
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering