Stunning Pressman

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The Independent Online
Chelsea 0

Sheffield Wednesday 0

Attendance: 23,216

THIS was a curate's egg of a game which suffered from an absence of goals but not of incident. The blank scoresheet was mainly down to the brilliance of Kevin Pressman in the Wednesday goal. Ironically, after two stunning first-half saves he was mostly idle for the second half.

Pressman's first save came in the 21st minute, when Ruud Gullit's cross carved a clear path for Dennis Wise to pick his spot as he faced the unprotected goalkeeper. The Chelsea forward took careful aim, but Pressman had read his mind, though the touch he got to divert the ball still required real athleticism. Just on half-time Gullit was again the provider - for Mark Stein this time - but again Pressman was in unbeatable mood, touching the close-range header for a fruitless corner.

Chelsea's tactic of pushing Gullit further forward did give them an edge in the first half, but his departure in the 58th minute with a calf muscle injury robbed them of constructive purpose for the rest of the game.

Prodded by Chris Waddle, roaming in midfield, Wednesday began to shake the Chelsea defence after the interval. Waddle himself almost broke the stalemate, minutes into the second half when, picking up a short corner, he chipped Dmitri Kharin, only to see the ball bounce back off the right- hand post.

Lee Briscoe and Ian Nolan were ploughing up and down the wings, zipping crosses in front of the Chelsea goal at regular intervals, but always begging for a final touch. Gullit's departure seemed to galvanise the visitors, as substitutes Paul Furlong and Stein looked incapable of unsettling Des Walker - ably backed up by Klas Ingesson and Peter Atherton. Wise and Craig Burley toiled, with Mark Hughes coming ever deeper, in a vain attempt to prise an opening.

Chelsea paraded Dan Petrescu before the game, his fraught transfer from the day's opponents having finally been concluded. Manager Glenn Hoddle is looking to him to add a dash of quality to Chelsea's armoury.