A confident performance gives a needed winChelsea overcame Blackburn Rovers in a solid victory with defender Branislav Ivanvic and Nicolas Anelka scoring the two goals in a game that the Rovers failed to force themselves on leaving Chelsea to punish the visitors.
The first half brought about plenty of chances from the home side, but they never finalised any moves that were devoid of clinical presence. Chelsea forced many a corner from Blackburn, but could not capitalise over their opponents.
After half-time Chelsea started as they left off with more bouts of pressure on Steve Kean’s side which eventually led to Ivanovic’s goal through both clumsy defending and the strength of the Chelsea man. Carlo Ancelotti’s side then began to take advantage of the bumbling Blackburn back four with Ivanovic again getting involved heading on from a corner, leaving Anelka to tap in from short distance.
Chelsea lined up with their usual array of stars, with Carlo Ancelotti keeping faith in Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda and Michael Essien. Ancelotti admitted he was unsure before the game whether he would give his youngsters a chance by playing with the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Josh McEachran.
Blackburn welcomed back first choice goalkeeper Paul Robinson after a long spell out with injury. El Hadji Diouf was demoted to the subs bench by manager Steve Kean and chose to leave Nikola Kalinic as lone striker. The return Roque Santa Cruz was met with a place on the bench for the player on-loan from Manchester City.
Chelsea started with much encouragement attacking the Blackburn box early and winning a corner in the second minute from which Ramires fashioned a shot which struck the cross bar.
Blackburn were able to come back with a shot that struggled to unnerve Peter Cech from Martin Olsson.
Kalinic was almost clean through on Cech, but the ‘keeper was able to pressure the striker off the ball got their first to hold on well.
Ashley Cole was Chelsea’s main attacking threat in the early few minutes working the left side well as he attempted to break the Blackburn defence down.
It was the home side that was dominating, but lacked the fluidity that the Blues had so well at the start of the season leaving them unable to finish any moves.
As the game progressed in the first half Jose Bosingwa started to act with the attacking initiative Ashley Cole was showing so well, forcing corners from the away defence.
Blackburn were finding the first 20 minutes hard and found themselves being battered by the Chelsea front men.
Kalinic was the only Rovers man able to threaten any sort of revive from the visitors, but couldn’t penetrate Chelsea’s back four for any clear chances.
Chelsea’s Didier Drogba was showing early frustrations with a couple of ambitious shots from 25 yards out, but were not enough to test Robinson.
Blackburn’s David Dunn was forced off with injury in the 24th minute for 19-year-old Jason Lowe to have his Premier League debut and started strongly with successful tackles showing good resistance against Ancelotti’s men.
Corner after corner were given to Chelsea, but they failed to capitalise from their opportunities leaving Blackburn to easily pick up the pieces on many occasions.
On the half-hour mark Drogba nearly threatened with a counter attacking move spurred on by Nicolas Anelka, the Ivory Coast man looked offside, but there was no flag and the stubborn away defence battled it out for another corner.
David Hoilet reacted to Blackburn’s own counter move with a powerful shot straight into Cech, rebounding and causing a mad scramble in the Chelsea box which was solved with a big kick away by Terry.
Frank Lampard nearly headed in on 37 minutes from a well placed cross into the box, but hit it over from just five yards out.
Just before half-time Ramires was found unmarked six yards out from goal, but the ball was falling behind him and struggled to get his head on it.
The woodwork spared Blackburn’s blushes just before the teams went in for the break with a delicate touch from six yards out but was too high to create a late half goal.
Chelsea were threatening the Blackburn goal right up until the half-time whistle creating another corner, but failed yet again to make the most of it.
Roque Santa Cruz replaced Kalinic for the second half, Steve Kean obviously not happy with the lack of chances that were being made.
The half started just as the first on had finished with a mass of Chelsea pressure leading to a Nicolas Anelka shot going inches past the far post.
Florent Malouda was booked after a poor sliding challenge on Blackburn’s Mame Diouf after John Terry was lucking to come away without a card on a badly timed tackle on Olsson.
A corner conceded from a sloppy Peter Cech on the 53rd minute led to a Blackburn chance, with Mame Diouf just heading wide under pressure.
The deadlock was finally broken on the 57th minute after poor Blackburn defending from a Chelsea corner gave Branislav Ivanovic the ball from just four yards out and using his strength, turned his marker and poked the ball home.
John Terry nearly added himself to the score sheet on 68 minutes with a free header inside the box, but couldn’t get it on target.
Jason Roberts replaced the struggling David Hoilet on 68 minutes as Blackburn hoped to add another dimension up front.
A poor back-pass from Christopher Samba almost handed Chelsea a second goal with Drogba attacking the ball and getting a shot on target, but Robinson did well to put it out for a corner.
Unfortunately for Rovers the resulting corner led to the nail in their coffin as Nicolas Anelka put in Chelsea’s second of the game. Malouda put the corner in with Ivanovic heading the ball toward goal leaving Anelka with his back to goal to tap the ball in.
The French goal scorer was then brought off on 80 minutes and replaced with Saloman Kalou. Chelsea also brought on young hope Josh McEachran for midfielder Michael Essien.
The home side’s confidence then began to flow as Malouda and Drogba began to take more and more shots from distance to test ‘keeper Paul Robinson.
Chelsea’s other key youngster Danile Sturridge replaced Malouda on 86 minutes and tried to add to the score line with an effort from a tight angle.
Blackburn failed to ever get back in a game they were never really in and Chelsea finished the evening with a much needed confident win.