Belfast Telegraph

Blues stop the rot

Chelsea finally stopped the rot as arguably their best Barclays Premier League performance for more than two months saw them beat Blackburn 2-0 and climb back into the top four.

Looking to end their worst run in the league for almost 15 years after winning just one of their previous nine games, the Blues dominated from start to finish at Stamford Bridge.

But they were let down by their final ball in open play, with both goals coming from corners courtesy of Branislav Ivanovic and Nicolas Anelka.

The home side started brightly and Ramires smashed the ball against the crossbar after David Hoilett was slow to react. Michael Essien headed wide, then Didier Drogba fired over before the visitors suffered a 24th-minute blow when David Dunn limped off to be replaced by Premier League debutant Jason Lowe.

Jose Bosingwa blazed over from 25 yards, then a quick 33rd-minute break might have seen Chelsea score, but for a brilliant Gael Givet challenge on Drogba.

The Blues were almost caught out themselves a few moments later when they gave Hoilett space to shoot, and he forced a fine save from Petr Cech, with only desperate defending preventing Nikola Kalinic and Lowe from pouncing on the rebound.

Roque Santa Cruz came on at half-time for his second Blackburn debut, with Kalinic withdrawn, but the new man was almost upstaged by Anelka, who dragged narrowly wide less than two minutes into the second period.

Chelsea took the lead in the 57th minute when Rovers' Morten Gamst Pedersen flicked John Terry's header from Florent Malouda's corner straight to Ivanovic, who held off Ryan Nelson before squeezing a shot past both him and Michel Salgado.

Malouda, Terry and Lampard all went close, before Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson came to his side's rescue again 15 minutes from time when a mis-placed backpass from Christopher Samba sent Drogba clear. The striker should have scored but the goalkeeper still did well to close him down.

However, that good work was undone by more poor defending from the subsequent corner, Ivanovic leaping highest to head goalward, with Anelka making sure from point-blank range.


From Belfast Telegraph