Chelsea Put One Foot Forward  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 2 Blackburn Rovers 0

Frank lampard congratulates Nicolas Anelka on his goalChelsea put one foot forward on the road to recovery following a 2-0 victory over Blackburn in the Premier League.

Carlo Ancelotti's Blues had been on a woeful run of form and before kick-off they trailed Manchester United by nine points having played a game more, but second-half goals from Branislav Ivanovic and Nicolas Anelka sealed a crucial win.

The home side twice hit the crossbar in the opening period as Ramires and then Anelka went close, but defender Ivanovic showed composure to shoot through a group of players past the unsighted Paul Robinson for the opener in the 57th minute.

Stamford Bridge breathed a huge sigh of relief and soon Anelka made it two, getting the faintest of touches on an Ivanovic header to turn the ball home from a corner.

Blackburn worked doggedly throughout the contest but rarely threatened the Chelsea goal, as the champions earned a vital three points that keeps them in the title race.

Despite reports he might attend the game, there was no sign of billionaire owner Roman Abramovich prior to kick-off.


Chelsea needed no extra motivation to end their miserable run in the league, knowing they could leapfrog fourth-placed Tottenham for at least 24 hours.

And buoyed by Sunday's 7-0 FA Cup thrashing of Ipswich and having recalled all their big guns, the home side flew out of the traps.

A heavy touch from Didier Drogba allowed Michel Salgado to intercept after the striker was played in by Anelka and Ramires smashed the ball against the bar after Junior Hoilett was caught napping.

Martin Olsson tested Petr Cech from 25 yards at the other end as the hesitancy that has dogged the champions in recent weeks began to resurface.

Michael Essien sent a difficult header wide from Frank Lampard's corner, with Blackburn's defence continuing to hold firm in the opening quarter.

Drogba fired over from range 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 as Chelsea began to run out of ideas but a lightning break 12 minutes from half-time might have seen them break the deadlock but for a brilliant Gael Givet challenge on Drogba.

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

An under-pressure Lampard nodded over Bosingwa's cross from point-blank range before Anelka was desperately unlucky not to score when he flicked Drogba's wicked ball against the bar.

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 in.

Malouda talked himself into a booking after a poor tackle on Mame Biram Diouf, who was too off balance to head Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner on target minutes later.

Chelsea finally got the goal their overall dominance deserved in the 57th minute.

Pedersen flicked John Terry's header from Malouda's corner straight to Ivanovic, who held off Ryan Nelsen before squeezing a shot past both him and Salgado.

Malouda fired straight at Robinson as the champions looked for a quickfire second, which Terry should have provided when he flicked Lampard's mishit volley just wide midway through the half.

A well-placed Lampard then got the ball stuck beneath his feet, chipping straight into Robinson's arms before Hoilett was replaced by Jason Roberts.


Robinson came to his side's rescue again 15 minutes from time when a horrendous backpass from Christopher Samba sent Drogba clear.

The striker should have scored but the keeper still did well to close him down.

But 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.

That was the striker's final contribution as he and Essien made way for Salomon Kalou and Josh McEachran for the final 10 minutes.

Lampard's lame finish wasted a great chance to make it 3-0, Malouda's rocket was almost spilt into his own net by Robinson and Drogba clipped an improvised strike just over the top.

Daniel Sturridge replaced Malouda for the final three minutes and Chelsea comfortably played out time.


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Click Here For Official Team Sheet


Chelsea  Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien (McEachran 80), Lampard,  Anelka (Kalou 79),  Drogba, Malouda (Sturridge 87)
Subs Not Used  Turnbull, Ferreira, Bruma, Mikel
Booked  Malouda
Goals  Ivanovic 57, Anelka 76

Blackburn Rovers  Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Hoilett (Roberts 68), Dunn (Lowe 24), Pedersen, Olsson, Kalinic (Santa Cruz 46), MB Diouf
Subs Not Used  Bunn, Hanley, EH Diouf, Benjani

Attendance  40,846

Referee  M. Atkinson

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