Blackburn Rovers were once again left to rue what might have been as Chelsea star Frank Lampard clinically finished Ivanovic’s powerful cross, heading home from 6 yards to take all 3 points.
For the first time in Steve Kean’s reign, Blackburn maintained the same starting 11 for concescutive games.
Lowe, Samba, Givet, Olsson
Hoilett, Gamst, Rochina
The warning bells were ringing from the outset as Chelsea managed to find plenty of space down the flanks, with the pace of Malouda and Mata giving the Rovers fullbacks something to think about. The first real opportunity was created through this manner, Malouda dashing down the left flank before crossing in for Sturridge, well saved by Robinson. Sturridge continued to prove to be an outlet for Chelsea, playing the target man role up front, narrowly failing to poke home from 6 yards as the ball just eluded his outstretched boot.
Blackburn though did create the chance of the game, which did result in a head clash between Petr Cech and Ashley Cole. Junior Hoillet found Formica in space via a delightful through ball. A confident forward would have bended it to the far post, however Formica cut it back across for Yakubu, who should of buried, rather trickled it wide of goal as Cech and Cole clashed whilst attempting to make the clearance. Play was stopped as Cech suffered what was later said to be a broken nose, however he continued to play on.
One of the most controversial moments of the game actually occured off the field, and has left a split between Rovers fans. As the club had banned banners before and throughout the game, protesters managed to raise funds for a plane to fly the Steve Kean out banner over Ewood Park for 10 minutes, a sign to show that the protesters would not be silenced.
Ruben Rochina started to find space as the half drew to a close, a couple of tame efforts outside the box did not test the keeper though. Sturridge was denied a penalty after clashing with Olsson in the box, referee waving play on.
Half Time 0-0
Rovers started the second in a lively manner, however were put to the sword via a swift counter attack. Ivanovic skinned Hoillet down the right flank, drilling in a cross for Frank Lampard who dived unmarked, powering a header into the corner of the goal. 1-0 Chelsea
Blackburn should of equalised only minutes later. Gamst Pedersen drilled his free kick from 25 yards, Cech only able to parry the ball. Grant Hanley, a late substitution for Chris Samba, only managed to send the ball back at Cech from 6 yards with the goal at his mercy.
Rovers would not go down without a fight. Yakubu outmuscled his marker after a clearance by Paul Robinson, however his effort was saved by Cech. Rochina and Formica linked well down the right flank, but this time Ashley Cole was on hand to block Formica’s volley. David Dunn came on for Rochina with 15 to go.
Chelsea were counting their blessings with only 4 minutes to go, a Gamst Pedersen corner headed onto the crossbar by Ivanovic, Rovers unlucky not to claim an equaliser. Despite being 1-0 down, it is always a laugh when 50 million pound man Fernando Torres misses a golden opportunity, and he did so again, volleying over from 3 yards.
Fortunately for Chelsea, this did not affect the result as they managed to leave Ewood Park with all 3 points
Paul Robinson 6.5
A few decent saves, could not do much about the goal conceded. Would be dissapointed with some of his distribution
Jason Lowe 6
Another solid performance from the young man. Picked up a yellow which does mean he will miss the next game
Chris Samba 5
Off with a hamstring injury. It does look bad, and adds to the injury toll…
Gael Givet 7
Has turned his season around in recent weeks. The warrior is back, putting in another stellar display with some solid tackling, aerial strength and prescence
Martin Olsson 6.5
Seemed to enjoy more freedom and space down the left flank. Started off on fire, faded as the game went on
Steve Nzonzi 6.5
Workhorse in midfield. Does the job quietly and moves on. Player that every team needs
Morten Gamst Pedersen 7.5
Junior Hoillet 5
Poor performance from Junior. Apart from the delightful through ball, did nothing and was lazy in defence. Transfer talk getting to his mind?
Ruben Rochina 6
Faded in and out of the match, something we are coming to expect. Signs of talent, signs of greediness
Mauro Formica 6
Similar to Ruben, needs to pick his time to do the tricks, rather than go all out
Should of buried the chance, pressure was there but strikers are paid to finish