Monday, September 20, 2010

Chelsea 4-0 Blackpool

Chelsea have continued their perfect start to the season with a ruthless first half performance to dispatch Blackpool 4-0 inside Stamford Bridge and cement their position at the top of the Premier League table.

Carlo Ancelotti's side went ahead within two minutes courtesy of Salomon Kalou and it was all downhill from there for Ian Holloway's side, as a relentless Blue tide washed all over The Seasiders.

Florent Malouda pounced to put the Blues in comfort and then Didier Drogba got involved in the act before Malouda found a second to put the Premier League leaders into a commanding 4-0 half-time lead. And that was the way it stayed as Chelsea conserved energy for the rest of the match and claimed what is becoming a routine three points.

After missing the victory over MSK Zilina in midweek, there were returns for Ashley Cole and Drogba in the Blues' starting line-up, with Brazilian summer signing Ramires handed his first full Stamford Bridge debut. Frank Lampard and John Terry both missed out through injury however, with Branislav Ivanovic replacing the latter in central defence.

Blackpool made one change from the side that secured victory away to Newcastle last week, with Alex Baptiste selected ahead of Brett Ormerod.

Four consecutive victories and 17 goals have stormed Chelsea to the top of the Premier League pile and the Blues served notice for more of the same when they breached Blackpool within 2 minutes.

From a corner, Drogba crossed to the far post, and with the opposition defence looking like they were still sleepy from the coach journey down, Kalou was left unmarked to smash home for the earliest of leads.

It was the worst possible start for The Seasiders and worryingly for them, Ancelotti's Chelsea keep coming forward like a relentless machine when they go ahead at home.  And so it transpired, with Blackpool overrun in all quarters of the pitch as the ball was pinged around them menacingly.

Michael Essien was next to threaten after the ball was squared to him just outside the box, his vicious drive going just wide of the top-left post.

And the Ghanaian came even closer on the ten-minute mark. He's scored from corners recently and from a left corner this time, Blackpool were again all over the shop and Essien was nearly allowed to bundle the ball over the line. As it was, Mathew Gilks just did enough to desperately push the ball out from his area.

It was a warning though and minutes later, the Londoners went two up.

It was all too easy for Chelsea to break forward and on this occasion, Malouda, Drogba and Kalou cut up the field like a trident with the 'Pool midfield scrambling to catch up. Kalou acted as a decoy and this allowed Drogba to storm into the box and square to Malouda who had the easy task of stabbing the ball into an empty net for his second.

To their credit, soon after conceding the second, Blackpool had their first effort at goal and it was a decent one. A rare sortie up-field by The Seasiders saw Dekel Keinan spot Luke Varney in space and the forward turned and unleashed an accurate shot that arrowed its way to the bottom corner and required a good save from Petr Cech to tip round the post.

But Chelsea were playing beautifully now and looked like they were trying to match Arsenal with consecutive passes leading up to a third goal. The Seasiders were chasing shadows and their defence looked like rabbits caught in the headlights.

Ramires and Essien were dominant in midfield while Cole was wreaking havoc with the space he was given down the left channel. And the left-back was the catalyst for the inevitable third when Neal Eardley, neglectful of his defensive duties all game, was twisted silly by Cole who cut into the box and found Drogba. The Ivorian turned and shot and the ball, taking a deflection off Keinan on the way, nestled into the back of the net.

For a few minutes after the third, the Blues stormed forward with even greater intensity as the crowd went wild. Kalou was now cutting in from the right as well, with Cole doing likewise on the left and the two combined to nearly create a fourth but Gilks was in the right place to snatch Cole's cross-shot towards the far post.

On the 40th minute, the fourth did arrive. Drogba created with a lovely dink over the 'Pool backline to release Kalou and the Ivorian delivered an excellent square ball across the goalmouth where Malouda was waiting to bury it across the 'keeper.

King Salomon | Kalou's early, early opener opened the floodgates at the Bridge

The second half started understandably quieter, although suprisingly it was Blackpool who created the first chance, and it was the best of the match for them so far.

An excellent short ball from Baptiste allowed D.J Campbell to break from the shoulder of the Blues defence and the forward beat the onrushing Cech but Cole was there to clear off the line.

Showing good spirit, 'Pool continued to try and play and Campbell nearly latched onto another ball into the box only for Alex to make a last ditch clearance.

It was clear Holloway had got his side playing better now. Whether Chelsea were conserving themselves or not, The Seasiders had now had more chances in the last 15 minutes than they had the entire game up until this point.

On the 58th minute, they threatened again by working the ball neatly up to Ian Evatt who passed to Gary Taylor-Fletcher in the box. The ball stuck to his feet and moving it to the side, he curled towards the top corner but Cech was adept enough to tip it out.

But Chelsea weren't completely cruising though and Malouda's eyes lit up in search of a hat-trick when he was played through by Essien. Another break reminiscent of the rampant first half caused the visitors all sorts of problems and Malouda powered into the box into a one-on-one with Gilks. This time though, the 'keeper came off the better as Malouda stumbled about the ball before his shot was smothered.

It looked like Blackpool had pulled one back minutes later when another decent move from the visitors saw Charlie Adam square into the box from the right of goal but sub Marlon Harewood hit inches the wrong side of the near post.

Soon after and again the home side showed their teeth momentarily as they clearly looked to be conserving energy as the game wound to a close. The ball was carried by Essien down the right channel and his shot fell to the feet of Cole at the back post. With the keeper occupied the other side of his goalmouth, Cole shot towards an empty net but Keinan was there to clear and avoid further embarrassment.

Drogba continued to threaten up until the final whistle but Holloway's side were determined to shut out the Londoners in the second half and this they managed, as Chelsea take another three points to continue their perfect start to the season.

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