By Kieran Lovelock
Blackburn 1-2 Chelsea
Chelsea this weekend gave Blackburn a lesson in what ultimately separates the best from the rest- the ability finish off chances when it matters.
Right back Branislav Ivanovic sealed the win for Chelsea with an 84th minute header off a pinpoint Yuri Zhikov cross. However just seconds earlier Blackburn should have been ahead when Jason Roberts did the hard part in beating Ashley Cole only to put it wide of Petr Cech and his far post.
This incident somewhat sums up both teams’ seasons with Chelsea continuing to win when not playing well and with Blackburn yet again performing strongly without finishing the job off.
It was the home team that went ahead after former Manchester City striker Benjani headed home through 21 minutes. Rovers continued to dominate the match but Chelsea showed why they are where they are when their front three successfully combined to devastating effects.
Just five minutes before half time Florent Malouda made a run down the left and crossed to Drogba (photo), who then proceeded to rise above two defenders to head it back across goal for the incoming Nicolas Anelka to slot home. Chelsea were level when the simply didn’t deserve to be.
It was much the same story after the break with Blackburn continuing to dominate. Mame Diouf somehow put it wide after a pinpoint cross from the ever exciting Morten Gamst Pedersen and Blackburn fans feared they may have missed their chance.
Chelsea youngster Daniel Sturridge came on for the anonymous Malouda in the 72nd minute and instantly have the Blues an extra dimension. Straight away he made an impact after narrowly shooting wide from 25 yards, beating Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson hands down.
Then the moment came. Zhirkov picked the ball up 20 yards out and made a run down the left side of the penalty box drawing four Blackburn defenders towards him in turn leaving Ivanovic unmarked at the back post. Ivanovic kept the header down leaving Robinson no chance and Blackburn with only two league wins this campaign.
Chelsea however maintained their five point advantage over Arsenal and Manchester United and this kind of win at Ewood Park is the sign of champions in the making.
Teams Line Ups
Blackburn (4-3-3): Robinson; Givet (Olsson), Samba, Nelsen, Selgado; Jones, Emerton, Pederson: EH Diouf (Dunn 80), Benjani (Roberts 46), M Diouf.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, Cole; Essien, Mikel, Zhirkov; Malouda (Sturridge 72), Drogba, Anelka (Ferreria 90+3).