Chelsea continued their recovery with another win, as we beat Blackpool by three goals to one, with John Terry opening the scoring, before a Frank Lampard brace sealed an important three points for the Blues.
Last time Chelsea visited Bloomfield Road was almost four decades ago, although it would have been a great surprise if this match would have lived up to that classic encounter in which Chelsea came back from 3 goals down at half-time to win 4-3.
After an eventful weekend in which Man Utd, Arsenal and Spurs all dropped points this was an important game for Chelsea as only a win would make those results of any real substance.
Didier Drogba was drafted into the squad in place of Nicolas Anelka as Carlo Ancelotti rotated his squad with Yuri Zhirkov and Jose Bosingwa also coming into the starting line up.
Blackpool were missing their impressive duo of Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell through suspension as they looked to stop their slide down the table, a run in which they have won only one of their last six games coming into this match.
Chelsea started with the same formation as they did in their last two games – a flat 4-4-2 – with Torres and Drogba playing up front. It started very well for the Blues as we slowly started to dominate the possession.
Soon, John Terry had given Chelsea the lead after he was left unmarked inside the Blackpool box and was allowed to get a free header from a Frank Lampard corner inside the first 20 minutes.
It would have been expected, with players missing, that Blackpool would crumble after conceding so early on, but it wasn’t to be as they too full advantage of Chelsea stepping off the gas after scoring the goal.
Petr Cech, making his 300th appearance in a Chelsea shirt, was lucky to avoid the embarrassment of letting in a goal through his hands as he mishandled a Jason Puncheon shot came which came off the post after Cech had initially spilled it.
This shot seem to give the Blackpool players the belief to move forward even more and test the Chelsea defence, as they enjoyed a decent spell of possession after early Chelsea domination.
Blackpool finished the half strongly, but failed to create any clear cut chances, while Chelsea were guilty of being casual and careless as their passes started to go astray leading to a disjointed end to a half which started on a very bright note.
Chelsea were dealt an early blow in the second half as Didier Drogba was forced to go off with an injury after he took a blow in a clash with James Beattie while defending a set-piece. His Ivorian counterpart, Salomon Kalou, replaced him after some farcical scenes on the bench with no one sure who was supposed to come on.
Salomon Kalou has had his critics in the past, but he was the catalyst for a change in momentum for Chelsea today, as he earned the penalty for the second Chelsea goal of the night. Ian Evatt’s outstretched leg caught the ball, but he went through to Kalou to get the ball and Mike Dean rightly pointed to the spot, with Frank Lampard stepping up to the mark to score his second penalty in a week.
Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou combined once again to make it three on the night for Blues. A well timed through ball from Kalou found the trademark late run of Frank Lampard whose well placed shot gave Kingson no chance.
Blackpool keeper, Richard Kingson, was in goal for the penalty but was already carrying an injury which he picked up while taking a goal-kick just minutes before the penalty incident and was soon replaced by local boy, Mark Halstead, who was making his debut for the Tangerines.
Blackpool continued to push Chelsea till the end and were rewarded with a consolation goal when Pucheon hit a calmly slotted it past Cech.
The concerning part for Chelsea fans were that most of the Blackpool chances came from Chelsea mistakes, be it from the first chance that hit the post or the goal that came at the end.
The win takes Chelsea within two points of Manchester City in third place, and increases the gap between Spurs and us, which would come as a relief for all the Chelsea fans.
Carlo Ancelotti was satisfied with his win, but must have been worried by how his team allowed Blackpool to come back into the game after going ahead early on, he said; “I think that we have definitely come back to playing our football with power, with strength and character.”
“But it was not an easy game. Until the penalty, the game was in the balance. I think that we played well. I am a little disappointed because we conceded the goal. We were too relaxed and so we have to stay in focus for the whole 90 minutes.”
But Ancelotti started that the title is still only a distinct dream and not likelihood, he continued; “I maintain the same idea because we are too far and now we have to continue, obviously, because it is a good moment for us and we have to prepare for the next game.”
Chelsea (4-4-2): Cech; Bosingwa, David Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Ramires (McEachran 74), Essien, Lampard, Zhirkov (Malouda 71); Drogba (Kalou 54), Torres.
Goals: Terry 19, Lampard 61 pen, 65