Chelsea keep the Pressure on Liverpool


Guus Hiddink

Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka eased Chelsea to victory over Blackburn in their final home game of the season. The Blues put up a solid performance against their Lancashire opponents to follow up their emphatic win at Emirates Stadium last week.

Anelka played his part in the opening goal with a timely cross to a leaping Malouda who pulled off a stunning header to give Chelsea the lead after just a few minutes of play. Anelka then doubled the scoreline on the hour mark with a powerful low shot past Rovers keeper Paul Robinson, bringing him level with Cristiano Ronaldo on 18 goals in the race for the Golden Boot.

Coach Guus Hiddink then took a bow as he left the pitch after his final home game in charge following a brief stint at the helm of the London club. Chelsea, who have a slim chance to catch Liverpool in runners-up spot, started brightly, and took the lead after just four minutes.

Anelka escaped down the right, before whipping the ball back onto the penalty spot, where Malouda arrived on queue to crash a bullet header past Robinson into the corner. Rovers had a chance to get quickly back on level terms, but captain Ryan Nelsen headed El-Hadji Diouf’s right-wing cross over from six yards.

After 10 minutes, Anelka almost made it 2-0 when he touched Ashley Cole’s cutback goalwards, but Robinson produced a fine reaction save. Rovers are much improved under Sam Allardyce, who has guided them safely out of the relegation zone, and the visitors enjoyed a spell of possession. Frank Lampard made a timely block as Vince Grella sent a shot goalwards from the edge of the area. Chelsea then went up the other end – where all-action England midfielder Lampard struck the crossbar after being played in by Anelka. Cole saw his scuffed effort saved, at the second time of asking, by Robinson in the 21st minute.


Chelsea continued to press forwards and Givet, from under his own crossbar, was alert to hack away Malouda’s chip over the goalkeeper. Blackburn were forced into a change just before the break when skipper Nelsen limped off to be replaced by youngster Aaron Doran as the visitors reshuffled their line-up, moving makeshift striker Chris Samba back into defence. Chelsea continued in determined mood following the restart and doubled their lead after 59 minutes. Cole’s ball in was missed by Malouda, but Didier Drogba touched back for Anelka on the edge of the Blackburn penalty area.

The French striker needed no second invitation, and drilled in his 18th league goal of the season, to draw level with United forward Ronaldo – as chants of “Guus Hiddink, we want you to stay” rang out around Stamford Bridge. Anelka almost made it 3-0 after 72 minutes, but dragged an angled shot just wide on 72 minutes. Blackburn veteran Tugay – set to leave Ewood Park at the end of the season – had a swerving shot kept out by Petr Cech. Robinson produced a fine reaction save from Anelka at point-blank range during stoppage time before Chelsea and their departing coach all enjoyed a lap of appreciation after the final whistle.


~ by awbroady on May 17, 2009.

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