Chelsea cruise against Blackburn Rovers ahead of Champions League final in Munich
Chelsea 2 Blackburn Rovers 1
Chelsea celebrated after the final whistle yesterday by parading the FA Cup around Stamford Bridge, which summed up the lack of relevance of the previous 90 minutes. The only interest in a low-key victory was what it said about a slightly bigger occasion in Bavaria on Saturday.
For Roberto Di Matteo, the interim head coach, naming yesterday's team was a way of telling certain players that they would not be playing a key part in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich. So Romelu Lukaku, Ryan Bertrand and Sam Hutchinson started, alongside the quartet suspended for the match in Munich, while Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba were among the substitutes and Frank Lampard and Petr Cech were not even put at risk of splinters from the bench.
Florent Malouda and Daniel Sturridge might conceivably have been auditioning for a place in the starting line-up, but Malouda left early as a precaution with yet another hamstring injury – David Luiz and Gary Cahill remain doubts with the same ailment – and Sturridge fluffed his lines in front of goal on a couple of occasions.
Getting it right in the Allianz Arena could decide whether Di Matteo is given the job on a permanent basis, but yesterday he suggested that winning or losing might make no difference. "But I don't have a problem with it," he said. "It has been great. We have had a very intense nine weeks here together and we are all looking forward to next Saturday. It has been very emotional as well because I feel very responsible for this club."
While Chelsea pack for Germany, Blackburn can contemplate possible trips to Milton Keynes or Stevenage. The second-half replacement of Yakubu with David Goodwillie seemed to encapsulate a transition from Premier League to Championship.
The 21-year-old goalkeeper Jake Kean's performance prompted the unusual sound of Blackburn fans applauding a man named Kean, but he was powerless to prevent John Terry heading home on the half-hour. Raul Meireles drilled in a low shot four minutes later, and Yakubu halved the deficit in a second half whose levels of commitment recalled a particularly relaxed testimonial match.
Chelsea: TURNBULL, HUTCHINSON, IVANOVIC, TERRY, BERTRAND, MEIRELES, ESSIEN, MALOUDA, STURRIDGE, LUKAKU, RAMIRES
Blackburn: HOILETT, KEAN, MARTIN OLSSON, GIVET, DANN, HENLEY, MARCUS OLSSON, PEDERSEN, LOWE, FORMICA, YAKUBU
Scorers. Chelsea: Terry 31, Meireles 34. Blackburn: Yakubu 60
Substitutes: Chelsea Ferreira (Malouda, 43), Drogba (Lukaku, 54), Torres (Hutchinson, 69). Blackburn Morris (Formica, h-t), Rochina (Pedersen, 70), Goodwillie (Yakubu, 75). Booked: Chelsea Bertrand. Blackburn none.
Man of the match Lukaku. Match rating 6/10.
Possession: Chelsea 65% Blackburn 35%.
Attempts on target: Chelsea 5 Blackburn 5.
Referee L Mason (Lancashire). Attendance 40,742.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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