Chelsea stop the rot and climb back into top four

Chelsea 2 Blackburn 0

Chelsea finally stopped the rot today as arguably their best Barclays Premier League performance for more than two months saw them beat Blackburn and climb back into the top four.

Looking to end their worst run in the league for almost 15 years after winning just one of their previous nine games, the Blues dominated from start to finish at Stamford Bridge.

Both their goals came from corner kicks courtesy of Branislav Ivanovic and Nicolas Anelka, with their final ball continuing to let them down in open play.

The duo also found the net against Rovers back in October to keep Chelsea five points clear at the top of the table, but their efforts today were arguably even more precious.

Despite reports he might attend the game, there was no sign of billionaire owner Roman Abramovich prior to kick-off.

Chelsea needed no extra motivation to end their miserable run in the league, knowing they could leapfrog fourth-placed Tottenham for at least 24 hours.

And buoyed from Sunday's 7-0 FA Cup thrashing of Ipswich and having recalled all their big guns, the home side flew out of the traps.

A heavy touch from Didier Drogba allowed Michel Salgado to intercept after the striker was played in by Anelka and Ramires smashed the ball against the bar after David Hoilett was caught napping.

Martin Olsson tested Petr Cech from 25 yards at the other end as the hesitancy that has dogged the champions in recent weeks began to resurface.

Michael Essien sent a difficult header wide from Frank Lampard's corner, with Blackburn's defence continuing to hold firm in the opening quarter.

Drogba fired over from range before the visitors suffered a 24th-minute blow when David Dunn limped off to be replaced by Premier League debutant Jason Lowe.

Jose Bosingwa blazed over from 25 yards as Chelsea began to run out of ideas but a lightning break 12 minutes from half-time might have seen them break the deadlock but for a brilliant Gael Givet challenge on Drogba.

They were almost caught out themselves moments later when they gave Hoilett space to shoot and force a fine save from Cech, with only desperate defending preventing Nikola Kalinic and Lowe pouncing on the rebound.

An under-pressure Lampard nodded over Bosingwa's cross from point-blank range before Anelka was desperately unlucky not to score when he flicked Drogba's wicked ball against the

Roque Santa Cruz came on at half-time for his second Blackburn debut, with Kalinic withdrawn, but the new man was almost upstaged by Anelka, who dragged narrowly wide less than two minutes in.

Florent Malouda talked himself into a booking after a poor tackle on Mame Biram Diouf, who was too off balance to head Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner on target minutes later.

Chelsea finally got the goal their overall dominance deserved in the 57th minute.

Pedersen flicked John Terry's header from Malouda's corner straight to Ivanovic, who held off Ryan Nelson before squeezing a shot past both him and Salgado.

Malouda fired straight at Robinson as the champions looked for a quickfire second, which Terry should have provided when he flicked Lampard's mishit volley just wide midway through the half.

A well-placed Lampard then got the ball stuck beneath his feet, chipping straight into Robinson's arms before Hoilett was replaced by Jason Roberts.

Robinson came to his side's rescue again 15 minutes from time when a horrendous backpass from Christopher Samba sent Drogba clear.

The striker should have scored but the keeper still did well to close him down.

But that good work was undone by more poor defending from the subsequent corner, Ivanovic leaping highest to head goalward, with Anelka making sure from point-blank range.

That was the striker's final contribution as he and Essien made way for Salomon Kalou and Josh McEachran for the final 10 minutes.

Lampard's lame finish wasted a great chance to make it 3-0, Malouda's rocket was almost spilt into his own net by Robinson and Drogba clipped a improvised strike just over the top.

Daniel Sturridge replaced Malouda for the final three minutes and Chelsea comfortably played out time.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits