An unconvincing first half performance from Chelsea was followed by a comfortable second half capped with a fine performance from substitute, Soloman Kalou, who took the game away from Blackpool. Kalou came on after 55 minutes after a injury to Didier Drogba, which changed Chelsea’s style of play. Blackpool had their chances in the first half when it was only 1-0, but Chelsea survived and counted in the second half to make it comfortable.
The game started brightly with both teams having initial shots at goal but they were saved: Carney for Blackpool after he cut in from the left and Drogba, when played through by Torres, but Kingston smothered the ball. The game was open with both teams trying to play football which was hard on a pitch which resembled the seaside beach. Drogba and Torres were failing to make an impact together both lacking in enthusiasm and movement which meant that Blackpool were finding it easy to defend. Blackpool’s main attacking threat was coming down their left side with Carney and Crainey bombing forward to create opportunities but were well seen out by Chelsea’s defenders.
The first real opportunity came when a cross was blocked by Evatt which went out for a corner, from the resulting corner Lampard floated in the ball, Terry lost his man and headed powerfully down giving Kingston no chance in the Blackpool goal to make it 1-0. One piece of concentrations costs Blackpool dear, Chelsea take the lead on 20 minutes and come very close to getting their second, Chelsea dominance led to Torres having shot just blocked by Evatt, the ball fell out to Bosingwa. He cut in from the right onto his left foot, he smashed the ball high towards the far corner, only a world class save from Kingston keeps the score just 1-0.
Blackpool react well after the goal, coming into the game more, winning the majority of the second ball preventing Chelsea from attacking. Blackpool went very close on 33 minutes, Blackpool again win the ball in the center of the park. Puncheon ran at the penalty area, beat David Luiz then he shot right footed, all Cech could do was tip the shot onto the post. Blackpool were right back into the game. Blackpool were dominating Chelsea, Carney has shot blocked by Luiz, Evatt crossed where Cech tipped over for a corner, another cross by Beattie is well headed out by Chelsea’s defenders. Blackpool needed to score while they were on top otherwise Chelsea’s clinical finishing would overcome the challenge of Blackpool. The last action of the first half, Ramires comes in from the left and shot but it was well saved by Kingston.
1-0 at half time, it was harsh on Blackpool who had the majority of possession causing Chelsea to be on the back foot. The champions had one real chance which they took highlighting the clinical nature of the teams at the top. The Drogba and Torres partnership was failing to live up to expectations with both looking lost.
Blackpool started off the second half as they had finished the first, Vaughan shot just wide of the mark and Beattie has a header blocked at the back post where Drogba gets injured. Ancelotti had a decision to put on Anelka or Kalou, he chose Kalou and that is where the game changed. It took 7 minutes for Kalou to make an impact and on 62 minutes, Kalou won a penalty for his team. The ball was played to his feet with his back to the goal, Evatt came in from the side and just about played the ball. The ref had no hesistation and pointed to the spot. A debatable decision with put on the other side, Blackpool wouldn’t have got the decision as it is against the top 4. Lampard confidently stepped up and calmly stroked the ball home to make it 2-0. Kalou had an immediate impact, he had done more than Drogba had done in the rest of the match.
4 minutes later on 65 minutes, Kalou picked the ball up in Blackpool’s half, he ran at the defense and played a neat through ball to Lampard who stroked the ball into the far corner away from Kingston to make it 3-0. Chelsea were cruising now, comfortable and Blackpool seemed resigned to defeat. The game was coming to a quiet conclusion until the last 10 minutes. Phillips dragged his shot wide after a through ball from Reid and on 85 minutes Blackpool got their consolation goal. Bosingwa lost the ball on the right, Crainey found Beattie who played first time to Puncheon. He took one touch before he fired the ball low into the far corner to keep Blackpool with a slim chance of getting something from the game. In the 2 minutes following, Blackpool had a chance to make it 3-2, Phillips got behind the defense and squared to Ormerod who had his shot blocked. From the resulting corner, Chelsea managed to get the ball out.
Chelsea had chances to make it 4, Torres shot straight at Halstead after he replaced Kingston, who went off injured. Malouda had a shot well saved at the near post, Kalou shot wide after he looked to cap his fine performance. Blackpool nearly got a second which would have concerned Chelsea but their quality prevailed cutting United’s lead to 9.
The game changed in the second half when Kalou came on, he gave Blackpool a different thing to work on, his movement was much better than Drogba pulling the Blackpool defense around creating gaps for Lampard to exploit. Both second half goals were created by Kalou and he put the game out of reach of Blackpool. Torres didn’t seem his old self again, his movement was lacking and his touch was again off the pace. How long will Ancelotti give him?
Blackpool coped well without the influential pair Campbell and Adam, they would have helped Blackpool but the kept following Holloway’s principles. Reid, Vaughan and Puncheon all showed quality which on another day would have helped Blackpool to win. Blackpool need to focus on the games against the teams around them to keep them out of relegation trouble.
Chelsea only 9 points behind United with a game in hand and still a trip to Old Trafford to come, they are by no uncertain terms out of this title race.
Next up : Chelsea not playing this weekend, as they are out of F.A. Cup Blackpool also not playing