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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 21:37 GMT
Chelsea 3-0 Blackburn
By Mandeep Sanghera

Didier Drogba (right) is congratulated by Michael Ballack (centre) and Lassana Diarra after his goal against Blackburn
Drogba (r) set Chelsea on their way to victory over Blackburn
Chelsea showed signs of returning to their best as they beat Blackburn in a win marred by a serious looking knee injury to left-back Ashley Cole.

Didier Drogba raced through and angled in a precise shot to put Chelsea ahead.

Chelsea wasted a number of chances and almost paid the price when a mistake let in Matt Derbyshire, whose weak effort was cleared by Ricardo Carvalho.

But a trademark Frank Lampard piledriver and a Salomon Kalou sidefoot wrapped up the points for Chelsea.

Blackburn had started off by causing some early moments of panic in the Chelsea defence but were stunned when Drogba put the home side ahead.

The Ivory Coast striker ran on to a Lampard pass and showed his strength, power and unerring accuracy as he held off Stephane Henchoz and sidefooted home a shot across goal.

The lead inspired Chelsea and, in particular, Stamford Bridge marksman Andriy Shevchenko, who continued his recent improvement.

Ashley Cole lays injured in the game against Blackburn
Cole clutches his knee in what could be a long term injury

The Ukrainian produced a busy display but, importantly, lacked his usual clinical edge.

He shot straight at keeper Brad Friedel with one chance while seeing another palmed away by the American.

Benni McCarthy headed a David Bentley free-kick just wide at the other end while Stephen Warnock looked set to equalise following a mazy run past three players.

But, just as he prepared to pull the trigger, a sliding Michael Essien robbed him of the ball with Blackburn showing an attacking instinct which saw them pose a persistent threat.

A poor Essien header back let in Derbyshire but he failed to get a true contact as his flicked shot past oncoming keeper Petr Cech was cleared by Carvalho.

606 DEBATE: Your views on the match

The first half ended with Shevchenko sending a free header into the arms of Friedel before Chelsea were dealt a worrying blow with Cole's injury shortly after the break.

Shevchenko shot too close to Friedel with another opening and it was left to Lampard to power in a trademark 22-yard shot and give Chelsea some breathing space.

McCarthy could have made it a nervous finish for the reigning Premiership champions but his header from close range did not have the purchase to beat Cech.

Shevchenko got a handshake and embrace from manager Jose Mourinho when substituted late on as Chelsea appeared to have left their problems, both on and off the field, behind them.

Kalou confidently slotted home to add some gloss to Chelsea's win.

  • Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho:
    "It is incredible because we do not have small injuries. It is big injury after big injury.

    "I think it was Andriy's best game. He played fantastic.

    "In the first half in our difficult period he was fighting for the team like he never did before. He did more than enough to make me happy."

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "They have individual talent that is able to turn a game and get the points for them.

    "I feel that's what has happened. We were very much in this game and ended up losing 3-0.

    "We are scratching our heads somewhat because we have performed but, more often than not, great players will produce for you when you need them to."

    Chelsea: Cech, Diarra, Essien, Carvalho, Ashley Cole (Bridge 55), Ballack, Makelele, Lampard, Mikel (Ferreira 87), Shevchenko (Kalou 84), Drogba.
    Subs Not Used: Hilario, Wright-Phillips.

    Goals: Drogba 6, Lampard 67, Kalou 90.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Nelsen, Henchoz (Samba 79), Warnock, Gallagher (Nonda 62), Bentley, Kerimoglu, Pedersen, Derbyshire (Jeffers 78), McCarthy.
    Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Mokoena.

    Booked: Samba.

    Att: 38,000

    Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

    Wednesday's football photos
    31 Jan 07 |  Football
    Wednesday football clockwatch
    31 Jan 07 |  Football


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