Date:Monday September 20 2010
19th September 2010 - 16:00
Blackpool struggled to cope with a rampant Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge, as Ian Holloway's men went down 4-0 in the capital.
The manager made one change from the team which beat Newcastle, with Alex Baptiste replacing Brett Ormerod. This meant Baps went into the middle of midfield and Elliot Grandin operated out wide.
Any game plan to stifle the Champions with a slightly more defensive formation was undone within 90 seconds. The home team won a cheap corner and from there the Pool defence were unable to deal with a routine ball into the box, allowing Salomon Kalou with an easy unmarked finish at the back post.
As the ball came in, defenders were sucked to the ball which meant Kalou, who had dropped off, had no problems slotting home for 1-0.
Set pieces were a thorn in the Blackpool eleven all day, with players unsure who they were picking up and where they were supposed to be stationed; it wasn't clear whether zonal marking was being tried or that the Blues were just too savvy to spring clear of markers.
Before the Seasiders had time to settle - which they probably failed to manage until after the break - Chelsea were two up. Michael Essien and Didier Drogba were at the heart of the move, fashioning a close range chance for the in-form Florent Malouda who made no mistake, putting past Matt Gilks with ease on 12 minutes.
Neal Eardley was getting ripped to shreds by Ashley Cole down the left hand side and chances came and went at regular intervals for the hosts. The former Oldham man didn't help himself by a lack of positional awareness as he allowed straight and diagonal balls to loop over him, leaving Cole with the freedom of Stamford Bridge.
The midfield managed to secure a slight foothold in the game after the second went in, keeping the ball for short spells but weren't helped by the gallivanting runs of Alex Baptiste who, as a supposed holding midfielder, was the furthest forward a few times, leaving Pool susceptible to the counter attack.
It wasn't a counter attack which brought the third goal, but an individual error in the middle of the park. Elliot Grandin got caught on the ball which ended up seeing Cole cross for Drogba who had his deflected effort unluckily fly in off Ian Evatt, leaving Gilks helpless.
That was on 30 minutes, and 10 later there was the final goal of the day. Kalou was given far too much room by Stephen Crainey and found Malouda who fired home brilliantly to wrap up the scoring, thankfully!
Going into the break it felt like the Blues could have hit six, seven, maybe eight in the mood that they were in. Sometimes you have to sit back and applaud to opposition and Carlo Ancelotti and his team look like Premiership winners already.
There were chances for Blackpool, but Alex Baptiste saw a long range effort well saved and Dekel Keinan nodded wide from a corner.
Ollie made an obvious change at half time, hauling off the out of depth Eardley to replace him with Gary Taylor-Fletcher (Baptiste dropping to right back), with the midfielder having a smashing game in the second half.
Charlie Adam and David Vaughan were able to keep the ball more in the second 45 after knowing where they stood without a defender alongside them, which meant chances were created for the front three.
DJ Campbell almost reduced the arrears as he sprung the offside trap before his one-on-one shot beat Petr Cech but not Ivanovic on the line.
There were more opportunities to come as Pool produced a more characteristic attacking display. Taylor-Fletcher saw a chip brilliantly tipped over by Cech whilst Luke Varney had a volley fly wide.
Stephen Crainey and Charlie Adam in particular were getting into decent crossing positions but the quality of ball into the box wasn't that of their more established opponents, which was perhaps the most glaring difference between the teams.
There were more chances for the hosts to extend their lead, with Malouda being the biggest culprit for spurning them. Chelsea should have had a penalty in the last minute but Mark Clattenburg was extremely lenient and blew for full time instead.
However, all in all, there will be bigger and better teams who lose by more than four at Chelsea and the players should be proud of their second half performance. Ian Holloway said after the game that we simply weren't good enough in the first half and that is probably the most disappointing thing to come out of the game. As a defensive unit they didn't do themselves justice at all but as Sky Sports noted, the game was a freebie and moving onto the Blackburn game as quickly as possible is the best course of action.
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Date:Monday September 20 2010
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