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Chelsea 4-0 Blackpool: Goal By Goal

I like this picture so much I'm going to use it twice.
I like this picture so much I'm going to use it twice.

1-0 Chelsea (+0.67 pts): Chelsea have more or less uninterrupted possession until a pass by Florent Malouda springs Ashley Cole free down the left wing. Dekel Keinan deflected the attempted cross behind for a corner. With Frank Lampard out, Drogba takes left-sided corners, and he sends an inswinger towards the near post. This has the effect of drawing the entirely Blackpool defence to the near side. Branislav Ivanovic gets the faintest of touches to push the ball through the crowd, and both Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou are unmarked at the far post. It's a little bit remarkable how terrible the defending is here - as the ball is coming in there are nine Blackpool players (including the goalkeeper) in the area, and eight of them are on the near post. The only defender on the far side of the area is on the line and hardly in position to prevent an easy top-in from five yards.

Figure 1: Ivanovic flicks Drogba's inswinging corner to the feet of Salomon Kalou for Chelsea's first goal.

2-0 Chelsea (+0.40 pts): Alex picks up the ball after an Ashley Cole throw in. Blackpool fail to press and leave the defender with an easy outlet to Jon Obi Mikel, who holds the ball for a second before passing forwards to Salomon Kalou. Kalou had made a run deep from high up the pitch, and although he is immediately picked up by Blackpool's left winger, he turns his marker easily and has time on the ball. Meanwhile, Blackpool's line is totally out of shape. Didier Drogba  starts a run through the right channel and Kalou slips the ball into his path. Drogba runs into the penalty area before delivering a square pass to Florent Malouda, who has a very easy sidefoot finish. Gilks, who was clearly expecting a shot from Drogba, does himself no favours by staying at the near post for so long - Malouda is essentially presented with an open goal.

Figure 2: Kalou sets up Drogba to square for Malouda's first goal.

3-0 Chelsea (+0.13 pts): Malouda is in possession in the centre circle after being fed by Alex. He's under no pressure, but opts to slide the ball to Mikel, a few yards to his right. Mikel has spotted Ashley Cole's long run forward and plays a 50 yard pass to the edge of the Blackpool area. Cole brings down the long ball with the outside of his right boot, turning the defender and buying himself a few feet of space. Slightly off balance, he runs the ball a little towards the centre before passing to Drogba, whose back is facing the goal about 18 yards out. Drogba lets the ball run across his body before trying a ludicrous shot on the turn which seems destined to go well wide of the far post. However, the ball clips Ian Evatt and takes a large deflection into the net, wrongfooting the goalkeeper in the process.

4-0 Chelsea (+0.02 pts): Alex Baptiste has the ball just inside the Chelsea half, and is confronted by Ramires. Focused on the midfielder, Baptiste doesn't realise that Didier Drogba is right behind him, and when he stops to asses the situation the Ivorian nicks the ball off him, takes one touch, and sends Salomon Kalou free down the middle with a neat little chip over the defence. The only players in support of Kalou are Michael Essien and Florent Malouda, who are both some distance away. Kalou charges into the area, cuts the ball back, and slides the ball square to Malouda with more Blackpool players closing in. Malouda runs onto the ball and smacks it first time into the far corner. An excellent goal.

Figure 3: Drogba picks out Kalou who squares to Malouda for the fourth goal of the match.

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