Chelsea got things done at Ewood Park, winning 1-0 despite some, uh... interesting moments at both ends of the pitch. Many will be celebrating the clean sheet and calling for the continuation of the Alex-John Terry defensive partnership, but this is one of those matches that could easily have featured six goals with the scoreline mostly down to luck - Blackburn missed two easy chances and Branislav Ivanovic came within an inch and a half of scoring an own goal from a corner.
Chelsea could and should have scored more goals as well, so luck was working in both ways, but the absolute last thing you want to take away from the game is that we're suddenly reborn in defence. I'll have a full recap later (probably. I could be hit by a bus or something), but for now here are my quick notes:
- Petr Cech put in a heroic performance in staying on through a head injury that saw him being treated for a full seven minutes. Considering that he spent the first 30 seconds following his first-half collision with Ashley Cole on the ground twitching and had to play the rest of the match with a pair of tampons stuffed up his nose, the fact that he played a full 90 minutes was pretty amazing. He's getting a lot of praise for his saves from Grant Hanley and Yakubu, but for the first the ball was shot straight at him as he was lying down and the second was on a shot going wide. Still, impressive that he even stayed on.
- Branislav Ivanovic in for Jose Bosingwa was fairly sucessful. He wasn't awful going forward and grabbed the assist for Frank Lampard's goal, and apart from two horrifying moments in the back was incredibly comfortable at dealing with Blackburn's aerial threat both on long balls over the top and on set pieces. Things went badly when he got sucked towards the ball just prior to Petr Cech's injury and then there was the weird incident on a corner where he hit his own bar, but hey. Mostly good.
- Danny Sturridge's second half performance was extremely impressive. It's like he realised how little support he was getting at striker and then decided that he'd help out more when he was moved wide. He probably should have had a first half penalty, too. It's a shame he didn't finish his two obvious chances. It's a little bit funny that the man you expect to score goals and do nothing else did the opposite, but they.
- This probably deserves a whole post of its own but at times the defending here resembled the Arsenal match. Clean sheets are great and all, but that certainly wasn't the Blues' best defensive display since Stoke City away. So, if we are having a defensive crisis, I don't think it's over.
- I am reasonably convinced that every defender on this team makes the same number of mistakes per match and that David Luiz just takes the flak he does because his are more obviously insane.
John Obi Mikel was basically perfect. In an ideal world, his little battle with Oriol Romeu for playing time makes both of them better, and so it's nice to see a strong performance from him.
I'll let y'all have your MOTM poll now...