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Four-star Chelsea cruise past Blackpool

SoccerNews in English Premier League 19 Sep 2010

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Florent Malouda struck twice as Chelsea completed a routine 4-0 victory over Blackpool that extended the champions’ 100 percent record after the opening five games of the Premier League campaign.

Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba completed the scoring as Carlo Ancelotti?s free-scoring side raced into a four-goal half time lead and took their season tally to 25 goals in six domestic and Champions League games.

Malouda’s double means the France midfielder has now scored six goals in five league games and the 30-year-old’s display confirmed his growing status as one of the key members of Ancelotti’s line-up.

Surprisingly, Chelsea eased off after the interval, apparently content to collect the three points that means they sit four points clear above Arsenal and Manchester United in the emerging Premier League table.

The fixture list handed Ancelotti’s side a generous start and the match against Manchester City next weekend marks their first meeting with one of their main rivals.

But the Italian will be satisfied his side could not have done any more in the opening weeks.

Blackpool, meanwhile, will draw positives from their second half display when they carved out a number of decent chances, albeit against a side that was seeing out the game in second gear.

The visitors’ resistance was expected to be flimsy but manager Ian Holloway might have reasonably expected his side would put up more of a fight before falling behind to Kalou?s opening goal inside two minutes.

From Blackpool’s first touch they conceded a corner inside the first minute and from the set-piece the Ivorian — one of two Chelsea players unmarked at the far post — swept the ball past Matthew Gilks from six yards.

That set the standard for the opening exchanges and Michael Essien came close to doubling Chelsea’s lead in the seventh minute when he fired a rising drive narrowly over.

It was clear, though, the second goal was imminent and it came five minutes later after Kalou had picked out Didier Drogba’s run across the back-four and the striker then showed superb awareness to pull the ball across the face of goal where Malouda completed a routine tap-in.

Blackpool’s worst fears were being realised but to their credit they responded positively, taking the game to Chelsea whenever they could and they even came close to clawing one back when midfielder Alex Baptiste produced a superb save from Petr Cech.

That was the start of the visitors best spell of the game and for ten minutes they pressed the home side back and forced several corners.

The continuing ambition of Holloway’s side was commendable but their willingness to press forward inevitably left them vulnerable, particularly to Ashley Cole’s forays down the left flank.

Blackpool right back Neil Eardley was given a torrid time by Cole and when Essien picked out the fullback, Cole released Drogba, whose shot took a deflection to make it 3-0.

The striker turned sharply and enjoyed a stroke of luck when his shot brushed off defender Ian Evatt and wrong-footed Gilks for the 30th minute third.

Blackpool could have been forgiven for shifting into damage limitation mode, particularly when Malouda stroked home a fourth four minutes from half-time after once again being set up by Kalou.

But there was no sign Holloway’s side’s primary concern was to protect Gilks’s goal and they maintained their positive approach after the break, being denied a goal by a Branislav Ivanovic? clearance.

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