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Blackpool 1 Chelsea 3: Frank Lampard double keeps Blues' title hopes alive

08 Mar 2011 12:42:00

Blackpool 1 Chelsea 3: Frank Lampard double keeps Blues' title hopes alive

When Roman Abramovich paid out ?50million for Fernando Torres in January he had every reason to expect a little bang for his buck, both in the Spaniard's goals output and his ability to bring the best out of Didier Drogba. The Chelsea owner has been disappointed on both counts. Less than a week after David Luiz's volley set up a vital win over Manchester United, Carlo Ancelotti's side relied on goals from another defender, John Terry, and two more from Frank Lampard for a victory that cut the gap on the leaders to nine points. Chelsea also have a game in hand. It would appear the title race is still alive for them even if the partnership between their star strikers is not. Torres and Drogba looked like a pair of reluctant strangers thrown together at Bloomfield Road. Rising to the occasion: Terry heads Chelsea into the lead It was the first time they have started together without Nicolas Anelka in tow, and how they played likeit. After five games, Torres is no nearer his first goal since arrivingfor that record fee from Liverpool, despite facing a team with the worst defensive record in the Barclays Premier League. At times last night he cut the kind of isolated figure so often evident during his final few months at Anfield. Drogba, who has not scored since January himself, was no better. He even frustrated Chelsea fans with his histrionics after a bang on the hip from James Beattie early in the second half before making a sullen exit after 55 minutes. While he sat forlornly on the bench wearing Ancelotti's overcoat, his replacement Salomon Kalou had a hand in Lampard's two goals. Even then a Chelsea side that looked far from comfortable at the back - David Luiz particularly vulnerable - were fortunate to concede only one late goal, from Jason Puncheon. Franks for coming: Lampard wheels away after scoring Chelsea's second from the spot Afterwards Ancelotti defended Torres,saying: 'He will score and I'm very happy with him. He was showing goodmovement with Drogba in the first half and he's working for the team. Game by game, he will improve.' The Chelsea boss insisted the title is still beyond his side, but Lampard said: 'You have to believe. It's along shot and we've given ourselves a lot to do, but if we win all our games we can do it. 'I don't know if we've been given a second chance in the title race. It's too early to say. But it's nice tobe looking upwards rather than fighting to be top four.' Blackpool may have beaten Liverpool and Tottenham at Bloomfield Road this season, while pushing both Manchester clubs all the way in 3-2 defeats, but the prospect of a firsthome win over Chelsea in 46 years was always remote without the suspended Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell, who have scored more than a third of Blackpool's goals in the top flight. Brace yourself: Lampard slides home his second of the evening Blackpool made a bright start last night, David Carney worrying Jose Bosingwa down the Chelsea right, but fell behind to Terry's 20thminute header. Roger Kingson had made a fine double save to deny Torres and Bosingwa but had no chance when the Chelsea skipper stole in unmarked to meet Lampard's corner with a firm close-range header. It was the eighth goal by a Chelsea defender this season, and very welcome on a night when their attackers were hardly flying. Ancelotti's side were four up againstBlackpool by half-time at Stamford Bridge in September and at this stage you would have backed them to grab another before the interval. Infact they were lucky not to be behind. Firing blanks: Torres failed to get on the scoresheet for the Blues once again On 33 minutes, Puncheon seized on Yury Zhirkov's careless flick in midfield and surged past Luiz before rifling in a low rightfoot effort that Peter Cech pushed unconvincingly against a post. Lampard then got back well to block Carney's goalbound shot and Cech clawed away Ian Evatt's cross as it looked to be drifting in. Blackpool v Chelsea - match facts BLACKPOOL (4-3-3): Kingson 7(Halstead 66min, 6); Crainey 6, Evatt 6,Baptiste 6, Eardley 6; Carney 7(Phillips 73, 6), Vaughan 7, Southern 6;Puncheon 7, Reid 6 (Ormerod 73, 6),Beattie 5. Subs not used: Taylor-Fletcher,Grandin, Varney, Kornilenko. CHELSEA (4-4-2): Cech 6; Bosingwa 5,Terry 7, Luiz 5, Cole 6; Lampard 8,Essien 6, Ramires 6 (McEachran 75),Zhirkov 6 (Malouda 72, 6); Torres 5,Drogba 5 (Kalou 55, 6). Subs not used:Turnbull, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Anelka. Man of the match: Frank Lampard. Referee: Mike Dean 6. The introduction of Kalou proved decisive, however, as the Ivory Coast striker linked up with Torres in the 62nd minute, racing on to the Spaniard's clever pass before going down under Evatt's lunge. Blackpool boss Ian Holloway was unhappy referee Mike Dean's penalty award, which enabled Lampard to despatch a rightfooted kick wide of Kingson. 'The penalty was the key moment,' said Holloway. 'We were a bit na?ve but the referee couldn't wait to give it and the bloke couldn't wait to fall over.' Four minutes later it was game over as Kalou slipped the ball through for Lampard to stroke home the third. Puncheon drilled a shot past Cech from the edge of the area in the 86th minute, and substitute Brett Ormerod and Evatt went close to another in the dying moments. Puncheon's goal means both teams havescored in every game at Bloomfield Road this season and kept Blackpool above West Bromwich Albion on goals scored. Holloway said: 'We didn't think we deserved that but when David's swinging his sling at Goliath you have tohit him in the forehead. 'Everything will be a factor in the fight for survival - confidence, team spirit, courage, attitude. If people stay up with that, we have a hell of a chance.'  Chelsea keeper Cech warns rivals: We haven't given up on title dream yetChelsea boss Ancelotti admits: There is life in the old Drog yet! All the latest Blackpool news, features and opinionAll the latest Chelsea news, features and opinion  Explore more:People: John Terry, Frank Lampard, Jose Bosingwa, James Beattie, Ian Holloway, David Carney, Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Carlo Ancelotti, Roman Abramovich, Mike Dean, Nicolas Anelka, Charlie Adam Places: Liverpool, Manchester


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