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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Win over Blackburn turned sad with Cole injury

Mourinho's team kept pace with leaders Manchester United with a 3-0 victory over Blackburn but their defensive resources were hit once more when Ashley Cole was stretchered off in agony with a bad knee injury.

Indeed, the British footballer was chasing a ball towards the left touchline in the 58th minute at Stamford Bridge when his left knee appeared to buckle beneath him and he fell to the turf with no other footballer in sight.

Ashley Cole was just beginning to find form for the first time since his controversial transfer from Arsenal FC last season.

We must mention that coach Jose Mourinho was also just preparing to welcome back captain and central defender John Terry after a month on the sidelines. Chelsea have also suffered recent injuries to Terry's centreback partner Ricardo Carvalho and winger Joe Cole.

The Porutguese manager will make noises that his squad will not be able to cope with another loss, but Wayne Bridge appears set to have a spell in which to prove himself as more than just an able deputy to his long-time England rival.

Furthermore, it was perhaps too much for Chelsea to hope that a victory would help them cut into Manchester United's six-point lead, but the Blues did at least manage to record another dull but effective triumph against mid-table opposition.

Once again, it was a really bad night for Andriy Shevchenko, who missed three good chances to score, but Didier Drogba maintained his remarkable consistency with another goal which saw him increase his tally to 23 in all competitions.

We must mention that in the sixth minute Frank Lampard picked up a loose ball in the centre circle and released Drogba with a perfectly weighted pass. The former Marseille striker outpaced Stephane Henchoz and put the ball wide of Brad Friedel and inside the far post for the opener.

Blackburn coach Mark Hughes, himself a former Stamford Bridge favourite in the twilight of his stellar career, was left stunned as his team had made an encouraging start.

The popular Frank Lampard, one of Chelsea's most reliable performers, was on hand in the 66th minute to hit a superb strike to make it two.

Jon Obi Mikel drifted in from the left and played the ball to Lampard, who advanced a few yards before unleashing a vicious, swerving effort which beat Friedel and found its way to the goal.

The "Blues" were then able to enter their comfort zone, but to their credit they decided not to and it was no surprise when they scored a third goal in stoppage time.

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