Eidur downs Blackburn
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: 23/10/04 5:24pm
Eidur Gudjohnsen stole the headlines as his clinically taken treble helped steer Chelsea to a 4-0 victory over Blackburn.
Chelsea may be goal-shy this season but against a poor looking Blackburn side, Jose Mourinho's title chasers looked capable of scoring at will.
The first period, like the majority at Stamford Bridge this season, was an exercise in patience as Chelsea's five-man midfield kept possession neatly but without invention against a deep lying Blackburn side.
Mourinho chose a miserable afternoon in South London to hand belated first starts for English pair Scott Parker and Glen Johnson and both will be content with industrious shifts.
Blackburn's absence of any attacking intent meant chances were at a premium but the opening stages hinted that Chelsea would create, primarily through the deep runs of Frank Lampard and mercurial promptings of Joe Cole.
It was Lampard that spurned Chelsea's first opening as a combination of Lucas Neill's boot and Brad Friedel's glove deflected the England man's snap shot over the top.
Johnson's advances on the overlap always provided Chelsea's narrow midfield with a wide alternative and when the promising full back broke down the right, his devilish cross deserved more than to be merely observed by his forwards.
Blackburn's endeavours were never in doubt but there was only ever to be one victor in a game so heavily weighted in favour of the home side and thus, when the breakthrough came, the floodgates duly opened.
With Chelsea crying out for invention, the now peripheral Cole obliged and when he scooped a lobbed pass into the path of Gudjohnsen, the Icelander's finish was immaculate past a flat footed Friedel.
A minute later, in the 38th, Lampard played a glorious long pass from left to right to find Gudjohnsen's characteristically clever run.
The striker's first touch on his chest was sumptuous, the second explosive as he fired past Friedel to send Chelsea in to a 2-0 half time lead.
With Chelsea buoyed and Gudjohnsen eyeing a treble, the opening exchanges of the second period began as the first had ended, with the home side in complete control.
Five minutes in and Craig Short's lunge presented Gudjohnsen with the ideal opportunity to cement his role as Mourinho's first choice striker.
The veteran defender's challenge on Gudjohnsen looked just outside the box but referee Graham Poll declined to agree and pointed to the spot.
Lampard handed penalty responsibilities to his team-mate and the Icelander was the coolest man in Stamford Bridge to steer home his, and Chelsea's third.
Hughes introduced Jay Bothroyd and Jonathan Stead but their impact was minimal and it is difficult to predict anything but a long season for the Welshman's new charges.
Friedel needed to be sharp off his line to thwart Lampard and then Arjen Robben, on as a substitute to make his debut, nearly grabbed a goal with a neat angled strike that fizzed wide.
With 15 minutes remaining and Blackburn looking lethargic, Damien Duff took possession from a short corner and drilled a crisp strike past former team-mate Friedel to put Chelsea 4-0 ahead.
Even Mateja Kezman looked likely to get on the scoresheet but when the jet-heeled Robben played in his former PSV Eindhoven team-mate, the Chelsea new boy could only find the bar from six yards.
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|Team Name||Chelsea||Blackburn Rovers|
|Shots on target||7||1|
|Shots off Target||3||1|
|Total Fouls Conceded||11||11|
| || || |
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||35||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||34||33|