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Premiership - Blackburn Rovers Away 9th November 2008 - 2-0


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Anelka Brace Sends Chelsea Back to the Summit

By Alan McGuinness

Nicolas Anelka helped himself to two goals against Blackburn Rovers this afternoon to send Chelsea back to the top of the Premier League on goal difference ahead of Liverpool.

The Frenchman struck in both halves and could have scored his second hat trick in a week, but was denied by a combination of some questionable refereeing and Paul Robinson.

Without Joe Cole, and Didier Drogba, the onus was on Anelka to lead the line and produce a performance.

Within minutes of the kick-off, he could have had a penalty. Keith Andrews’ woeful back pass was seized on by Anelka, who rounded the on-rushing Robinson and then stumbled with the goal at his mercy. Replays suggested there was minimal contact, and Chris Foy waved away the Chelsea players’ protests.

Anelka then had two headers saved by Robinson as Chelsea sought to take the lead.

Blackburn almost went in front midway through the first half, but Cech was equal to Carlos Villanueva’s curled effort, tipping it wide for a corner.

Anelka then forced Robinson into a good diving save from a shot inside the box.

The weather was wreaking havoc, with puddles slowing the ball down and making it hard to keep possession of the ball.

After dominating for virtually all of the first half, Chelsea took the lead in a comic fashion. Bosingwa ambled forward and hit a speculative shot that hit the thigh of Anelka and trickled over the line with Robinson stranded.

The former England keeper might have been able to prevent it from going over the line, but he made no attempt to and Chelsea had the lead they deserved.

There were some doubts as to whether the game could continue, but after a half time inspection the players returned for the second half with the rain subsiding into a drizzle.

The opening stages of the first half saw Blackburn cause some problems for Chelsea and Jason Roberts could have levelled matters after turning John Terry, but Cech managed to keep his effort out.

But then Anelka delivered a sucker punch to Blackburn’s hopes of getting anything out of the game. Lampard slid the ball through to him in the box and Anelka dinked the ball over the onrushing Robinson to put the result beyond doubt.

Lampard almost scored a goal of his own minutes later, but Robinson managed to tip his swerving free kick onto the crossbar.

Anelka was sent through to complete his hat trick towards the end, but this time Robinson denied him.

On the day that he turned 60, Luiz Felipe Scolari has been given the perfect present after Tuesday’s shocker in Rome.

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