It was a scrappy win, scrappier than it really should have been, but it was a win and a clean sheet, so there's an improvement upon the last few weeks.
Matches at Ewood Park provide a bit of nostalgia for me because so far it is the only away ground I've been to. It was a swamp the day I was there, but we did manage a win. Not that I have any special ties to Blackburn itself because of it, because I'm actually usually rooting for them to be relegated. Not a fan. The Blackburn team are tough, though. You might win there, but it's usually not going to be pretty. We proved that yesterday.
The most interesting thing that happened in the first half was Petr Cech's bloody nose. Might as well have placed bets how long it would take to stop bleeding. Once we scored in the second half, the match picked up a bit, but not in the way we wanted. Blackburn were threatening, and, par for the course now, our defense looked shaky.
For the rest of the recap, I've highlighted a few of our players and taken a look at their performances.
Petr Cech: As David Luiz put it on his Twitter, the man is a gladiator. The football gods are trying to destroy his face and skull, but he perseveres. It was a heart-in-throat moment when he stayed down in pain after colliding with Ashley Cole while simultaneously managing to prevent Yakubu from scoring what should have been an easy Blackburn goal. We all cringed slightly when we saw Turnbull warming up. But, a few enormous wads of cotton up the nose, and Big Pete wanted to continue. AVB confirmed after the match that Cech had broken his nose but wanted to continue at halftime. Perhaps even he knew how hopeless we would probably be without our number one in goal. And, instead of being cautious like I thought he might be with his face in obvious pain, he continued to throw himself into challenges. He wobbled a free kick but managed to save the follow-up from close range. Alex tripped, sending Yakubu through nearly one-on-one and Cech saved that as well. He is indestructible.
Branislav Ivanovic: I know people complain that he's slower than Bosingwa and maybe that's supposed to take away from his ability as a right-back, but when the man wants to run forward, he can get forward and to hell with anyone who gets in his way. And if a Blackburn player managed to beat him, he could still usually find a way to get the ball off them and out for a throw-in or something. Not to mention his crossing was excellent today. Not only for the goal, but there was another moment he picked out Lampard in the box and unfortunately Frank blazed over. More of Bane at RB, please, AVB.
Alex: Alex, oh Alex. For a while you were my favorite pairing for JT in the center of defense. What has happened? You started off so well on the first day of the season again Stoke, but the next match you were a mess. In the second half here, he completely mis-timed a header, fell over and sent Yakubu through on goal. Fortunately, JT lurking and Cech being on fire meant we somehow managed to not concede. Alex also gave away the freekick that nearly led to a goal. It may seem cruel to pick on Alex for his individual mistakes when, let's face it, all the guys in defense have been making little mistakes lately, but he has just seemed off his game often when he's managed to get on the pitch. Low in confidence from not being picked? Is he just waiting to get out in January? Who knows. But I like our big Brazilian and want to see him back on form.
Frank Lampard: He can look a bit rubbish for 75% of the match, but he can still provide that one moment of brilliance to change a match. His header from Ivanovic's great cross provided the goal that gave us our much-needed win. After that, there seemed to be more of a fire lit under him.
Daniel Sturridge: I like this kid as well and was thrilled to see him picked as striker ahead of Torres and Anelka. Capello has apparently said he's finally going to get his well-deserved call-up to the senior England squad, so well done! My only comment to him, though: Stop. Falling. Over.
Fernando Torres: I'll go ahead and say it - I am in no way Fernando Torres' biggest fan. I did not want us to buy him, and I have been waiting for him to impress me and change my mind since we did splash out the cash back in January. My mind hasn't changed. I'm glad he's got his supporters who are willing to keep patience with him and find the good things in his performance, but I am nothing but frustrated. Yes, even I can admit he does have his good moments and it's good that some goals have been trickling in lately, but against Blackburn was another performance that had me wanting to punch the TV screen (at least my TV was only under threat for 45 minutes though). When Danny was on in the first half as central striker, I thought we looked positive. And there's my key term - positive. It seems like with Torres on the pitch, a lot of the time he seems to be just passing the ball backward or immediately running into defenders and losing the ball (Malouda - also take note). It's like he just doesn't know what to do or can't make the right decision. He blazed over the bar from about four yards out in the second half, missing a sitter yet again. Maybe he's turning into our 50-million-pound-Kalou.
Who else deserves a mention? Hopefully the three points, however they were picked up, and a clean sheet can start to point us in the right direction. KTBFFH!