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Rovers v Chelsea

Blackburn Rovers

Ewood Park

23rd December 2007


On Sky

Defending has been the key issue this week around Blackburn and the foundations for the perfect test awaits on Sunday. Chelsea, the fallen champions of England who cannot buy their league back, pull up to Ewood Park.

Things are a lot different around Chelsea these days since the acrimonious departure of Jose Mourinho. In fact his last Premiership match was against Rovers when Rovers showed tremendous resilience and defending to leave Stamford Bridge with a goalless draw.

That kind of defending is what has been lacking in recent weeks so it should be used as stimuli.

However, a further hurdle awaits as the back-four can`t settle at the moment through injuries and suspension. Today`s game will see commanding centre-back, Chris Samba suspended so Zurab Khizanishvili could come in.

Vital Quotes:

Mark Hughes says his team must stop leaking goals:
'It isn't just about the back four or five it is a collective thing right throughout the team.
'At the moment we are giving ourselves a little bit too much to do.

'There is a feeling of frustration. It is very evident that is where our problems lie, conceding too many goals, so we are working hard to address it.

Chelsea manager Avram Grant on Frank Lampard:
'Frank is a great player, a great professional. He has a lot of qualities and one of them is to score a lot of goals. He had a bad injury this season and didn't play for a month which is unusual.

'In the last few years he has played in all of the games but he is back with a lot of passion.

Blackburn Rovers Team News:

Chris Samba is suspended so either the unsettled Aaron Mokoena or unused Zurab Khizanishvili will come in.

Brett Emerton returns from his ban and could slot straight back in. The other question surrounds who partners Roque Santa Cruz.

Player to watch: Roque Santa Cruz

Five goals in two games is tremendous considering he was going through a drought. However, despite the goals Rovers has lost both games.

However, he is back to his instinctive best so it is paramount that sevice is good to him.

Although, one thing has come to my attention. We shouldn't give Roque time with his chances because he usually over thinks them and scuffs horribly!

Chelsea Team News:

Chelsea are sweating over the fitness of rejuvenated Andriy Shevchenko so Claudio Pizarro may get a rare start.

Jon Obi Mikel is fully fit after narrowly missing the horror lunge of Peter Crouch.

Player to watch: Frank Lampard

He is creeping into a spate of form and will need to be tamed so that his elusive 100 goal for Chelsea isn't achieved against Rovers. He does have a nasty habit of scoring against Rovers.

Match Facts & Stats

Ref Watch:

Steve Bennet will officiate his first Rovers game of the season on Sunday. So far in his 15 matches he has issued four red cards.

Match Prediction:

This presents Rovers with a very stiff chance of turning their form around. However, sometimes a game against one of the top sides can inspire a team. Rovers will need to tighten up in defence if anything is to be achieved. It will also be important to ensure plenty of quality balls are played into the area fro Roque and partner. However, hoping for a win here is asking too much. 1-1

Next Fixtures:

Manchester City away the day AFTER Boxing Day!

Date:Sunday December 23 2007
Time: 11:13AM

Best of Vital Network


Playing Chelsea is always tough and this won't be any different. It will have to be a magnaminous performance for Rovers to win.
23/12/2007 11:14:00
Come on Rovers! Help us out and destroy the glory-hunters!
23/12/2007 11:23:00
roversman great piece. it will be tough but i think we can get something from this-dont know why but i just think we could sneak something as i feel it has been concentration that has lacked at the back lately but against one of the top four teams we should be switched on for 90+mins well heres hopin anyway and if not they will destroy us!
durks de rover
23/12/2007 15:32:00
Sorry Aamir, not today!
23/12/2007 18:29:00
we lost 1-nil, and i can honestly believe we were the better team, great goal keeping saved about 6 chances, the crossbar saved another 6, should of converted at least one of em i say
23/12/2007 18:34:00
after watchin the game i think it should have been a draw while i think we played well we were very sloppy at times (cost us the goal)! also we need a right back maybe its cos i focused on him a little but emo is now startin to get on my nerves thought he was a little poor today! i didnt realise dunny was playin til bout 30mins into the game(when he fouled ashley cole)! positives though were there we defended a little better (i thought zurab was solid considerin it was his first start in how long) secondly reid was tidy in the middle and pulled a great save out of cech! bents got MOTM but i thought he was wasteful at times!
durks de rover
23/12/2007 18:38:00
Chelsea, the fallen champions of England who cannot buy their league back - ha, ha, chuckle, chuckle!
23/12/2007 19:30:00
and there I was thinking keepers had to pull of great saves!
23/12/2007 19:32:00
Chelsea were very, very lucky today. I felt you fully deserved all 3 points. Carry on playing like this and you might just qualify for the UC.
23/12/2007 20:35:00
We were unlucky today, but the fact we didn't work the goalkeepers enough cost us today.
Hughes Da Man
23/12/2007 20:41:00
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