Controversy (again) at Ewood Park
You could not blame the most faithful of Rovers supporters to stay at home and watch this from their lounge. Heave rain left the pitch almost waterlogged, whilst a list of injuries and suspensions left Blackburn playing with a make shift line up. Zurab, Jason Roberts, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Martin Olsson, Carlos Villanueva and Vince Grella all found themselves in the starting line up, with regulars Roque Santa Cruz, Brett Emerton, Benni McCarthy, Chris Samba, David Dunn, Steven Reid all out of action.
Chelsea had their own injury problems, but heck, their second string side is world class.....
A sign of the state of the pitch was obvious immediately. A backpass by Keith Andrews, pulled up about 10m short of Paul Robinson, with Anelka stroking the ball past Robbo. Robbo lunged out in an attempt to reach the ball, narrowliy missing it, and fortunately for Rovers, missing Anelka's trailing foot, who then managed to trip over his own feet with an open goal in site.
Paul Robinson was back in the action only moments later, with a delightful cross whipped in by 16 million pound signing Boswinga ( that much for a defender? geez we havent spent that much in about 10 years lol), reaching the head of an unmarked Anelka. His powerful downwards header was brilliantly saved by Robbo. Robinson denied Obi Mikel in similar fashion only minutes later, using his legs in a last gasp effort to keep the ball out of the net.
Rovers then created one of the best chances of the half. A delightful first time cross by Gamst Pedersen found an unmarked Villanueva, who spiralled around and attempted to blast the ball past the wall they call Cech. Within arm's reach, Cech pulled of a fine save to deny what would of been Villanueva's first premier league goal.
Rovers pushed on, however Robinson was back in the action, pulling of 3 delightful saves, twice from Lampard and 1 from Anelka. Tragedy controversially followed for Rovers. A long distance powerful strike from Boswinga, heading wide of goal, clipped Anelka just outside the penalty box. The deflection left Robinson wrong footed, trickling into the goal. Robinson and the Rovers back 4 adamently protested the ball came of Anelka's hand. Replays were inconclusive of whether it hit the hand or knee, but Robinson was adament it struck the hand. 1-0 Chelsea.
Rovers were forced into making a change, with Vince Grella pulling up with a hamstring injury, Aaron Mokoena coming on. At the break, Keith Andrews came of for Matt Derbyshire.
The rain stopped in the second half, and Rovers pushed forward. However, chances were few and far between, with most of the action occuring in the middle half of the field. Rovers did have a great chance to equalise though. Another delightful chip by Morten Gamst Pedersen found Jason Roberts back to goal. He turned his marker inside out,leaving him one on one with Petr Cech. Roberts then lacked the final touch, shooting straight at the keeper.
Further controversy followed, with Morten Gamst Pedersen going down in the box after having his shirt tugged. Gamst was adament he was fouled, and so were the Rovers faithful, but their shouts fell deaf on the ears of referee Chris FOy
Anelka decided to show Jason Roberts how it's done, being placed in the same situation with Robinson charging at him, Anelka dinked the ball over the keeper, and into the back of the net, 2-0 Chelsea.
Anelka had a chance to wrap the game up and seal his hatrick with 5 minutes to go, another one on one opportunity, but this time it was Robinson who came up triumphant, parrying the shot to safety.
Rovers 0- Chelsea 2
Hands down man of the match. The ground MOM went to Gamst Pedersen, but Robbo pulled of some tremendous saves throughout the game, fingers crossed he doesnt have a howler next week.
Paul Robinson 9.5
Danny Simpson 6
Ryan Nelsen 6.5
Zurab K 7.5
Martin Olsson 7
Steven Warnock 6.5
Vince Grella 6.5
Carlos Villanueva 7
Morten Gamst Pedersen 7
Keith Andrews 6
Jason Roberts 6.5
Matt Derbyshire 7
Aaron Mokoena 6.5
Gamst was definately fouled. No doubt about it, when the luck aint there, it definately aint there