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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Blackburn 1 - Chelsea 1

Ewood Park

Attendance:

Fortress Ewood Holts Chelsea Charge

Blackburn recovered from an early Didier Drogba goal to earn a well deserved point, bringing the title race closer then what many would have ever expected.

With stand in Goal Keepers at either end, Phil Jones was given a starting debut, a vote of confidence by Sam Allardyce in the 18 year old, given the role of pairing up with Samba to keep out Drogba and Anelka. David Dunn was restored to midfield, dropping in just behind Nikola Kalinic.

Blackburn Rovers: Jason Brown, Martin Olsson, Chris Samba, Phil Jones, Michel Salgado, Marten Gamst Pedersen, Steven Nzonzi, Keith Andrews, El-Hadji Diouf, David Dunn, Nikola Kalinic

Subs: Mark Bunn, Lars Jacobsen, Jason Roberts, Junior Hoillett, Amine Linganzi, Pascal Chimbonda, Brett Emerton

Rovers started of the brighter of the two squads. Neat play in the midfield found Gamst Pedersen free out wide, however he could not cut the ball to the oncoming attackers. Chelsea then showed Rovers how its done. Anelka took his man on out wide, then cut the ball back into the box. Man of the Moment Didier Drogba managed to slot the ball through Salgado's legs, blindsiding Brown who could not reach the left footed strike. 1-0 Chelsea, not the start Sam Allardyce would have wanted.

Chelsea continued to attack down the flanks, with Malouda and Anelka turning it on, looking for the killer ball for Drogba, or the oncoming pressure provided by Lampard. Blackburn did have a few early chances, and were taking the game to Chelsea. Nikola Kalinic was his persistent self, pressuring the Chelsea defence, striking a half volley just over Turnbull's goal. Gamst Pedersen tried his luck with a free kick from 25 yards, though Turnbull was up to the task, parrying for a corner.

Alex was next up to have a dig for Chelsea. After a miss timed clearance, the ball popped up to the wingback, who blasted his volley towards goal. A desperate Olsson launched himself at the ball, blocking it away. Blackburn started to take control of the game, whilst Chelsea resorted to some long ball football. Wait, did I just say that?.....

Debutant Phil Jones brought the crowd to their feet after 3 ball and all tackles within seconds of each other. Jones launched himself to intercept a delicate through ball, then pounced at Lampard who thought he had an easy collection, before sliding in for a third time to ensure Blackburn maintained possesion. Salgado was also holding his own out wide, shutting down Malouda on several occasions.

Chelsea had a late chance to grab a second before the break, Malouda pouncing on a loose ball on the edge of the box, though his powerful strike was well saved by Brown. A string of corners followed, but to no avail.

Half Time Blackburn 0 Chelsea 1

The rain started coming down, but Blackburn were hungry. Within 3 minutes of the restart, Blackburn almost had the equaliser. 18 of the Blackburn 31 goals this season were from set pieces, and it was no surprise that it almost became 19. Gamst Pedersen's long throw in was flicked on by Samba over Turnbull. Fortunately for the stand in keeper, Ferriera was on the line to clear.

Frank Lampard decided to try his luck from distance, and boy he came close. Picking the ball up from 35 yards out, Lampard took a touch and struck a venomous swerving shot, drifitng just wide of Brown's far post. Blackburn made there first change of the night, David Dunn taking a well earned rest, making way for Brett Emerton.

Minutes later, another substitution, though the Ewood Faithful were filthy, with Nikola Kalinic making way for Jason Roberts. Im sure the fans weren't directing this at Roberts, rather the fact that they wanted 2 up front instead of a like for like change.

The boo's turned to celebrations within minutes. A short throw in found the impressive Michel Salgado who was playing in an advanced role. Salgado put in a delightful cross to the far post. El Hadji Diouf, who apart from his continuous ranting all game, was barely noticeable, however, he managed to out position Ferriera, winning the aerial battle and heading into the bottom corner of the net. 1-1.

Chelsea stepped up their game, knowing all but 3 points would be a failure. However, Blackburn were up to the task. A short taken corner by Deco found Drogba, who struck a first time volley. Brown made a stunning reflex save to prevent the Ivorian international picking up a brace. Chelsea continued to pressure the Rovers defence, but Samba, Jones and co were relentless, clearing away at every opportunity.

Nzonzi came of with minutes to go with cramp, Hoillet making a cameo appearance. After 5 long minutes of injury time, the final whistle went, Blackburn picking up a valuable point, whilst Chelsea, dropping 2 very important points

Star Player

Phil Jones- What a performance on debut. Not just a fantastic performance, but he managed to tame Drogba and Anelka. Superb from the youngster, another one from the academy stepping up!

Player Ratings


Jason Brown 7.5

Caught off balance for Drogba's early goal, but did make a couple of important saves to deny Malouda and Drogba

Michel Salgado 8.5

Best game all season, and what a time to perform. Held his own out wide, made several important interceptions, and a brilliant cross for the goal

Chris Samba 8.5

Superb in defence. Won every aerial challenge, something that he must do with his stature. Got stuck in, talked a lot, directed Phil Jones around the paddock and almost nicked a goal of his own

Phil Jones 9

Couldnt ask for a better debut. Superb performance and really looks the goods. Imagine after a few more games up his belt. Well in!

Martin Olsson 7

A touch sloppy from Martin today. Defended well, but lost the ball a few too many times on the attack. Heck, who cares, he defended well and thats what a left back is for!

Keith Andrews 7

Good job by Mr Fix It (best name i could come up for him). Worked hard all game in central midfield, released the ball early

Steven Nzonzi 8

Very solid in midfield. Up against Lampard and co, the young man stood up well, winning most of the 50 50 challenges, and releasing out wide early

David Dunn 7.5

Good to see Dunny back. A few tricky runs ended in a free kick, would of liked him to pull the trigger a few more times, all in all, a good 60 minutes

Morten Gamst Pedersen 7

Solid game from Gamst. A few wayward attempts on goals, but really did work hard. Ran the 90 minutes, a few good interceptions and switch of play

El Hadji Diouf.....

Would have been a 5, but il give him a 7 after the goal. Really cant stand the ranting and raving on, though does bring a smile to my face at 5am.....Well positioned for the goal, and well taken.

Nikola Kalinic 7.5

Toiled hard with no reward, must be hard for the young lad. Would of been good for him to play with Roberts towards the end, just wasnt to be

Brett Emerton 6

30 minutes for Brett, a few sloppy touches, but a few solid interceptions and counter attack

Jason Roberts 7

Actually looked good! Held the ball up well, a few very delicate turns, cant complain!

Junior Hoillet

No time to impress




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The Journalist

Writer: Sasman! Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday March 21 2010

Time: 6:28PM

Your Comments

What a superb performance!!! Had to out dioufy up there, no pics for jones yet!!
sasman
Great game guys .. Thanks for the great result
Born_as_Devil
phil jones... will play for england one day...
rover23
it was a pleasure watching the blackburn back 4 today...samba and jones were massive at the back...salgado was impressive too! this game is a confident booster for us for the rest of the season.
dominator2800
Great result! Hope you do the same to arsenal. Feel free to have the weekend off when united come to town.
tuscan3000
Phil Jones - great debut! A star for the future. T|he thing I liked most about this game was our fighting spirit and a much improved second half performance against one of the league title challengers.
FreidelNo.1
Kudos to you guys,made us look like overpaid mugs.Naturally with Jt in it Chelsea's the team you wanna beat.Put your heart & soul against us then you'll go & over-respect utd or arse as usual.
Chelsea24/7
Well done. Your lot really woke me up and I hope it wakes up some of the guys behind the scenes.
ACLamp
Delighted for Phil Jones!! Great to see another of our academy products stepping into the 1st team, and doing well. There will be more to come from this promising young man. Giving our youngsters a chance is the way forward, well done Sam!
metalrover
aye, phil jones had an absolute stormer of a game! well in lad!
sasman
What superb fighting spirit in that second half. First half we gave them too much time and space. Secodn half we didnt give them a minute and rightfully got a draw. And I dont think we can be accused of over respecting Arse or Man U?!? At home we can get something off anyone if we play with that determination. Phil Jones, a star is born!!!
Mikey Delap
Agreed Mikey - Chelsea 24/7 obviously has his blinkers on! Did we respect Chelsea too much when they beat us 5-0? We took the game to Arsenal and lost, we sat back and defended at OT and lost - at ewood its a different story - remember the league cup game, we outplayed you in the second half and you we l;ucky to get to extra time and penalties! And with regards to utd and arsenal - I want us to beat them more than your bunch any day!
FreidelNo.1
I find it hard to comprehend just how good a debut that was for such a young lad! To have a game like that against Drog and Le Sob is an achievement for established centre backs, let alone a debutant. When he stormed out of defence and made 3 tackles in a row it felt like we had scored (although maybe thats my italian side!). First half was a bit sloppy from both teams but either than (a herrendously nervy) 10 minutes towards the end I thought we had control of the second half. Credit to Sam when he took off Niko. Despite the boo boys being out in force Roberts did exactly what we needed. Ruffled the feathers of some tired Chelsea defenders and won a few free kicks which allowed us to use up a few more seconds. Against top 4 sides even at home I think that if we had played 4-4-2 we more than likely would have been overrun in midfield and gone on and lost. Against Birmingham would be a more appropriate time for 2 up front. This should give us some great momentum for a possible 6 points in the next two games. A solid performance against Brum and then Bring on the Dingles!!
fransavarese
but other than** that should be!
fransavarese
Agreed 100% Fran... 4-4-2 yesterday would have resulted in a loss!!! This gives us momentum, a point we didnt think we were gonna get and some renewed confidence, thumbs way, way, WAY up :)
Mikey Delap
Now i am really excited about Sunday!! I am so impressed with Big Philly!!! I would of been impressed with him making a debut like that against one of the lesser side/attacks in the league, but against Drogba and co i just cannot even take it in!! Excellent, and what does Sam do now?? We he drop back to the bench/ Reserves straight away??!! I thought we showed them too much respect for the first 20-25 mins yesterday, standing off them, giving them an age on the ball, but from that spell where Jones put in those three tackles it boosted the whole team and we kicked on from there!! 3rd choice back four,2nd choice goal keeper, 1st class result!!!!
bennipoo
looks like everybody is pleased, go team vital blackburn!! lol
sasman
yeah its a rare thing sas. ffs vince grella is still injured?! JOKE!!!!!!
fransavarese
thanks for that fran!!!! everything is back to normal!!!!
Mikey Delap
great second half, they where all over us first half - I wouldn't of give the zonz that high - remember that dodgy pass when we had just regained possession, which almost lead to them scoring?
LHrover
great report mate. And what a fantastic result. I think BSA is proving to everyone just how good a manager he really is. Formation, substitution and recruits all came together to show exactly what we can achieve. Do I hear any doubters that we can challenge for europe next year? its a long shot, but with the depth our squad seems to have (6 injuries and drawing with chelsea) why not?
retroflair31
and just to be difficult... i thought Samba had one of those games which deserved a 10. He was absolutely magnificent. A great leader in the absence of the admiral
retroflair31
big time Retro... he was a beast!!!
Mikey Delap
lol you dont have to keep reminding me fran! yes the bugger is injured, permanently!!! lolv ah good shouts all round for all our players how bout someone shouts us a beer!
sasman
Sas is sensitive about the Aussies... tread carefully!!!
Mikey Delap
warming up for the cup mikey
retroflair31
 

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