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Chelsea 3 - Blackburn Rovers 0

Stamford Bridge

31st January 2007. 19:45

Attendance:

Chelsea 3.v.0 Rovers

It was a case of London again, defeat again. Rovers have now played Chelsea three times this season without scoring, losing all three in the process.

Rovers began the game in an aggressive manner but soon found themselves behind. Didier Drogba broke clear of Stephane Henchoz in the fifth minute before stroking an effort past Brad Friedel and into the far corner.

Rovers looked to retaliate but struggled to find any rhythm on Hackney Marshes. Poor first touches and casual passing presented Chelsea with a lot of the ball. They could have doubled their lead inside the opening quarter of an hour.

A smart back heel from Ashley Cole released Michael Ballack down the right. His whipped ball into the near post was met by the onrushing Andriy Shevchenko who stabbed an effort towards goal. He was denied by an exceptional reflex save from Friedel.

Still Rovers struggled to create any chances and constantly looked out of shape with confusion over where Paul Gallagher was meant to be playing. He constantly appeared in the centre but in an advanced role and Benni McCarthy was drifting further and further to the right.

Rovers finally burst into life on 27 minutes when Stephen Warnock surged forward and sliced through a static Chelsea defence. He averted three challenges after a smart one-two with Morten Gamst Pedersen but with the goal gaping he was denied by a wonderfully timed tackle by Michael Essien. Essien`s lunge meant Warnock could not get his shot off or feed Matt Derbyshire.

Derbyshire was making a nuisance of himself and almost caught the Chelsea defence out moments after Warnocks splicing surge. A poor header back to goal was seized on by Derbyshire who touched the ball around the advancing Petr Cech only to see it casually hooked off the line by Ricahrdo Carvalho.

Chelsea responded with a nicely worked move. An excellent first time ball by Lampard found Drogba on the edge of the area who chested the ball down before lashing a shot at goal.

Friedel ensured he had his body in the way but the ball squirmed away from him. Thankfully Nelsen was on hand to launch the ball into the stand before any scavenges could swoop.

The half drew to a close with Rovers on top and Chelsea cynically thwarting them with late and reckless lunges on Gallagher, Gamst and Warnock.

The half-time whistle blew in an evenly balanced game that Chelsea led courtesy of Drogba`s early strike.

Chelsea flew out of the traps at the start of the second half putting Rovers` defence to the sword with a number of efforts on goal.

Many argue that Andriy Shevchenko cannot hit a barn door at the moment but one thing he can hit is Brad Friedel. The Ukrainian had a number of decent opportunities early in the second half but was denied by the giant American on every occasion.

Friedel also pulled off another excellent reaction save from a bullet diving header from the ineffectual Ballack. The German 'superstar` was more often than not overwhelmed and outplayed by Tugay, but he in turn was outshone by Lampard.

The second half ebbed and flowed and could have gone either way. However, Rovers couldn`t generate any chances of note and any inkling of an opening was quickly snuffed out by the energetic and disciplined Essien.

Around the hour mark Ashley Cole was taken off on a stretcher after it appeared that he damaged his knee whilst trying to keep the ball in play.

Shabani Nonda replaced the ineffectual Gallagher but it still wasn`t clear what formation Rovers were playing. One thing was for sure there were gaping holes appearing in the middle of the park and with Frank Lampard`s influence increasing it was only a matter of time until he let fly from distance.

He duly obliged in the 67th minute when fed by Jon Obi Mikel. Lampard took one touch control and with all the space and time thumped a shot over Friedel and into the net to effectively end the tie.

Rovers cut forlorn figures on the Sunday League pitch and failed to materialise a fightback.

A number of free-kicks and corners were hopefully pumped into the Chelsea area but to no avail.

A third completed the win for Chelsea in injury time. Saloman Kalou loves playing against Rovers as he beat the offside trap to slot the ball past Friedel.

Evaluation

Stephen Warnock was again impressive. He gets forward well and links up with Gamst brilliantly. He also showed his more defensive capabilities as well with a number of well timed interceptions and some handy marking.

Paul Gallagher again looked too light-weight as he failed to impose himself in any way. Part of this was down to Hughes` questionable tactics.

It would appear Hughes deployed a three man attack but it inevitably left Rovers exposed in the centre. Bentley and Tugay worked hard but could not compensate for the extra man.

Star Player

Stephen Warnock

He was exceptional throughout. Gave Rovers attacking and defensive options. Lucas who!

Player Ratings


Friedel 7

Made some superb saves but could do little about the goals.

Warnock 8

Excellent defending and attacking play.

Emerton 6

Provided great energy but was often caught of position.

Henchoz 5

Made some timely interceptions but is too slow.

Nelsen 5

Not one of his greatest of games.

Bentley 6

Showed great endeavour and whoever said he isn't tough needs to watch this match. Got stuck in well, particularly into Shevchenko's thigh.

Gamst 5

Couldn't influence the game as he would have liked and his set-pieces weren't brilliant.

Tugay 6

Made some lovely passes and you wouldn't think he is 36.

Gallagher 5

Didn't really have a position and it showed as he drifted.

McCarthy 5

Nothing would work for him tonight and he looked dejected.

Derbyshire 6

Worked very hard and he looks like he will be a star for Rovers.

Nonda 4

Failed to do much even though he played 30 minutes.

Jeffers 4

Little to influence in his 15 minutes.

Samba 5

He is commanding and it looks like he has a corner routine with Gamst already!




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The Journalist

Writer: Roversman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday January 31 2007

Time: 10:09PM

Your Comments

Twasn't a great performance from the lads who will no doubt be happy to have home comforts back on sat. We need a win against Sheff Utd. Warnock looked good again as did Derbs
roversman
Oh also the new evaluation part is inspired by BomBom following his successful match report. Cheers BomBom! I think it adds to the report.
roversman
Not the greatest night we'll have in London but 3-0 was a bit flattering on Chelsea though wasn't it? Chelsea punish you if you don't take chances, or half chances don't they. Warnock is some player, with the injury to Cole (hope it isn't too bad?) could he maybe sneak into the England squad jointing Bents?!?! we'll beat Sheff Utd on Saturday.
Hughes Da Man
This game could of well been ours. WHilst we all have praised Derbyshire recently, he missed 3 good chances, 1 sitter. First 2 minutes couldnt put one from 5 yards, then another shot got cleared of the line and finally he didnt control the Maestros through ball. Maybe we are rushing the kid too much, but then again, Shevchenko missed about 7
sasman
I know he's my favourite so I'd defend him but think saying the first was a sitter is a tad unfair. Personally I think he'll only gain from keep being played, will set him back if he's left out on a regular basis for anyone other than JR as he's deserving a place more than Nonda or Jeffers. The encouraging thing for me is Derbs is getting into these positions whereas Nonda wasn't really was he? I'm very much hoping Derbs starts again at the weekend as opposed to Nonda or Jeffers.
Hughes Da Man
Thanks for the props James, glad it was up to your standard! as for the Gamst/Samba link up LMAO! thats class, its like the new Anderton/Sheringham link at corners but without the goals.. so far anyway. Just out of curiosity, did u see the Luton game? if you did, whop wouldve been your MoM? If it wouldve been the same, its safe to say that we got a bargain AND a very decent left back!
BomBom
I also wonder if Jose wouldve come out and praised us if we had taken the 3 points! We play physical and win "Rovers are ruffians!" we play attacking football and lose "fair play, they play good football" Funny how other managers like us more when we are gifting them goals and chances! Henchoz looked very vunerable last night, I dont understand why we didnt keep the same formation from Luton, ok I know why he moved Emo back to RB, ashley cole, but still, that diamond may have worked with Bents there instead of Gally, he had no effect, it took me 25 minutes to work out where he was playing in the team lol. If anyone wants to have a chat on MSN, add this mail address, its a dead mail address but it works for msn Dale@daled.demon.co.uk
BomBom
We're damned if we do, damned if we don't. We play football and get beaten (but a team who commited more fould I might add!) we don't and get branded "thugs". Gally was dare I say it pointless last night to a degree. The corner thing will come off... one day! It's funny Mourinho is blurting on about "we only get bad injuries", sure they've missed Joe Cole most the season, and Cech, Terry short term long term and Cole looks bad but try losing the spine of your side for the whole season, think we've had more than a few "serious" injuries this season! As for the chat thing BomBom, I'm working on something, it's something I've planned for a while, your suggestion re-ignited it for me!
Hughes Da Man
cool beads M8, the offer still stands however, to anyone, until HDM gets something going.
BomBom
It still stands even when I have you guys chat away, I'm not greedy I'll happily share :) I'm going to be putting an article on shortly advertising what we offer (to try and get more membbers) annd what we hope to offer, the online chat thing will then be mentioned then so people can then put forward when would be best for them.
Hughes Da Man
Yeah, we can all congregate after the match and moan about the ref, now lucas has gone we have to find something to gripe about lol
BomBom
Hey BomBom. Thanks for the kind words. Yeah I managed to watch the Luton match and I would have given the MoM to either Derbys or Warnock. He does look class I have been well impressed so far. As for chat, I'll add your msn link to mine soon. Also what does LMAO mean?
roversman
Noprobs J, ill keep an eye out for you, also LMAO Laughing My A*se Off! Keep up the good work
BomBom
 

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