CHELSEA

V

BLACKBURN ROVERS

 

Stamford Bridge, London

15:00 Hrs GMT, Sunday, 13th May

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Chelsea locks horns against a down and out Blackburn Rovers side at Stamford Bridge in their last premier league match. The match is more of a dead rubber for both the sides, as any result in this match would have no impact on the standings of the teams in the table.

Chelsea come into this match after a disheartening loss to Liverpool in the midweek, which saw Chelsea register their third home loss of the season (ten in total). The pensioners are currently slotted at sixth position in the league table, and any result today won’t change anything related to their positioning on the table. Chelsea’s sixth position finish is their worst since the 2001/02 season, under Claudio Ranieri. Chelsea have only won two of their last six matches and would look to finish strongly at home before the big final in Munich next weekend.

Blackburn Rovers, as a club, are going through torrid times as the former Premier League champions’ relegation got confirmed after a bleak rain soaked night at Ewood Park last Monday. The Riversiders got their fate in the league stamped after they were humbled by a travelling and in form Wigan side. Marrying angry fans with hostile board isn’t the best of situations a club can find to be into before they travel to face off against Chelsea in their own backyard.

Blackburn have lost six of their last seven scheduled matches in the league and let in a mammoth seventy nine goals this season. It looks all dark and gloomy for the Blue and Whites on the road as they have only managed to garner a meager total of twelve points this season, including a fabulous away victory at Old Trafford.

Team News and Tactical Brief

Chelsea

As the game has virtually no impact anywhere, the Londoners would be looking to appease the faithful in their last home game of the season, and the players would be looking to play out an injury free and a sound game before the final in Munich. Chelsea could deploy a young side that would be given the license to play freely and impress the senior team coach today. Also the players like Ramires, Ivanovic and Meireles, the ones who are suspended for the final could be mixed up in the starting line-up. Ryan Bertrand, birthday boy Romelu Lukaku and Hutchinson could be seen in the starting line-up today. Brazilian Paizon has had a great season for the youth team and he could be rewarded with a first team appearance too.

David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Obi Mikel are out due to injuries as the trio try to get fit before the final. Roberto Di Matteo is expected to deploy a 4-3-2-1 formation, with Torres upfront. Kalou and Sturridge are expected to fill in the forward positions from the right and left flank respectively. Romeu will sit in front of the back four of Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry and Bertrand. Hutchinson and Ramires will make up the attacking midfield part. Turnbull is expected to be the custodian today.

Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1):  Turnbull; Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand; Romeu, Ramires, Hutchinson; Sturridge, Kalou, Torres

Blackburn Rovers

The downhearted side would be divided in the dressing room as they look forward to quickly finish off the pathetic season as soon as possible. They are fated to finish nineteenth this season. Steve Kean is expected to lodge in a few youngsters from outside the first team to boost the low on confidence squad. A lot of the senior players would be playing to keep their places in the team as the Riversiders look down the barrel. A mixture of youth and the old could cook up uncertainty for the hosts.

The manager is expected to organize a 4-4-2 formation with Kean in goal for the visitors. Yakubu and Modeste are expected to lead the attack today. Dann and Givet will have their task cut out at the back as they look to marshal the defense. Hoillet and Pedersen would be aiming to produce some crosses form the flanks. Defender Bradely Orr, Steve Dunn and Paul Robinson sit out the last premier league game of the season for the Blue and Whites due to injuries.

Probable Starting Line-up (4-4-2): Kean; Lowe, Dann, Givet, Mn Olsson; Hoilett, Dunn, Rochina, Pedersen; Modeste, Yakubu

 Key Match Facts

  1. Blackburn have only won a single match out of twenty four matches, where their opponents have opened the scoring.
  2. Chelsea have won nine and drawn two of their eleven premier league matches against Rovers. Last time Rovers won at the Bridge was in 2003 when Yorke and Dunn scored.
  3. Blackburn haven’t scored in their last five visits to the Stamford Bridge.
  4. Frank Lampard scored a brilliant header from an Ivanovic cross just after the half time in the corresponding fixture this season, to clinch all three points at Ewood Park.

TheHardTackle’s Player to Watch Out For

Ramires - Right on the money !

Look out for Chelsea’s Brazilian number seven on the pitch today. Ramires is out of the Champions league final and would be looking to bring his ‘A’ game on the pitch, especially after winning the Players’ Player of the Year Award and goal of the season awards at the recently concluded Chelsea Awards Night in London last week.

TheHardTackle’s Prediction

Chelsea 3-0 Blackburn Rovers

The Blues will start as favorites for this fixture as Blackburn are expected to put up very little fight in this inconsequential match. With some youngsters eagerly waiting to impress the fans, a free flowing game is expected from the pensioners.

TheHardTackle’s Blast From The Past