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[Archived] Rovers 0 Chelsea 2


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Blackburn hosts defending champions Chelsea Sunday afternoon at 16:00 (the new US TV Schedule makes this no longer a pay-per-view match!) at Ewood Park. Last season the clubs split their 2 matches with Chelsea winning 4-2 at Stamford Bridge and Rovers winning the return match 1-0 against the newly crowned champions.

Both clubs have begun the season below expectations, with Rovers losing to Portsmouth away 3-0 before holding on for a 1-1 draw at home against Everton (although if you want to get technical, we're on track with last season, having gotten 1 point from the same 2 fixtures). Chelsea will be looking to rebound from a disappointing 2-1 loss at Boro after an impressive 3-0 home victory over Manchester City.

New signing André Ooijer is expected to make his Rovers debut in central defense alongside Andy Todd.

My predicted squad of:

Brad Friedel

Lucas Neill, André Ooijer, Andy Todd, Mickey Gray

David Bentley, Steven Reid, Robbie Savage, MGP

Benedict McCarthy, Jason Roberts

Cost roughy a combined 18.95 million pounds (source: dillo_dillo combined with media reports of the 3 new signings), less than the amount spent on EACH of the following players by Chelsea (source: footballeconomy.com):

Andriy Shevchenko 30.0

Michael Essien 26.0

Didier Drogba 24.0

Shaun Wright-Phillips 21.0 (that still cracks me up)

Ricardo Carvalho 19.85

If I weren't lazy, I'd see if I could figure out who makes more per week, the entire Rovers squad, or Michael Ballack.

I didn't see the match today for Chelsea, but last Sunday's lineup was as follows:

Carlo Cudicini

Paulo Ferreira, Ricard Carvalho, John Terry, Wayne Bridge

SWP, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Arjen Robben

Andriy Shevchenko, Didier Drogba

A quick trip around the web shows that Robben was injured in warmups tonight (replaced by Salomon Kalou) and Claude Makelele returned from injury in place of SWP. Michael Ballack wasn't able to make his Premiership debut against Boro, but could be available on Sunday. It should be interesting to see how he is fit into the already crowded midfield/strikeforce.

I am waiting on responses to a Q&A that will hopefully be posted by tomorrow night.

My optimistic prediction? 1-1

INTERVIEW ADDED!

I've always been a casual "soccer" fan, following the US National Team and watching Premiership Highlight shows when I passed them on the TV, but starting after the 2002 World Cup I went full bore into following the Premiership and Rovers. One of the main inspirations was a series of columns from Michael Davies, a British television producer living in New York.

At the time he was known for producing the US version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. But below is his full Wikipedia entry:

"Michael Davies produces game shows and other unscripted shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Wife Swap, and sporting events including the World Series of Darts for ESPN. He is a producer of the Miramax documentary feature, Once In A Lifetime. The movie focuses on the splash made by the New York Cosmos in the late 1970s. It features legendary soccer players Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and others, who came to New York late in their careers to cash in on America's then-budding interest in soccer. After its theatrical run, premiering in July, 2006, ESPN will air the film in the Fall of 2006.

Davies developed a devoted following among old and new soccer fans thanks to his 2006 World Cup Diary blog on espn.com. After blogging the 2002 World Cup from Japan and South Korea, Davies found an even wider audience the second time out with his hilarious observations about football, sausage, beer, the autobahn, his Swedish in-laws and Chelsea, his beloved club team. To rate games, players, fans, etc., Davies introduced the English concept of pantsness to the American audience. (Pants = "crap" job; no pants = bravura performance.)"

A link to all of his espn.com columns is HERE

Michael was kind enough to answer my email questions below (questions lower case, answers in ALL CAPS):

How does it feel to hear United fans talk about how you buy the title, yet they have 2 of the top 5 (without looking it up, but at least that) most expensive transfers in history, and has spent less on buying the club and buying the players to make Chelsea a global power than the Glazers have spent?

DOESN’T BOTHER ME AT ALL. THE MEDIA AND FANSITES ARE OBSESSED WITH THE OWNERSHIP, THE MANAGER AND THE BICKERING BETWEEN RIVAL FANS. I JUST LOVE THE FOOTBALL. I LOVE CHELSEA. HAVE DONE AS LONG AS I REMEMBER. BUT I LOVE FOOTBALL MORE. THE REALITY IS THAT CHELSEA WERE BOUGHT BY A VERY RICH MAN. AND HE HAS BOUGHT SOME EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD PLAYERS TO GO ALONG WITH LAMPARD, COLE, ROBBEN (WHO PREDATES ABRAMOVICH) AND TERRY (WHO CAME THROUGH THE YOUTH TEAM). AND THERE’S NO WAY THAT CHELSEA WOULD HAVE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP WITHOUT THE NEW PLAYERS. BUT WHAT IS OFTEN FORGOTTEN IS THAT ABRAMOVICH COULD HAVE BOUGHT ANY NUMBER OF CLUBS, HE BOUGHT CHELSEA FOR A REASON. HE SAW POTENTIAL, HE SAW A HISTORY, HE SAW A PASSIONATE FAN BASE, WHO HAVE ALWAYS APPRECIATED AN INTERNATIONAL TEAM, HOW MANY FOREIGN PREMIERSHIP PLAYERS WERE MORE LOVED BY THEIR FANS THAN ZOLA? WHAT I’M SAYING IS THAT CHELSEA DIDN’T JUST STRIKE THE LOTTERY WITH ABRAMOVICH – HE BOUGHT THEM FOR A REASON, AND THEREFORE THEY KIND OF DESERVE IT. JUST LIKE UNITED DESERVE MALCOLM GLAZER.

How is Jose going to fit all of his players in? The formation looked great on Sunday, but how do you add Ballack back in? Who do you sit? What formation do you use?

DIDN’T LOOK SO GOOD AGAINST MIDDLESBOROUGH THOUGH. I THINK THAT WITH DUFF LEAVING, COLE INJURED, SWP LACKING CONFIDENCE AND ROBBEN NOT DURABLE ENOUGH TO PLAY EVERY WEEK, WE’RE MAINLY GOING TO STRUGGLE WITH WIDTH. THAT IS WHAT’S MADE CHELSEA SO DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH THE LAST TWO YEARS UP FRONT. ADD TO THAT LAMPARD’S DIP IN FORM, MAKELELE LOSING SOME BITE, NOT THAT MUCH DEPTH AT THE BACK, CECH INJURED AND NEW PLAYERS TO GET USED TO AND I THINK WE’RE GOING TO STRUGGLE THIS SEASON. TOP THREE I THINK. BUT NOT SURE WE CAN WIN IT AGAIN.

Has the Roman influence dampened any of the success of the last few years?

NOT FOR ME.

Jose: Loudmouthed, arrogant tosser, or brilliantly keeping the heat off of his players and onto himself?

BOTH. HE IS A PERFORMER. NONE OF THAT IS THE REAL HIM. I HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING HE DOES IS CALCULATED TO INSPIRE HIS PLAYERS OR GET THE ATTENTION OF OFFICIALS.

Duff sold for a cut price fee and SWP still with the club – the right decision?

DON’T THNK THEY HAD A CHOICE. DUFF WANTED A GUARANTEE OF GAMES, THEY CARED FOR THE PLAYER BUT COULDN’T SAY YES – IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WRONG TO STAND IN HIS WAY. SWP IS NOT COMPLAINING RIGHT NOW – AND THE OFFERS DON’T SEEM TO BE FLOODING IN.

What's the general feeling amongst Chelsea supporters regarding Lampard's comments about Sven this summer after his awful performance in Germany?

I DON’T KNOW, I HAVENT SPOKEN WITH ANYONE ABOUT THE COMMENTS. I AM VERY AWARE THAT THESE BOOKS ARE WRITTEN BY GHOSTWRITERS, USUALLY JOURNALISTS, NOT BY THE PLAYERS. AND YOU’RE RIGHT, LAMPARD PLAYED POORLY IN GERMANY. BUT THAT DOESN’T MAKE HIM ######. ALL ATHLETES PERFORM BADLY SOMETIMES. RONALDINHO PLAYED POORLY IN GERMANY. AND HE’S NOT ###### EITHER.

What do you see ahead for Chelsea, both domestically and in Europe? How about Rovers?

I’M NOT THAT BULLISH ON CHELSEA THIS SEASON. I THINK WE’LL DO BETTER IN CUPS THAN THE LEAGUE BUT CHAMPIONS LEAGUE? IT’S ALL ON WHO YOU PLAY, WHEN, AND HOW THEY’RE PLAYING. ROVERS? I WATCHED THEIR HIGHLIGHTS FROM SATURDAY’S GAME AGAINST POMPEY AND THOUGHT THEY LOOKED DREADFUL. THEY GOT A POINT TONIGHT AGAINST EVERTON BUT I SAW NOTHING. WHEN I LOOKED THROUGH THEIR TEAM FOR FANTASY THE ONLY PLAYER I THOUGHT ABOUT WAS FRIEDEL.

Without looking it up, how many Rovers players can you name?

SIX.

What of those player(s) do you fear most?

ROBBIE SAVAGE. I’VE ALWAYS RATED HIM. AGGRESSIVE. SKILLFUL. DIRTY. AND FRIEDEL. HE’S BIG AND GETS IN THE WAY A LOT.

You have a choice of one of the following happening: England winning the World Cup or Chelsea winning the quadruple – which do you choose?

ENGLAND. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. I AM ENGLISH AHEAD OF ANYTHING.

Living in NY, do you follow the Yankees at all? If so, how does the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry measure up to some of the big English football rivalries?

I’VE BEEN TO YANKEES/RED SOX FANS AND I LIKE BASEBALL, BUT AMERICAN SPORTS ARE STERILE COMPARED TO THE PREMIERSHIP. THE FANS OCCASIONALLY HECKLE EACH OTHER, BUT NO ONE REALLY TRAVELS, THERE ARE BARELY ANY SONGS AND IT’S ALL TOO CIVIL.

What do you miss most about England, now that you live here?

APART FROM MY FAMILY AND MY MATES, BRITISH RADIO AND TV, THE FACT THAT ALMOST EVRYONE KNOWS WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON, AND PLAYING CRICKET ON SUNDAYS.

How would you explain the growing popularity of Soccer in the US?

IT’S INEVITABLE. YOU SEE KIDS PLAYING EVERYWHERE, IN THE STREET, AT THE PARK. MLS IS IMPROVING AND CULTURALLY, THIS WORLD CUP BROKE THROUGH LIKE NEVER BEFORE.

What do you think of the Sports Guy becoming a Spurs supporter?

LAUGHABLE. HE HAS NO IDEA HOW MUCH HE’S GOING TO SUFFER.

Prediction for the match?

I ASSUME YOU MEAN CHELSEA vs.BLACKBURN. 2-1 TO THE CHELS. SAVAGE SENT OFF FOR A STUDS UP CHALLENGE ON ESSIEN’S NECK.

A big thank you to Michael for taking the time to answer my questions. (Oh and he needs to come up to Boston, there is a big group that plays cricket at the field next to my softball practice on Fridays.)

Edited by American
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By the time I'm strolling down Livesey Branch Road I'll be expecting a cracking performance from the Rovers. Attacking Chelsea with aggressive yet fai football. 2-1 ROVERS

I fear for the crowd, I'd suggest London team, on Sky, poor Everton performance, £36 - less than 20,000

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By the time I'm strolling down Livesey Branch Road I'll be expecting a cracking performance from the Rovers. Attacking Chelsea with aggressive yet fai football. 2-1 ROVERS

I fear for the crowd, I'd suggest London team, on Sky, poor Everton performance, £36 - less than 20,000

Not only do i disagree that it was a poor performance but last season proved that no matter how well we are playing, does not effect the attendance.

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Rovers 0 Chelsea 5

An absoulute massacre on paper, but the game stats will show we had many chances to score but didn't. Chelsea will have relatively few actual chances but will punnish us.

Rovers finish the game with 9 men and 7 yellow cards.

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With Hughes seeming to admit that Everton should have had a penalty yesterday I reckon Todd is going to get the chop for Ooijer. Apart from that I think Neill will make a reapperence and Emerton will be moved to the midfield to make it more robust. Lineup:

----------McCarthy Roberts

--Gamst Savage Reid Emerton

--Gray Oooijer Zurab Niell

------------------Friedel

Subs: Brown, Todd, Gallagher, Bentley, Kuqi

2-1 Chesea with us taking the lead first.

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