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Chelsea V Blackburn 15 September 2007


Jan

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When I agreed to do this match preview, I didn’t have a clue what I’d write about. Now I’m writing it I still don’t, so you get the ramblings of a disorganised mind. So where do I start?

Ah- INSPIRATION!!!

What the game means to me

To everyone else, this is a game where we test ourselves against one of the top teams on their own patch. That is eminently true. To me it has another significance. It’s the first time my nephew has attended a game. He’s 7 years old, and I’ve been vowing to make him a football fan for years. Now he’s so excited he has been asking me about this for weeks.

However, having been born into a family (my best friend and her husband) whose combined football knowledge would comfortably fit on the back of a postage stamp with room left for half a chapter of War and Peace, he’s a Chelsea fan. Well, he sort of is, but his favourite players are Rooney and Ronaldo! I do try, but it’s difficult…………

However, all that may have changed on Sunday when I visited and told him I was going to Greece with Rovers. Seeing the chance for free holidays abroad- “Can I come too?” He piped up. I spotted my chance “Not unless you really, REALLY become a Blackburn fan”. His response “Oh all right then, but if we’re not going to see Blackburn or Scotland, can we go and see a team that I like?” He’s going to make a good bargainer that one!! (but he’s still not coming to Larissa- perhaps the next game in school holidays………..)

So what about the game?

I’ve been to Stamford Bridge on a number of occasions with Rovers now. Mostly we’ve not won and we’ve had to sit in that horrid stand behind the dugouts where you can’t see and you get thrown out if you stand up to try to see (yes, REALLY). Oh and lest I forget, pay upwards of £40 for the privilege.

This time, sense has left me and I’ve agreed to go in the upper tier. If you see a group of three females with a small boy in a Chelsea shirt, the one who’s cowering in the seat muttering “too high, too high” is me. And for this I’ve paid £48- yes REALLY!

From that, you might think I won’t have any fond memories of games at “the Bridge”. Not true (well, sort of).

One notable visit for me was 13 February 1999. We drew 1-1. The day, however sticks in my memory because I left the ground with fewer working limbs than I arrived with! Before the game I was sitting on the wall behind beside the pitch (it’s one of those grounds where the seats in the lower tier are just below pitch level), and the then Blackburn Physio, Steve Foster, came up and put his hands on both shoulders from behind to say hello. What he didn’t bargain for was me falling to the ground screaming in agony. Cue him examining said shoulders and telling me that when I’d failed my motorbike test in December because I’d fallen off and hurt my arm the day before, It wasn’t my arm I’d hurt but my left collar bone, which was broken. I left the ground with my arm in a sling!! Memorable, definitely. Just for the wrong reason.

So what can we expect on Saturday?

Well, before Mourinho, we were Chelsea’s bogey team, especially at the Bridge. We hadn’t lost any of the previous 11 league meetings there, winning six and drawing five. Since Mourinho, it’s a different story. We lost 4-0 in 2004/5, 4-2 in 2005/6 and 3-0 in 2006/7. And he wears really nice coats too…….

However, this isn’t that Rovers Team. We haven’t lost this season, and I don’t suspect Mr Hughes will want us to lose now. And one of the good things is that Frank Lampard might be injured. As a Scotland fan I, of course, want to see him and Stephen Gerrard play every match together for England. Basically because together they are poo. However he does seem to have that annoying knack of scoring against us.

Now, I doubt if there’s a single person out there who doesn’t know that if you stand off Lampard and allow him time, the result will be a bullet of a shot, right into the net. Agreed? Thought so! How come our players forget it time after time?? Do they just not watch any football? Or do we need to tattoo the fact to the inside of their eyelids?

And then there’s Didier Drogba. During last year’s game at the Bridge, he effectively destroyed us single-handedly. His sheer pace and power were awesome. I think our defenders felt the same. The deck chairs and applause as he waltzed past them for his goal in 6 minutes were testament to that.

Oh and let’s not forget Petr Cech, probably the best goalkeeper in the Premiership (sorry Brad).

And we can’t even enjoy saying “How much?!?!?!?!” for Shevchenko and Ballack every time they touch the ball as they’re “injured” too. (Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the semi-final. I regard Ballack's goal there as an aberration, which is pretty much how Chelsea fans I know view him (and Shevchenko)). My friend's boyfriend is a Chelsea fan. I asked him questions about this pair, and I'd love to tell you what he thought, but the only words which wouldn't be screened out of his tirade of abuse are "pair of".

All of that said, I don’t think it will be as embarrassing as it has been in recent years. We have a belief, and I think we now have the personnel to put Mr Hughes plan into action. I don’t really want to make a prediction as to the result, as I’ll jinx us. I leave that up to you.

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Nice preview. Hope your plan to convert your nephew works and Rovers do their bit on Saturday.

No doubt Rovers will be going out believing in themselves with every right to. A weaker side than the one playing on Saturday was desperately unlucky to lose the Semi-Final (our last defeat- another reason to be buoyed up for this one) and there are interesting challenges all over the park. Bentley or SWP for England, even Lampard or Dunn for midfield supremacy if Dunn has dreams of a second cap.

Turn this around and look at it from a Chelsea perspective, what game do you least want after you have been beaten 2-0 at Aston Villa? "Dirty unfashionable" Blackburn at Stamford Bridge has to rank as the fixture from hell so far as Mourinho is concerned, not that outwardly he will be letting on.

Compound that with the fact that pretty well the entire Chelsea squad including the walking wounded disappeared from his clutches to all points of the international compass as the whistle went at Villa Park and he isn't going to see most of them until Thursday lunchtime this week so the time to work a Mourinho miracle is limited.

My guess is Mourinho will set out his stall not to lose this one and to stifle the Rovers from playing. I think he could show sufficient respect for Hughes and the Rovers team that we will see a repeat of Chelsea's Cup Final tactics and perhaps 4-5-1 to make sure they out number Dunn and Savage in midfield and deny Benni any holes to drop into. Then the game plan is for Drogba again to use speed, power and strength to good effect in which case Drogba v Samba is going to be the critical contest to avoid Chelsea getting a 1-0 lead which they will defend aggressively from the front to avoid Rovers getting any sort of momentum.

At the other end, I suspect Roque could have the advantage on Terry, one on one, so Rovers' offense is going to be hugely dependent on Bentley delivering the quality of balls he is capable of, Cech being human and the ref being fair (the latter is very unlikely).

If Mourinho decides to play a more normal Chelsea home game then this will be a truer test of how good the Rovers really are. If Rovers can get their rapid mid-length passing game going the way they did dominating against City and Everton first half away at Stamford Bridge then we can begin to believe a top 4 challenge is possible almost irrespective of the result on Saturday.

My head says Chelsea to win 1-0 in a claustrophobic encounter but head and heart also say we have a great chance to win this and perhaps MGP will make amends for nodding the ball towards the Trafford Shopping Centre and not the Old Trafford net.

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My head says Chelsea to win 1-0 in a claustrophobic encounter but head and heart also say we have a great chance to win this and perhaps MGP will make amends for nodding the ball towards the Trafford Shopping Centre and not the Old Trafford net.

99 times out of 100 he would of burried that, i still have the nightmares :( everyone around me kind of done thier heading motion, thought it was in then it was all heads in hands!

well tidy preview jan, a good read first thing in work.

another round of internationals this wednesday and hopefully the rovers on duty will all return injury free.

shall i use the word aftermath, yes aftermath sounds the business. after the beatings down the bridge over the last few seasons, the comments from jose over the years and taking my wembley dream away from me and several others, wouldn't it be cool and tasty to smash their unbeaten record at the bridge :)

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win's not going to happen for us. I cant see Chelsea being allowed to lose twice on the bounce. Just think of the drop in revenue from those paper fans.

Jan I hope the Rovers give your nephew a decent show and gets him into being a Rover. It'll make up for being forced to follow the scots ;)

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Jan..I hope you are luckier than my Uncle was in 1952. A livelong Charlton fan, he took me to the Valley to see them play Chelsae. about 50,000 fans, most standing. My first big game, and just to wind him up, I said I would support Chelsea. 55 years later and I'm still following them, more through habit than admiration these day. Around 1966 I was a true "Shed-Boy" and still have a bit of it in me. However. for some reson Rovers have always been my second team ans as I live on Pelion, near Volos, I will be there on @0th to cheer them on. Not much to fear, I think, as Larissa are a pretty poor lot. But watch out for their fans, mostly farmers, who have a reputation for trouble. Always remember, there will be a lot more of them than there are of us.

If anybody has a few days to spare after the game, come down to Afissos on Pelion, 26k. from Volos, where I am running a small hotel. A real Greek sleepy seaside village, and I will show them around..only takes 3 minutes!!

Good Luck, but don't lose you nephew to Chelski!!!

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Nice preview Jan.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Samba deals with Drogba, could be a very interesting test for the big man.

I shall be watching from the pub :(

My poorly car's engine is currently being rebuilt at an extortionate cost resulting in my absence from any matches for a while.

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I will be happy with a draw, given the qualities of both sides. However, it is difficult to be other than pessimistic, bearing in mind recent history. Having said that, Rovers have strengthened somewhat although I suspect we still have a 'glass chin' (e.g. goals conceded to Boro and Everton)

I'm hoping for a decent 1-1 performance, but am worried more about a gut-wrenching 2-1 to the screaming Chelski hordes.

On the English language front... here is a really stupid joke that should appeal to all those who know the Englsih Lnaguaege (as spkoen in 'Merica)

A girl from the South and a girl from the North were seated next to each other on a plane. The Southern Girl, being friendly and all, said "So, where ya'll from?"

The northern girl said, "From a place where they know better than to use a preposition at the end of a sentence."

The girl from the south sat quietly for a moment and then said, "so where ya'll from, bitch? "

Note to offended parents: After hours of research, we discovered that the word "bitch" is in the dictionary and is perfectly usable. If you are offended, we respectfully ask that you not be such a barstard.

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Wouldn’t have minded going to this one, as I feel we are capable of getting something.

However, with a trip to Greece around the corner next week, and the absolutely scandalous ticket prices of £48 EACH I refuse to go.

So I’ll be sat in the pub clutching a pint, hoping we can claim a famous win, if not at least a draw

COME ON YOU BLUES (well, REDS on Saturday)

:rover::brfc:

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Looking at it like this....

1...Rovers are unbeaten

2...there`s 'tension' in the Chelsea camp (Jose & Don Abramovich)

3...Chelsea just been beaten

4...We showed we are no push-overs in the semi-final

....i can only envisage one thing. We are in for a hammering!

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on the brfcs home page at the foot of the page shows a random photo from the galleries.

the picture i seen was of rovers fans before the cup semi final, my god happy days.

we owe them for that defeat, they ruined dreams of many that day :(

like i said in an earlier post....this will be the aftermath!!!!

i hope hughes reminds them of that day and it is still bitter in the mouth of the players.

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Referee 1 : 0 Rovers :angry:

These were my thoughts, TBH. They'll never let 'bad boy' Blackburn ruin 'lovely' Chelsea's home record...

On a separate note, I have a bit of a request for our US brethren...

I'll be in New York on the day of the game. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get to a bar to watch it as it'll be a bit of a push from the airport, but if I can, where could I go? If I can't make it for the game 'live', is there anywhere that'll have it on as a delayed game?

Thanks in anticipation of your assistance!

Dan

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These were my thoughts, TBH. They'll never let 'bad boy' Blackburn ruin 'lovely' Chelsea's home record...

On a separate note, I have a bit of a request for our US brethren...

I'll be in New York on the day of the game. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get to a bar to watch it as it'll be a bit of a push from the airport, but if I can, where could I go? If I can't make it for the game 'live', is there anywhere that'll have it on as a delayed game?

Thanks in anticipation of your assistance!

Dan

Nevada Smiths.

www.nevadasmiths.net

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Nevada Smith's is a clasic, but depending on where you are, that may or may not be convenient. But, any pubs that has Fox Soccer Channel will air the game at noon local time.

http://msn.foxsports.com/soccer/story/1288602 has a list of all the pubs in the state of New York that carry the channel. Quite a few of these are no-where near the City, in fact I saw one in the same town my Aunt went to school, which is a nice 6 hour drive from NYC, but its the most exhaustive list you'll find.

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