Saturday, 15 September 2007

Chelsea v Blackburn

Home again after the international break and Chelsea start without Drogba or Lamps and have the unfamiliar midfield pairing of Sidwell and Essien. Sheva starts upfront with Kalou and England’s wide boys of SWP and Joe Cole complete the attacking options.

It’s a scrappy first 20mins with nothing to write home about unless Sheva heading over from 15 yards on 15 minutes gets you going. It’s a full 25mins before Essien tests Freidel with a wonderful swerving drive and Sheva is wasteful again, this time from a one on one with the keeper. Chelsea close the half a little more brightly with Joe Cole coming close from an SWP corner but overall it’s a disappointing half with only Essien and Belletti coming away with any credit. It looks like there’s plenty for Jose to rip into during the break.

An unchanged Chelsea attack the Mathew Harding in the 2nd half and a chance falls to Sheva within 5 mins which is well blocked, apart from this it looks like more of the same. It takes JT charging out of defence to create the first real excitement. Just about an hour gone and Malouda and Obi the Jedi come on for Sidwell (very poor) and SWP (looking tired). Within a minute, Belletti and Joe Cole combine to send Kalou through and the ball’s in the net ..... only to be ruled offside – Clarke and Mourinho are furious as it looks well onside. Sheva looks way off the pace, he’s not got much service but equally he’s not grafting for it either, however Chelsea are controlling possession.
Last 15 minutes and Blackburn are starting to push on and stretch Chelsea. Chec saves brilliantly from Savage after a Malouda mistake. At the other end, Kalou and Sheva link up well but Kalou’s shot shaves the post as it skips wide. It’s all end to end now as the Blues push on for a winner – its times like this that you really miss Lamps and Drogs. Five mins to go and Sheva finally does something useful and gets a good far post header on target but it’s saved by Friedel. Christopher Samba takes a kick to the head on the way down from his challenge on Sheva and play stops for what looks like a serious head injury. Chelsea throw everything but the kitchen sink at Blackburn for the remaining minutes, playing 3 at the back and Terry as a centre forward, but Blackburn hold on to take a share of the points.

Once again, Chelsea are short changed from a game they have dominated. All the talk will be about the offside that never was but ultimately we’re not looking anything like the team of the last few seasons.

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