With almost a full strength squad to choose from for the trip to Old Trafford, Sam resorted to the 4-5-1 formation, with Di Santo back up front, Emerton and Diouf patrolling the flanks, supported by Chimbonda and Givet respectively. The central defence pairing of Samba and Nelsen were back in action for the final match in the toughest month of the season for the Blue and Whites…..
Man United would always be favourites, with Blackburn losing 9 straight on the road, conceding 30 goal in the process.
The first half was all about the Rovers Backline, and Dimitar Berbatov. The target man had the bulk of Manchester United’s chances, but failed to convert. Early on, after rounding past Samba, a last ditch Chimbonda tackle prevented Berbatov slotting it in from 6 yards.
Moments later, Valencia made a rare trip down the flank, sending a cross into the unmarked Berbatov, who’s powerful downward header was tipped over the bar by Robinson. The Rover’s goalkeeper was at it again, after Berbatov picked up the ball from 25 yards out, unleashing a powerful drive. The outstreched Robinson managed to get his fingers on it, out for a corner.
Chances for Rover’s were few and far between. Set Pieces seemed to be the only form of penetration, however, more often then not, free kicks and corners were poorly delivered. Rover’s best opportunity came after Samba directed a header back across the goal from a long range free kick, however, Rovers were too slow to pounce, and the ball was cleared.
Berbatov finally found the net minutes before the break, after Wayne Rooney split the defence with a through ball, however the linesmans flag was up as Rooney pounced too early when he recieved his pass. Half Time, 0-0
More of the same in the second half, Rovers failing to shoot on sight, whilst the Reds kept penetrating and controlling possession. Berbatov finally got the goal he had worked so hard for in the 55th minute. Patrice Evra tried his luck from distance, with the ball rolling into the path of Berbatov. The Bulgarian took a touch, then back to goal, side volleyed past Nelsen and into the corner of the net. 1-0 Man U
Rover’s made a change, Gamst Pedersen on for Keith Andrews. Emerton dropped into the centre whilst Gamst drifted out to the right…..
Both teams went quiet for about 10-15 minutes, as Manchester held onto possession, whilst Blackburn really had nothing going forward, with Di Santo running his legs of and Dunn trying to burst through the midfield. Kalinic came on for Di Santo, and Benni McCarthy found his way onto the pitch, replacing Dunn.
Rover’s started to threaten, however it was Obertan who was squandering chances at the other end. He could only find Paul Robinson with a tame shot after being put through by Carrick, then blasted wide from 6 yards after a lay off from Michael Owen.
Wayne Rooney then sealed the game with 10 minutes to go. Anderson dashed down the left flank, with his cross flicked into the far corner by the prolific striker. 2-0 Man U….
Kalinic was denied a consolation goal with 4 minutes to go. Benni McCarthy sent a thunderous shot at goal, with Van Der Sar parrying into the path of Kalinic who made no mistake. However, he was wrongly found offside….
The loss at Old Trafford meant Rovers had notched their 10th straight away loss, surely something Big Sam and the squad are not too proud of…..
Paul Robinson 7
Some top saves from Paul Robinson. Dont think he could do anything about the goals….however he wont be happy with the amount conceded this month!
Ryan Nelsen 6.5
The Admiral is still not looking at his best in defence. Didnt shut down Berbatov for the opener, and was caught out at times by the Bulgarian
Chris Samba 6.5
Same goes for Samba, left Rooney wide open for the second goal, and gave too many silly fouls when pushed up front for long pieces
Pascal Chimbonda 7
Good Solid game from Pascal….yet I think he is hanging around Diouf too much….Just Shut up and get on with things
Gael Givet 8
Best on field for Rovers. Never was beaten, worked hard for the 90, and controlled the left side of the pitch all game.
Steven Nzonzi 6
Outplayed in midfield, really went unnoticed all game. The young man is still learning, and this month would of been such an experiene for him
Keith Andrews 4
Who? Sorry, but this guy simply should not play against the big 4. Too slow, not hungry enough, lost the ball so many times in the midfield. Keith can play, as we have seen many times, but he does go into his shell against the big teams…..
El Hadji Diouf 5.5
Never really took on his man down the flank, cutting back in time after time….I dont think Left midfield is where he should be
Brett Emerton 6.5
A good solid first half from Emo, but once he recieved the yellow card, he really stepped of the pedal. Sam should of noticed this and made a change
David Dunn 7
Worked hard, with very little to work with…..
Di Santo 7
Same boat as Dunn, chased all day, yet recieved very little service
Might as well have stayed on the bench
Unlucky to have his goal ruled out for offside, apart from that, quiet…..
Needs to start. Benni can create out of nothing, and we actually looked lively whilst he was out there.