Date: 25th August 2006 at 12:37pm
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On Sky

Rovers entertain defending Premiership Champions Chelsea in the live Sky Sports clash on Sunday afternoon, with Robbie Savage hoping to make his 300th Premiership appearance.

With Chelsea suffering defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough on Wednesday night the task will be made more difficult for Rovers as Chelsea don`t lose two successive league games under Jose Mourinho that often, but why not stick the boot in while the blues are down!

Vital Quotes

Andre Ooijer on his move to Rovers:
I wanted to move on and further my career and I think it is a good step for me to be here.”

Mark Hughes on the Everton match:
We had the vast majority of the game. Obviously in the last ten-fifteen minutes they tried to put the pressure on and they got their reward for that.”

But up to that point I never felt we were any danger, we got our noses in front and were playing some good stuff.”

Obviously it was disappointed to concede when we did, but we are off and running, we’ve a point on the board and our season has started now.”

Rovers Team News:

Andre Ooijer should make his Rovers debut following his midweek arrival. Georgian, Zurab Khizanishvili who returned from injury in midweek is the man likely to step aside.

Ryan Nelsen and Dominic Matteo remain sidelined, however Lucas Neill returns from his suspension, although Tugay must again sit out the tie as he sees his three-match ban come to an end.

Rovers from – Friedel, Emerton, Todd, Khizanishvili, Ooijer, Neill, Gray, Bentley, Savage, Reid, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roberts, Brown, Kuqi, Mokoena, Jeffers, Gallagher.

Player to watch: Andre Ooijer

All eyes will be on the Dutch International. His presence at the back could be key to Rovers as they look to keep the likes of Andrei Shevchenko, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard quiet.

Chelsea Team News:

Arjen Robben injured himself in the pre-match warm up in midweek, but Chelsea will be hoping he recovers in time. Michael Ballack should be fit, but injury again sees Joe Cole and Petr Cech missing.

Chelsea from – Cudicini, Hilario, Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Bridge, Makelele, Essien, Lampard, Kalou, Shevchenko, Drogba, Boulahrouz, Diarra, Mikel, Wright-Phillips, Ballack, Robben.

Player to watch: Andrei Shevchenko

The dangerous Ukrainian hit man opened his Premiership account in midweek and if given a sniff of a chance at Ewood he will take it.

Match Facts & Stats

Rovers beat Chelsea at Ewood Park last season to secure their place in the UEFA Cup, so they`ll be looking for the same.

Rovers have only beaten Chelsea once in the last six meeting.

A Rovers defeat would leave them with only a point from the opening three games; this has been happened only three times in the clubs Premiership history; however it would be the second in three seasons it had happened.

Rovers have only lost one of the past thirteen home Premiership matches however, failing to score only once in the past ten Ewood outings.

The midweek defeat to Middlesbrough would see Boro claim the Chelsea scalp for the second season running at the Riverside. Chelsea could see it a second season running they`ve been beaten by Rovers at Ewood should they lose on Sunday.

Chelsea go into the match at Ewood in their lowest Premiership position in almost four years, they currently lie seventh.

Chelsea have lost four of their last five matches in all competitions, three of their last four Premiership ties, including defeat at Ewood at the tail end of last season.

Previous League Meetings
Blackburn 32 wins, Chelsea 33 wins, 25 Draws
Premiership – Blackburn 11 wins, Chelsea 6, 7 Draws

Previous League Meetings At Ewood Park
Blackburn 20 wins, Chelsea 11 wins, 14 Draws
Premiership – Blackburn 6 wins, Chelsea 4 wins, 2 Draws

Ref Watch:

Mark Clattenburg

Match Prediction:

Chelsea`s poor run has to come to an end sometime, and this, despite being a home tie for Rovers will prove very difficult.

With a fanatical crowd behind them Rovers could surprise Chelsea once again but I think a point would represent a good return from this match so as long as Rovers find the Chelsea net at least once they will not lose this game.

Next Fixture

There is a break from Premiership action now due to International matches. The next time Rovers play will be Saturday 9th September versus Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, 15:00 kick-off.


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