Manchester United sealed their 19th Champions Trophy, after a late Wayne Rooney penalty cancelled out an early Brett Emerton volley, earning both teams a point, and clawing Rovers just that little bit closer to safety.
Blackburn welcomes Phil Jones and Michel Salgado back into the starting 11, with manager Steve Kean sending out a 4-4-2 formation
Salgado, P Jones, Samba, Givet
Emerton, J Jones, Nzonzi, Olsson
United began the fixture as a team on a mission, aiming to wrap up the title early, and make changes in the following fixture, allowing their star players to rest for the Champions League. The game could have been all but over after only a few minutes, after a well directed cross was headered into the crossbar from point blank range by Nani. United moved the ball well, but did not have it all their own way in the early exchanges
Chris Samba blasted high after a loose ball following a Brett Emerton corner found its way into his path. Kuszczak almost gifted Roberts a ‘Kalinic’ type goal, the keeper’s first touch dropping just out of reach of the veteran Rovers striker.
The moment Rovers fans were all waited for came 20 minutes in. Emerton’s flightful chip was tipped wide by Kuszczak, Olsson scrambling to keep the ball in play. An exchange with Hoillet saw the ball zipped back into the box, with Emerton’s left foot volley finding the back of the net, awakening the Ewood faithful, 1-0.
Rovers almost made it 2-0 minutes later, Olsson pouncing to volley a Salgado cross, flashing just wide of the near post. Manchester decided to up the tempo, with Wayne Rooney being the main point of attack. He often drifted wide to collect the ball, before darting into the box, however the Rovers back 4 were up to the task, ensuring Blackburn held onto a 1-0 lead at the break
It was an intense, physical start to the opening quarter of the second half. Neither team gave away space in midfield, both looking to hit on the counter. Giggs tried his luck from distance, but Jones put his body on the line, nullifying the shot.
Rovers almost sealed the deal with 20 minutes to go. A delightful interchange down the right flank saw Brett Emerton cross in, with Martin Olsson leaping highest. His powerful header left keeper Kuszczak stranded, though the near post was up to the task, battering the ball away…
Rovers were left to rue the missed opportunity only minutes later. A long ball found Chicarito free, and with Paul Robinson approaching, Chicarito poked the ball ahead, the English Keeper making contact and bringing him down. Referee Phil Down, after speaking to his linesman, ruled a penalty after attaining the ball was still in play when Chicarito was fouled. Rooney stepped up, and broke the hearts of the home crowd, sealing Uniteds 19th league win…1-1
The final 10 minutes was an embarressment to the game. Manchester, with the title in the bag, held the ball in their half, whilst Rovers, who would of settled for a point prior to the game, failed to mount any pressure…
1-1 Full Time
Paul Robinson 6
Silly error from Robbo, who would not have been happy with giving away the Penalty
Michel Salgado 8
The evergreen just keeps putting in performance after performance. Delightful to watch, and the passion is unbelievable
Chris Samba 8
A captains knock from Samba. Whether we will see it again at Ewood Park in the blue and white halves, we shall wait and see
Phil Jones 9
Was everywhere, worked hard in defence, countered efficiently, put his body on the line. A true blue Rover
Gael Givet 7
Rovers look so much more solid with Givet closing down he left flank
Brett Emerton 9
His best game of the season. Delivered when it mattered, great crosses, worked hard, and a well taken goal..should teach our forwards a lesson or two
Jermaine Jones 8
We needed Jones and Nzonzi to shut down the midfield, they were super effective at doing that. Can we keep him?
A super opening stanza, quitened off after the yellow card. However the Zonz did the job
Martin Olsson 8
A livewire, lovely to watch down that left flank, tearing away, as well as a natural instinct to drop back and help
Junior Hoillet 7
Looked a touch out of place up top, but was dangerous
Jason Roberts 7
Typical JR performance, worked hard,attracted defenders, giving Olsson and Hoillet space to work with
Give the man some credit. He got it absolutely spot on. Starting 11 and tactics hit the mark, Hoillet was fatigues so had to come off, only question could be why we didnt have a defender on the bench, with Samba picking up a strain, though Andrews did not let anybody down.