Blackburn Rovers - Chelsea

Boss Allardyce has left the hospital following heart surgery. That is a boost for the Rovers camp, but he won’t attend the game. Their home record looks good with four wins and just a single defeat in past seven games. But without Big Sam (last two games) their play looks confused, too many long balls without real goal chances and zero goals scored in those two. Caretaker Neil McDonald has been criticized for forcing 4-5-1 formation. That formation produced some results in the past, but the problem is key midfielder (plays behind the striker, Franco di Santo usually), David Dunn is unfit and his appearance is under a question mark, especially because Liverpool come in visit at Saturday. And Rovers do not have permission to field mentioned on-loan Chelsea’s di Santo. Also, Rovers have lost last four games against Chelsea without a goal scored (conceded 10). In previous rounds, they eliminated clubs from lower divisions (Gillingham, Nottingham Forest and Peterborough). 

Visitors are in the great shape. First places in Premier and CL group and maybe more important Ancelotti successfully rotates the players, sharing the effort on 16-17 players equal. So far, playing a large number of games doesn’t look as a problem. The true is, he’ll mix the cards again. But, it just means players that didn’t play at Emirates will take a place in starting eleven, like Ballack, Malouda, Deco, Kalou, Zhirkov… “Trouble maker”, Gael Kakuta, will probably make his first starting appearance this season. For me, any starting eleven looks simply too strong. Only concern is Ashley Cole who was limping off with a hamstring injury during Sunday's win at Arsenal.

Blackburn’s style of play with long-balls usually doesn’t produce too many goal opportunities and I can not see how it can works against the best defense in England (in the world, in my opinion). On the other hand, Ancelotti when take surely won’t keep the minimal lead and risk extra-time and additional effort. I expect clear away win and handicap.


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