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THE
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Blackburn v Chelsea


Ewood Park - Wednesday, 10 April, 2002
Kick Off: 2000 BST
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Blackburn's record signing Andy Cole returns after serving a three-match suspension for his sending-off at Bolton. Cole is likely to partner Matt Jansen, who will be making his 100th start for Rovers. Spanish striker Yordi, who scored his first goal for the club against Southampton last week, will drop to the substitutes' bench.

Chelsea defender John Terry is expected to play, which comes as welcome boost with William Gallas still doubtful with a calf problem. Gallas faces a fitness test along with Celestine Babayaro, who has a hamstring problem, and Jesper Gronkjaer, who has a foot injury.

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So, we have 4 games left, Newcastle 5 and they are 1 point ahead. Everything is not lost yet. Gooooo Blues.
 

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THE
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Blackburn 0-0 Chelsea


Blackburn's Premiership survival remains in the balance after failing to stretch their run of home wins to four against a lacklustre Chelsea side.

Graeme Souness' side were forced to settle for a draw which leaves them languishing in 17th in the table, just three points above the relegation zone.

A point was good enough however to see Chelsea leapfrog Newcastle into fourth place in the fight for the final Champions League spot next season.

The Magpies still have two matches in hand on their closest rivals however.


The draw left both managers frustrated

While Chelsea can look forward to continental action of some description, the question is whether Claudio Ranieri will be at Stamford Bridge next season to oversee such a campaign.

An air of mystery surrounds Ranieri's future with the Blues after he refused to confirm he will be in charge beyond the summer.

Chairman Ken Bates had previously insisted a two-year extension to Ranieri's current deal - which has just over a year to run - is close to being signed.

The waters have been muddied by Barcelona's reported interest in the 50-year-old as one of three coaches short-listed for the job of replacing Carlos Rexach at the Nou Camp.

The former Valencia and Atletico Madrid manager has stated he likes life at Chelsea, although is flattered by the reports coming out of Barcelona.

"In the summer, who knows?" was as much as he would venture on the matter, adding: "At the moment I'm not thinking beyond the next month."

If Ranieri stays he will have to resolve the problem of Chelsea's away form, as the Blues have still won just once on their Premiership travels since the turn of the year, at already-relegated Leicester.
On this occasion they were indebted to goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini for ensuring they suffered nothing worse than a goalless draw.

The Italian was helped by his post early on as Andy Cole - returning after a three-match ban for his stamp on Bolton's Mike Whitlow - struck the outside of the woodwork.

But then Cudicini superbly blocked a powerful Damien Duff drive, and was at full stretch in pushing away a Lucas Neill effort.

Duff was again denied by arguably the best save of the game early in the second half as the keeper somehow kept out a shot destined for the top corner.

Tugay then went within inches of the right-hand post with a 20-yarder as Blackburn looked the more likely side to break the deadlock.
But Chelsea were not without their chances, Eidur Gudjohnsen flashing a shot past Brad Friedel's post early on.

And a fumble by the American keeper three minutes after the break almost saw the Icelander profit from Hasselbaink's follow-up, but he scooped the ball over the bar.



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Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Short, Berg, Bjornebye, Gillespie, Dunn, Tugay, Duff, Jansen, Cole.
Subs Not Used: Flitcroft, Johansson, Yordi, Unsal, Kelly.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Ferrer, Terry, Desailly, Melchiot, Stanic, Lampard, Petit, Zola, Gudjohnsen (Zenden 76), Hasselbaink.
Subs Not Used: Jokanovic, Dalla Bona, Cole, de Goey.
 

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Fair result, i think, would have been a goal feast but for 2 excellent goalkeeping displays. :)
 
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