Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Sunday, 13 May
Kick-off: 15.00 BST
Why am I even bothering to do a preview for something considered pretty much a nothing game? Well firstly, it’s force of habit and I’ve made you endure them for every other game of the season so why not? And secondly, it’d still be nice to finish the season with a win and I’m as superstitious as I am cynical – so let’s just get through this as quickly and painlessly as we can!
It’s unlikely to be the most gripping game we’ve ever seen. Blackburn are already relegated and we know we’ll be finishing 6th whatever happens, so both sides really only have pride to play for.
Going into what is presumably his final Premier League game as an interim manager for Chelsea, Roberto Di Matteo says “It is a difficult situation when you are fighting against relegation and [Kean] must have hard skin to have been able to deal with all the criticism he has received, but it is hard when you are down there. It is not for me to judge the reaction of the Blackburn fans. I always believe that the supporters of the team have a right to give their opinion. It will be strange, it is going to be a different game, but we want to finish our league games with a high on Sunday and carry that on for next week. It is going to be a mix, one or two youngsters and some of the other guys that need a game as well. We have to find a balance, there are also going to be players who are going to be involved next Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Steve Kean, going into Blackburn’s final game in the Premier League for a while, says “We have got pride. We have shown that every game matters to us, even when we don’t get a result. I went to see Chelsea on Tuesday. They made a few changes because they have got a massive game coming up after they play us. We have got a few injury worries but we will be picking the strongest possible team and will attempt to get a positive performance and a win at Chelsea. That is what we have to do.”
For Chelsea, John Obi Mikel (knee) is unlikely to be risked and both David Luiz and Gary Cahill (both hamstring) continue their race to make it back for the Champions League final next week and won’t play. Roberto Di Matteo has confirmed he is likely to give some of our younger players an opportunity today.
Bradley Orr (Achilles) is out and Paul Robinson (ankle) and David Dunn are doubts. Gael Givet has been cleared to play.
CHELSEA (from): Cech, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Bosingwa, Terry, Hutchinson, Cole, Bertrand, Essien, Meireles, Lampard, Ramires, Mata, Malouda, Drogba, Torres, Sturridge, Kalou, Turnbull.
BLACKBURN (from): Robinson, Dann, Martin Olsson, Lowe, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Hoilett, Dunn, Yakubu, Givet, Formica, Petrovic, Rochina, Marcus Olsson, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Henley, Modeste, Kean.
Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea (5th November 2011)
The outcome of this game is anyone’s guess, although maybe the fact that neither side has anything to lose might actually create a few goals. We haven’t lost to Blackburn in our last 11 meetings and no matter what happens today, the one thing I can predict is that they won’t be beating us in the league next season.