• Date: Sun 11 April 2010
  • Venue: Ewood Park
  • Ref: Walton, P
  • Attendance: 29,912

Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester United

Team Lineups

Blackburn Rovers

Paul Robinson
Christopher Samba (Ryan Nelsen, 33)
Gael Givet
Brett Emerton (David Dunn, 46)
Martin Olsson (El Hadji Diouf, 71)
Michel Salgado
Phil Jones
Vince Grella
Morten Gamst Pedersen
Steven N'Zonzi
Nikola Kalinic

Manchester United

Edwin van der Sar
Gary Neville
Rio Ferdinand
Nemanja Vidic
John O'Shea (Patrice Evra, 79)
Ryan Giggs (Darron Gibson, 58)
Luis Carlos Nani
Paul Scholes
Luis Antonio Valencia
Dimitar Berbatov
Federico Macheda (Ji-Sung Park, 66)

Match Report
Manchester United were left frustrated in their hopes of stealing a march on title rivals Chelsea as they were held to a goalless draw by Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. The stalemate, in front of Rovers' biggest home crowd of the season, stretched the home side's unbeaten run at Ewood to eight games. United had the best of what few chances there were but Rovers were solid throughout and thoroughly deserved the point. Defender Phil Jones, barely turned 18, produced a man-of-the-match show similar to that on his Premier League debut against Chelsea three weeks ago. Rovers, who held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw that day, brought in Australian international midfielder Vince Grella for his first start since December in place of David Dunn, while teenager Jones continued to be preferred in central defence to club skipper Ryan Nelsen. United, with their sights set on regaining top spot from Chelsea, made six changes from the side knocked out of the Champions League on away goals by Bayern Munich in midweek. Federico Macheda lined up alongside Dimitar Berbatov in attack in place of the injured Wayne Rooney. Blackburn had the first chance when a header from Chris Samba was collected at the foot of the left-hand post by Edwin van der Sar from a lofted through ball by Grella. Paul Robinson in the Rovers goal was tested by a diagonal shot by Antonio Valencia following a neat one-two with Berbatov, while Gael Givet nipped in well to turn a cross from Ryan Giggs behind for a corner. But Rovers refused to allow the champions to stamp their authority on the game. On 34 minutes, Rovers suffered a blow when Samba had to go off through injury and was replaced by Nelsen. A minute later, Nani shot wide for United after working his way past Morten Gamst Pedersen on the edge of the box. The best chance of the first half fell just before the break to Valencia, who found himself one-on-one with Robinson racing into the penalty area, but the England keeper timed his advance perfectly to save with his legs. At the start of the second half, Rovers sent on leading scorer Dunn in place of Brett Emerton as they looked to up the pressure on the champions. United made a change of their own 12 minutes into the second half when Darron Gibson replaced Ryan Giggs in midfield. A couple of minutes later, Nani fired a 25-yard free-kick over the bar. Jones, having another splendid game for Rovers three weeks after making his Premier League debut against Chelsea, was on hand to brilliantly block a shot from Berbatov and Gibson put the rebound over the bar. With 10 minutes to go, a long diagonal pass from Paul Scholes found Gary Neville racing into the area on the right and he crossed for Berbatov but the Bulgaria striker shot straight at Robinson. Gary Neville put the ball wide for United in injury time as the visitors dropped two costly points on the road.
Live Text Commentary
Full time
 

Blackburn 0 Manchester United 0: Blackburn defend resolutely to keep United at bay and surely now the advantage in the title race is firmly with Chelsea.

90

Scholes goes down inside the area looking for a penalty. The ball rebounds to Neville but he drags his left-foot effort wide from 15 yards.

90

There will be four minutes of added time for United to get the goal to stay in the title race.

90

Berbatov lifts a clever ball through for Evra, but Robinson races out well to smother the ball.

89

fine defending from Neville and it saves United from losing this game. The ball breaks to N'Zonzi 15 yards out. He strikes goalwards and Neville throws himself bravely in front of it to deflect the ball clear.

87

Kalinic breaks again for Rovers as United commit men forward. He nicks it away from Gibson and is brought down. Yellow card for Gibson.

85

Kalinic breaks forward for Rovers. He plays it right to Diouf who drives at Vidic and shoots, but the United man blocks and the ball flies clear for a Blackburn throw-in.

84

United are realy throwing bodies forward now and are camped in the Blackburn half.

83

Jones misjudges the bounce of a long throw by Neville. It finds Berbatov on the edge of the area, but his shot on the turn is dragged wide.

81

Great chance for Berbatov and he drills it straight at Robinson. Scholes picks out Neville at the far post with a wonderful pass. Neville heads across goal and there was Berbatov, who volleyed right-footed from 12 yards straight at Robinson.

80

Berbatov is dropping increasingly deeper in an attempt to get on the ball. But with only one forward it's leaving United short of a spearhead in attack.

79
Substitution
 

Manchester United substitution: Evra replaces O'Shea.

78

Dunn crosses deep from the right and Ferdinand under no pressure diverts it behind with Van Der Sar screaming at him as he stodd right behind him ready to collect.

76

It's getting to that tense stage now for the champions. They piling forward in search of a goal, but thus far Blackburn are not looking too troubled. This time Valencia breaks down the right, but his near post cross is put behind for a corner.

74

Park dribbles into the Blackburn penalty area and goes down to appeals from the United players, but it looks more like he lost his balance.

74

Nani crosses from the left. Valencia gets just ahead of the ball and it drifts away to the far side where Robinson collects.

73

Berbatov tries to thread a pass through for Park, but again it's too tight and Blackburn step in to intercept. It's not been a great attacking display by United, despite having the vast majority of the ball.

71
Substitution
 

Blackburn substitution: It's Olsson's latest contribution of the game as Diouf comes on to replace him.

70
Yellow Card
 

Neville brings down Olsson on the Blackburn left, just inside the United half and he receives the yellow card.

67

Half chance for United. Nani's free-kick is cleared only as far as Berbatov. He crashes an effort goalweards, but Jones does well to block and the ball rebounds to Gibson 20 yards out, but his strike goes well wide.

66

Nani does well down the right for United and is eventually brought down by Nelsen 15 yards from the corner flag.

65
Substitution
 

Manchester United substitution: Park comes on to replace Macheda.

63

United are enjoying a spell of possession in the final Blackburn final third, but aren't finding it easy to break through the Blackburn defence. The latest attack ends with Gibson firing well wide from 30 yards.

60

Nani takes the kick right footed. It beats the wall, but doesn't have any dip on it and it goes safely over Robinson's crossbar.

59

N'Zonzi pulls back Gibson 10 yards from the edge of the Blackburn area and United have a free-kick in a dangerous position.

59

Berbatov does well down the left. He finds Nani who earns a corner with a deflected cross.

58

Robinson launches a long free-kick into the United area. Nelsen gets his head to it, but can't direct it as he falls back and the ball drifts wide for a goal-kick.

57
Substitution
 

Manchester United substitution: Giggs comes off to be replaced by Darron Gibson.

55

Van Der Sar launches a quick kick forward for Nani down the left. Macheda is unmarked in the centre, but Nani's attempted cross is poor and Blackburn mop up the danger.

53

Giggs runs at Dunn and Salgado down the left and earns United a throw-in 15 yards from the corner flag.

52

The second half has started a much more scrappy affair and this will suit Sam Allradyce's men much more than it will United.

50

Kalinic gets fouled 10 yards inside his own half and Blackburn have a free-kick, which Robinson will launch into the United area.

48

Ferdinand makes his way off the pitch holding his hand. It looks like it might be a dislocated finger.

47

It's been a bit more of a positive start for the home side. They've managed to get closer to their men and push United onto the back foot - something they made happen rarely in the first half.

Second half
 

Blackburn get this second half underway.

46
Substitution
 

Blackburn substitution: David Dunn comes on for the second half to replace Emerton.

Half time
 

Blackburn 0 Manchester United 0: Plenty of possession for United and Valencia has had the two best chances of the match, but it's still goalless at the interval.

45

There will be a minimum of two added minutes at the end of this half.

45

United try to work a neat passing exchange on the edge of the Blackburn area, but Berbatov and Macheda's passes are too tight and Blackburn clear.

43

Wonderful chance for Valencia but he wastes it. Berbatov sends him in one-on-one with Robinson. The United winger looks to sit Robsinon down before slotting by him but his shot is too close to the keeper and Robinson clears with his feet.

41

United just appear to be getting a little frustrated. They've had plenty of the ball but have created little.

37

Decent counter attack by United but Macheda dwells on the ball and is dispossessed. Van Der Sar's clearance is brought down well by Berbatov and helped smartly on to Valencia. He feeds it inside to Macheda but he gets it caught under his feet.

36

Blackburn make a rare venture inside United territory and Kalinic is brought down by Ferdinand five yards inside the United half.

35

Half-hearted claims for a United penalty. Berbatov exchanges passes with Giggs and gets into the penalty area. He tries to come inside of Nelsen and goes down looking for a penalty, but it would have been a soft one.

34

Nani works space for a shot on the edge of the Blackburn penalty area, but his right-foot effort doesn't get the necessary bend on it and it goes wide of the far post.

33
Substitution
 

Blackburn substitution: Christopher Samba comes off injured and is replaced by club captain Ryan Nelsen.

32

Berbatov is brought down on the half-way line by Grella and earns United a free-kick. The United man has held the ball up impressively for the visitors so far this afternoon.

29

Decent cross from Giggs from the left forces a corner. The corner is played short and Giggs' cross goes behind everyone. Nani recovers the ball and works space for a shot, but it's wayward and sails over for a goal-kick.

27

Good play again from United and you get the impression they're starting to move through the gears. Nani cuts in from the left to find Macheda. He plays it in-field to Scholes who gives it to Berbatov 20 yards out, but Pedersen dispossesses him.

25

Decent effort from Valencia and Robinson is forced to make a smart stop low to his left at the near post. Neville and Berbatov combine down the right to feed Valencia inside the area. He shoots near post from the narrow angle but Robinson saves.

24

Good pressure from United. Giggs plays it wide to Neville on the right. He crosses to the far post where Nani heads back across goal before Blackburn clear.

23
Yellow Card
 

Nani shows some quick feet to nick the ball away from Salgado on the left and the Blackburn man brings him down from behind and earns himself a yellow card.

21

Nani finds himself with acres of space down the left. He cuts in on his right foot and crosses into the penatly area, but it's a poor effort and Blackburn easily clear.

21

Jones loops a ball forward looking for Olsson behind the United defence, but the Blackburn man went too early and the flag goes up.

19

Neville plays a cross in from the right. It loops up off of Olsson and Robinson is forced to act quickly to prevent the corner.

17

Giggs takes the corner and Vidic meets it at the front post, but he can't get a clean contact on the header and it drops in the 6-yard box for Blackburn to clear.

17

Giggs plays it wide to Nani on the right. He delivers an early cross and Salgado is forced to head behind for a United corner.

16

Blackburn have a throw-in on the left, level with the edge of the United penalty area. Pedersen launches it into the United box, but the ball is cleared.

15

Giggs takes the kick to the far post looking for O'Shea. The Irish defender gets his head to it under pressure, but it goes tamely wide for a goal-kick.

14

Macheda is brought down from behind and United win a free-kick 35 yards from goal just right of centre.

13

O'Shea brings down Salgado on the right and Blackburn have a free-kick 35 yards out. Pedersen will take this and Samba should be the target.

12

Berbatov does well to run into the heart of the Blackburn defence. He plays it wide to Valencia who crosses early but Blackburn head clear.

11

It's been a pretty quiet opening from the champions who will feel they need to win this to keep their title hopes alive.

8

First effort on goal and it goes to the home side. A long free-kick is pumped forward into the United box. The ball is worked back to Grella who crosses to the far post. Samba stoops to head at goal and Var Der Sar is forced low to his right to save.

7

Scholes works the ball into Nani 25 yards out. He turns to look for a space to shoot, but is dispossessed by Samba and Blackburn clear.

6

Macheda turns and slips the ball behind the Blackburn defence for Berbatov to run onto. The flag goes up against the Bulgarian, but it looks a marginal decision.

4

N'Zonzi shoots from 25 yards. His effort is travelling way off target and Pedersen sticks out a leg to divert goalwards, but it goes wide for a United goal-kick.

4

United works space out on the right to cross, but he overhits his attempted centre and the ball goes away behind Paul Robinson's goal for a goal-kick.

3

Olsson goes down under a challenge from Neville as Blackburn hoist the ball forward, but the referee waves play on and United regain possession.

2

Nani is brought down on the half-way line out on the left and United have a free-kick.

Kickoff
 

Man Utd get this game underway.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Rovers are enjoying their best league run of the season, winning two and drawing two, but they have won just two of their 16 games against top half opponents this season.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Blackburn have lost all four of their last games against United, and have not won in the last eight. Their last victory was a 4-3 win in which David Bentley scored a hat-trick and Rio Ferdinand received his marching orders.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Blackburn are, however, a tough proposition at home this season. They have been beaten only once at home since the opening day of the season and Chelsea were held here only a couple of weeks ago.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

United will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing week for the club. Last Saturday Chelsea beat them at Old Trafford to snatch the lead in the title race. Then in midweek they were dumped out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Blackburn captain Ryan Nelsen returns to the squad having been out since February with a knee injury. He only makes the bench, however, with 18-year-old Phil Jones retaining his place in the starting eleven.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

O'Shea, however, who replaced Rooney in midweek, returns to the starting line-up after a five month absence.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

United will be without leading scorer Wayne Rooney who aggravated his ankle injury in midweek against Bayern Munich. Berbatov and Macheda start in what looks to be a more attacking 4-4-2 formation for the champions.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Manchester United team line-up: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea, Valencia, Scholes, Giggs, Nani, Berbatov, Macheda

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Blackburn team line-up: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Jones, Givet, Nzonzi, Grella, Emerton, Pedersen, Olsson, Kalinic

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Blackburn face Man Utd at 1:30pm on Sunday, April 11th.