Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Where to now for Blackburn?

As the end of another English Premier League season draws to a close, it is time to reflect on the misfortune of Blackburn Rovers.

The 3 - 1 loss to Fulham at home on the weekend exposed the fact that Rovers is thin on real quality at the moment, and it could not have come at a better time, because it has shown that after confirming top flight status for season 2005/2006, a mental "switching off" will have the team playing poor football.

The match was also remarkable because we saw so many goals conceded in one match -- anything more than a goal is quite unusual for the team under Mark Hughes, which has prospered defensively due to the cautious tactics employed by the manager, usually in a 4 - 5 - 1 formation.

However, as the weekend showed, without captain Andy Todd out injured, and without a "carrot" sticking out in front of the team to fight for, quality is lacking.

This is especially so up front, whereby goals are very rare indeed, but this cannot be attributed to the tactics, because I am sure that with a quality striker up front, fortunes would improve.

You need only to look up at who has been playing up front to see why goals have been lacking: the ageing and cheaply-bought (former manager) Graeme Souness signing Paul Dickov was running around up there most of the time, which was quite a change from the Champions League winner in Andy Cole, who despite his perceived laziness did nothing but add bundles of quality to the team.

That is not the only problem though, because there is an obvious lack of creativity in the midfield to provide good chances in attack.

Ex-Turkey international captain Tugay can fill that void on occasions, but he is one of the oldest players in the squad, and cannot play a full ninety minutes these days, and indeed, Hughes almost always refuses to start him.

There are not too many problems in Blackburn's defence, whose only fault is that their job is made very difficult when key defenders are out, due to the lack of attacking ability from midfielders and forwards.

There is plenty of defensive quality in the likes of Todd and Ryan Nelsen, Aaron Mokoena, and Lucas Neill, and in the wings the likes of Dominic Matteo, Nils-Eric Johansson, and possibly even Vratislav Gresko (who has been out with a long-term injury) can fill the voids in defence on their day.

However, quite clearly the Rovers squad needs investing, especially up forward, and so the money men at Ewood Park should be looking at backing manager Mark Hughes in the summer transfer window with plenty of cash, because he has already shown that he is very astute in his signings.

Ryan Nelsen and Aaron Mokoena were bought in the January window and have proven to be cheap revelations, although the jury is still out on the injured £3.1 million signing of Robbie Savage.

What is needed now is for Blackburn's board to back their manager and show him that they have a vision of taking the club forward by giving him plenty of cash to invest in the squad, because signings of hundreds of thousands of dollars are not going to help the attacking deficiency one bit, which the signing of Dickov proved.


At Wednesday, May 11, 2005 12:31:00 am, Anonymous trevev said...

Completely agree with the above comment, apart from the comment that Lucas Neill has defensive qualities. In an ideal world Neill wouldnt be in the starting XI as I feel that he is a slight liability on the right hand side. The rovers attack does need strengthening but talks of Bellamy joining maybe a reality, but would he improve us. He isnt the most prolific scorer as his history in the top flight shows. He has tremendous work rate and pace but we need an out and out finisher who will get 25+ goals a season. Who we will bring in I dont know but it should be an interesting summer. I wouldnt mind hearing some other peoples views?

At Wednesday, May 11, 2005 4:05:00 am, Anonymous Sterog said...

The two players you didn't mention who add little to the team are Thompson and Emerton. Thompson would have more effect on the game if he sat in the stand whereas with Emerton there is very little end product. Mr Hughes didn't help the cause on Saturday by taking off Mokowena who, has been as influential in saving the team from relegation as Messrs Friedel, Todd and Nelson.

At Thursday, May 12, 2005 12:59:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To hear Hughes say that there will be little (need) to rebuild this summer is very depressing. Although I think we have had somewhat underserved bad press about the 'physical' approach to the game I do - as a longterm Rovers fan - think it is one of the worst squads I have seen. I have seen a lot of Rovers games in full on TV in Asia and you just have to be a fan to watch it. Boring and inept - and I mean even when picking up points - is being kind. There are so many poor footballers in this squad I don't know where to start. A TV pundit said about NSJ '' I don't know what he is but it is definately not a footballer'' - I agree! And Thompson - without being unkind are his legs abnormally short? It all goes to show how hard it is to please a Rovers fan - and how good Hughes is to keep us up.

At Saturday, May 14, 2005 3:08:00 pm, Blogger Ishan said...

Any thoughts on what the Glazer take-over of ManU might mean for the Premiership? Are we about to see another Chelski or another Leeds?

At Tuesday, June 07, 2005 7:38:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not fair to crticise Dickov - he was our ONLY forward for most of the season. Even when we played two up front ....supposedly.
Dickov makes best use of his ability and can't be faulted for effort. Also played with an injury for the cause. If Cole had stayed -would have been a useful combination. Hughes will bring in quality - two or three new strikers.


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