Thursday, August 25, 2005

Some good signs: an analysis and evaluation of Blackburn Rovers against Tottenham

The English Premier League fixture between Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur ended in a 0-0 draw at Ewood Park in front of a crowd of some 22,000 fans, which will be remembered for the controversy on the pitch rather than the quality of play.

If there is anything that must be said about this match from a Blackburn perspective, it must be said that Rovers could have easily earned the three points, if only there was not a lack of quality up front in the absence of Craig Bellamy and even Matt Jansen. However, that was not to be, despite Rovers having several shots on goal, as opposed to the solitary attempt by Tottenham.

Another thing that perhaps needs mentioning is that it is disappointing that Lucas Neill was sent off for a rash challenge and that an unidentified Blackburn player (probably captain Andy Todd) was spotted allegedly head butting opposition number Robbie Keane on camera, which will no doubt earn some close scrutiny from the authorities. Those incidences were sorely disappointing, to be honest, because before that I thought that we were playing a very clean game and really showing up the critics who think we are nothing but a dirty team. Alas, the negative media barrage looks set to continue.

Here is my analysis of the manager and the players.

Mark Hughes (9): Fair play to the manager for his tactical side of the game this evening. He decided to use the 4-5-1, and despite the seemingly negative formation, there was an attacking bite to it. The formation kept Tottenham under wraps all night, and indeed a win would have been earned had it not been for the lack of quality up front. It was also a smart move to keep the creative Tugay in the defensive midfield role, in favour of the preferred Aaron Mokoena.

Brad Friedel (8): The former United States international really had little to do this evening, but when he was called up to do a job, he did it without too much difficulty.

Lucas Neill (6): He gets his low rating for the sending off late in the match. He played a decent game at right back before that and showed defensive poise and a certain flair in attack.

Ryan Nelsen (7): There were a couple of times that I recall where he looked shaky in defence, and he also missed a quality Robbie Savage set-piece cross that should have been put away, but overall he did a decent job and kept a clean sheet in the heart of defence, so there is little more to criticise him for.

Andy Todd (7): He did his job. There is not much more that I can recall about his performance, other than the fact that he works well with Nelsen in a defensive pairing.

Dominic Matteo (7): The much-maligned left back performed solidly, but showed little attacking ability, which I suppose is no new revelation.

Tugay (8): He very much controlled the game in his defensive midfield position in his very poise and relaxed manner, and showed a great amount of skill and creativity. Not all of his passes were 100% successful, but that is the price to play for someone with his vision. If only he was celebrating 25 years of his life, rather than 35 years.

Brett Emerton (7): The right winger had a good game this evening and there was much to be pleased about his performance, in comparison to recent matches. He had a little bit more confidence in himself this evening, putting in shots and crosses, winning balls and corner kicks, and was a catalyst in attack a few times.

Robbie Savage (7): He played solidly and did his job in the centre of midfield, especially in winning the ball. In addition, he is very much looking fitter than he has been in the past for Rovers and we should start seeing the best of him in the not too distant future.

Steven Reid (7): He was a little bit too anonymous this evening for my liking, especially for a central midfielder, but he did not do much wrong.

Morten Gamst Pedersen (7): He had his usual game on the left wing, where he puts in a cross or two and helps the build-up of attacks. His corner kicks were disappointing this evening, which were mostly over hit.

Shefki Kuqi (7): The likeable striker tried his heart out, but it was obvious to see why he was signed as a back-up striker. His first touch is atrocious, and had it been better, he would have scored a couple of goals. Credit must be given to him for getting into good positions, though, and he makes a welcome change from the whinging and moaning of Paul Dickov at the referee, who consequently breaks up any chance of continuity in Rovers' style of play.

Jemal Johnson (6): He was a late substitute for Kuqi and was not on the field long enough to make an impression on me. He gets the default rating of six.

Aaron Mokoena (6): He was the late substitute for the injured Andy Todd and had little chance of making an impression, so he also gets a default rating.

In conclusion, the match was very heartening from a Blackburn Rovers perspective, despite the lack of a cutting wedge in attack and only earning a point in a scoreless draw at the end. To keep Tottenham Hotspur under wraps and pull the strings attacking wise is a good sign of things to come.


At Thursday, August 25, 2005 9:19:00 am, Anonymous spurs fan said...

You missed your front men, but if you had attacking options up front, the game could have been a diffrent matter!. You most likly would have opened up more for us to get behing you and possibly score.
Well good luck with another suspension or two!!

At Thursday, August 25, 2005 12:27:00 pm, Blogger another spurs fan said...

Blackburn employed some horribly negative tactics against what was essentially a Spurs B team. The central midfielders seemed glued to the centre circle and gave little support to Emerton and Pedersen who ran all day...

Savage's short corner at the end of the match was pretty clear evidence of Blackburn's mentality. (Blackburn havent practiced corners this year - having been convinced by the crowd to try a proper corner he kicked straight it out).

Spurs clearly missed Carrick's creativity and I suspect that Jol regretted subbing Mido off, once Neill had been dismissed, but from a Spurs view, it was a point gained.

I'd be pretty grumpy about the lack of ambition, were I a Rovers fan... but I'm not.


At Thursday, August 25, 2005 1:29:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a spurs fan, I thought blackburn dominated. Spurs couldn't control the ball, probably for fear of not wanting to be carried off the park with Savage et al in the Blackburn side. Brown was a waste of space, and couldn't kick it to a spurs shirt if he tried to kick the ball into the away stand. Stalteri was crap. I would say Tottenham gained a point today, but with the team that should have started we actually lost 2. These are the games we have to go for, not try and hang in there. Disappointed with the spurs tactics today. Balckburn were unlucky not to take the 3 points. At least they had a go!

At Thursday, August 25, 2005 5:39:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had an open mind on Blackburn with regard to negative presss coverage until last night (tepid end of season game in May suggested to me that it might be overdone). However, Blackburn's attitude and tactics stank last night. Feet left in every time they got the chance, even Gardener was having to do the 110m hurdles with the ball nowhere to be seen. Savage is a complete disgrace - whenever he wasn't trying to kick lumps out of Brown/Mendes/Davids (and missing badly!) he was winding the ref up. On top of all that Blackburn's lack of talent (four corners kicked directly into the crowd!!!!!) and ambition (playing for time in a 0-0 at home) was an insult to their supporters. Anyone who has paid the £250 for the season ticket to watch this bollocks needs a. psychiatric care or b. a refund. That said Spurs were poor and contributed to the whole negative atmosphere on the night and Blackburn should have nicked the points - a result that would have offended any notion of this being a football match. Hope Neill and Todd fester on the sidelines for a very long time - perhaps their mate Dichov might take them to La Manga for a night out while they are suspended.

At Thursday, August 25, 2005 5:55:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why, why, Why didn't Jol pick his strongest team. Does he think we have more chance getting 3 points against Chelsea then 3 points against Blackburn? If Spurs are to progress this season, we have to be taking points away from the likes of Blackburn, Villa, Chalton, Bolton and Birmingham. If we can do this and pick up a few points from Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd and the scum then maybe, just maybe 5th in the league is a realistic target

At Thursday, August 25, 2005 6:20:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fucking waste of space!...What was Martin Jol thinking?

All I have heard is how wonderful he is....well he proved what a wanker he is today!

Does he really think we have abetter chance of getting three points against Chelscum rather than rovers?....what world does he live in?

Wrong team choices ...wrong substitutions....wrong tactics!

The worst Sprurs performance I have seen in three years!....and there have been a some fucking shockers!!!

Rovers fans must feel robbed of three points from this bunch of crap! One shot all match!....not even a corner!...Jol hang your fucking head in shame!!!!!!

At Thursday, August 25, 2005 6:48:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

calm down lads hes not 6that bad i can see where hes coming from but i still agree with you

At Thursday, August 25, 2005 7:04:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Todd butted Robbie Keane as well??? I didn't see that one but saw Reid cop one as well as just about every Spurs player -Blackburn failed to get Robbo-taking Sunday League style tackles!
Hughes' aggressive tactics worked in as much as they destroyed what could have and should have been a good game of football between Premiership teams playing on a great playing surface. My advice to Hughes and the board would be to sell the ground to a decent club who wish to entertain the football community and take up residence on Hackney Marshes.

At Thursday, August 25, 2005 8:05:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever said Jol is a wanker is a bigger one himself! If you think that MJ has NOT revolutionised Spurs and will be the guiding light for seasons to come, then we're better off without you. Go on, Fuck off to Arsenal, cos you ain't no Spurs supporter. Pr1ck!!!

At Friday, August 26, 2005 1:43:00 am, Blogger weenie said...

Ahhh.... the passion of football fans.

Dontcha just love it!

Good point for Rovers I thought, though if Spurs had the first team out, may have been a different story.

At Friday, August 26, 2005 5:33:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So spuds, with one attempt on goal all night (back passes excluded) have the ideal opportunity to take all three points when Neil is sent off, they bring on the "stars??" for the robbery attempt

Did they cross their own half way line against ten men? Can't recall because they were so busy conceding corners and defending.

Will they win anything this season?
You're having a larf

At Tuesday, August 30, 2005 5:48:00 pm, Blogger .erieth. said...

spurs to be lookin down on rovers by sending a b grade team is just perpostrous. i echo the rants of the likes of spursies sayin we shouldve nicked the three. we worked as hard as we could trespassing into yer fanny defence. i dont think had spurs gotten the a team (not that it would make any different)out it wouldve been a different story.
you rant bout neill who wus sent off, least he was doin his job on the pitch. so it was a stupid brash tackle.
no comment on todd, that was just idiotic, tho i think keane musta instigated him in some way. thats not the todd we know.

At Friday, September 30, 2005 11:43:00 pm, Blogger weenie said...

An excellent win against United and no post!?

At Monday, October 09, 2006 8:02:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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