As the debate raged about whether to employ a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-2, Big Sam decided to confuse us all and opt for a more exciting 4-3-3. A nice positive move from the big man, but one that ironically left us goalless. In the end, 0-0 probably a fair result from a game that should have brought so much more.
With the Rovers settling in with a 4-3-3, there was little by way of surprise for the starting line-up.
The tactics used soon became obvious. Andrews and Warnock turned providers, while Grella filled the hole and did what he does best.
Everton had the first chance of the game, but the shot was well blocked by the ever reliable Nelsen. With the absence of Pedersen, Diouf was on set piece duties but his early worked failed to deliver.
Everton had the better of early play and looked dangerous, but Rovers enjoyed a spell that saw consecutive shots from Warnock, Givet and Diouf, all of which were blocked.
The front three looked to be working. Roberts did well to hold up the ball and caused some trouble for the defence with clever through balls. Santa tried to do the same and Diouf was giving 100%. However, the final ball was proving to be a problem in the front third. All game the likes of Warnock, Andrews, Santa and Diouf failed to provide decent crosses.
In goal, Brown looked solid and proved his quality with a top shelf save in the 38th minute, diving to his right from a well struck shot he would have seen late. After this, the whole team seemed to grow in confidence, trusting him more and not being afraid to back-pass.
0-0 HALF TIME.
Despite there being no goals, the boys worked hard in the first half and this continued throughout the game.
As news of Grella`s groin strain was announced, through a misty haze of tears I could vaguely see that Big Sam had decided to throw on the immortal Tugay in his place. With the final ball being so elusive in the first half, putting on one of the finest passers in the game was a good move.
From here came the 64th minute introduction of the Axe to a chorus of?um? cheers from the Blackburn faithful, causing the Rovers to revert to a more orthodox style of play. Axe came on for the injured Givet, causing Warnock to revert to his traditional Left Back position. Diouf moved out to left midfield, while Santa became a more central attacker after looking out of sorts on the right.
Immediately prior to this, Warnock found himself hitting the post from a free kick position (arguably an intended cross) and then Jason Roberts was gifted the chance of the game. One on one with the keeper, he managed to toe poke it into Tim Howard`s chest. A disappointing effort and something that Roberts undoubtedly needs to work on.
With the defence solid as always and Treacy coming on for Diouf in the 87th minute, the game fizzled out and a 0-0 result ensued.
Decent chances were few and far between (despite what big Sam says lol) with the pick of the bunch undoubtedly being Roberts`s effort. Ultimately, a lack of quality in the final third was our undoing, with the strikers simply not getting enough service for the win. 0-0 a fair result.
Solid performance although apart from the 38th minute strike, didn`t have to do a great deal
Workable performance, wasn`t overly troubled
Won everything in the air, a couple of mistakes but overall solid
Undoubtedly man of the match. His positioning was awesome and he held down the defence brilliantly
Workable effort. Lets hope the injury doesn`t keep him out!
Very good, although crossing let him down when playing LM. Awesome when shifted to left back and overall, a decent performance
Only played half the game but did his job. Again, I hope his injury heals? very very quickly
His first real run where he has been given licence to attack. Lacked the quality cross/pass and seemed to be caught thinking on a few occasions. But he tries very hard and built essential pressure in midfield.
Not his best performance. Tried to create but found the final ball lacking
Would have been MOTM if he had of scored the one on one. He held up the ball well and applied himself brilliantly
Not his best game. Was not comfortable out on the right but didn`t take opportunities when they came his way. Also gave poor supply but like Roberts, held the ball well.
Some nice passes, didn`t dominate midfield
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
On for a couple of minutes, did little
Well I hope you have enjoyed this review. Feel free to join me in mourning for our beloved Vince Grella, who sadly joined Emerton on the injury list?.