Morten Gamst Pedersen struck twice to ensure Blackburn notched there third win of November, pleasing the Rovers Faithful, as well as the new owners
Blackburn were forced into a few changed with Brett Emerton ruled out due to injury whilst on international duty. Jason Roberts held the front line, whilst Hoillet snuck the wing position.
Michel Salgado, Ryan Nelsen, Chris Samba, Gael Givet
El Hadji Diouf, Phil Jones, MG Pedersen, Junior Hoillet
As the players marched out onto the field, the new owners followed in, recieving a standing applause from the majority of the 21000 fans. This match would be the first under the new regime, and hopefully a long successful era for the mighty Blue and Whites.
Blackburn were the brighter outfit to start off with. Early link up between Jason Roberts, Diouf and Dunn created a neat opportunity, with Richarde Dunne halting the play with a poor challenge. Up stepped Gamst Pedersen, Diouf and Samba, with the latter striking miles wide….Back to the Training Ground with that one!
Aston Villa then countered, with Steven Ireland pulling the strings in midfield, releasing Downing on the flank. He then cut in past his man, drilling a powerful shot forcing Robinson into a fine early save. Good start from both teams.
Downing continued to pester the Rovers defence down the flank, with Agbonlahor providing a good foil, and the midfield pairing of Bannan and Ireland moving the ball quickly, it looked like Rovers could collapse as per last week v Tottenham. However there would be no collapse, with Samba and Nelsen making vital early interventions, preventing a clean shot on goal. Bannan tried from distance, dragging it wide.
Minutes later, Gael Givet was king hit, by the referee! A collision between Givet and Mr Oliver sent the French man down, and Villa decided to counter on the burst. Young danced into the box, firing away, with Robinson parrying for a corner. The resulting corner was cleared to safety, and Givet carried on
With Former Rovers star Brad Friedel in the opposite goals, Morten Gamst Pedersen decided to launch some friendly fire, sending in long throw, after long throw. And Brad was unsettled with the extra attention he recieved from the likes of Diouf and Samba. Fortunately for the Veteran, Mr Oliver saw it his way several times, giving him a free kick for interference.
Blackburn showed they were up for this game. Phil Jones provided the perfect cover in front of the back 4, whilst Jason Roberts managed to get to the ball first every time, holding it up for the likes of Dunn, Diouf and Hoillet to provide an option. Villa also had there moments, with Ireland linking well with Bannan and Downing, it was an evenly contested half.
Deep into injury time, Warnock condeded a silly free kick on a rampaging El Hadji Diouf. Up stepped Morten Gamst Pedersen. With a trademark strike, the ball arrowed towards the far corner, Friedel only managing to slow down the inevitable with the ball flying into the back of the net, 1-0 Rovers.
Gael Givet made way at the break, Pascal Chimbonda dropping in at Left Back.
The second half saw the game pick up a notch. Their was a sense of urgency in the Aston Villa build up, moving the ball much quicker, whilst the same could also be said for Blackburn, who were trying to break as quick as possible. The tackles started flying in, and in due credit, they were hard but clean. Luke Young made a crunching tackle on Junior Hoillet, whilst Phil Jones didnt want to be left out, making mince meat of Ireland.
Ashley Young also upped his game, taking on his man and trying to cut into the box, whilst on the other flank, Downings purpose was to go around and get the cross in. However Blackburn were up to the task, with Samba and Nelsen getting their heads to the crosses first, and Salgado shutting down Young.
Junior Hoillets night came to an end 64 minutes in, with MB Diouf coming on to inject some fresh pace on the flank.
Blackburn continued to pepper the Villa 6 yard box, and were rewarded with a corner. Diouf stepped up on the left flank, crossing into the 6 yard box. A half cleared header found Ryan Nelsen on the 18 yard line, striking a sweet volley goal wards. Morten Gamst managed to stick a foot out, directing the ball past the diving Friedel and into the back of the net, 2-0 Blackburn
Not to long after, El Hadji Diouf really should of made it game set and match, somehow missing a completely open goal. The fresh legs of MB Diouf darting down the right flank released Michel Salgado, who whipped in the perfect cross, evading the Villa defence and Brad Friedel. El Hadji Diouf was left on the far post with an open goal at his mercy, however he sprayed his header high and wide.
Harold Goulon came on making his debut, replacing Morten Gamst Pedersen.
Goulon showed what he was all about early, bringing down Ashley Young, and making a few solid challenges in midfield.
Aston Villa then went all out, sending out Delfounso and Herd, with Delfounso almost making an immediate impact, racing through to deflect a header, just wide of the post.
Blackburn could of countered several times late on, but managed to wind down the clock to ensure they were victorius, wrapping up a monumental week in the clubs history.
Aston Villa 0
Paul Robinson 9
Michel Salgado 7
Started off slowly, with the wingers getting around him easily. But once the game kicked in, he managed to hold his ground, and hit on the counter
Chris Samba 8
Solid as a rock, no chance Agbonlahor was getting past him at all today
Ryan Nelsen 8
Same as Samba, first to the ball every time, well in Admiral
Gael Givet 6
Was rounded by Downing a couple of times, went off ill at the break, lets hope he is fine
Phil Jones 8
Very good performance from the young man. Held the midfield nice and tight, first to every header, and linked well in attack
Morten Gamst Pedersen 9
2 goals for the Norwegian, continuing his fine form following a pearler in the midweek internationals.
EH Diouf 7
Worked hard as always, a touch sloppy at times but persisted throughout the encounter
Junior Hoillet 7
Showed signs of what he is about, pace and trickery. Lost the ball one too many times though, neeeds to pick his moments a touch more
David Dunn 7
Solid performance from Dunn. Moved the ball well, no real chances for him to take
Jason Roberts 8
Played superb as the lone man up front. Chased everything down, held the ball up well, moved off the ball well, cant ask for more
Pascal Chimbonda 8
Looked superb in his 45 minute stint. Really shut down that flank well
MB Diouf 7
Loads of pace and loves to attack. Good Stint
Little time, but welcome to Ewood Park!