Goals either side of the break, one fortunate own goal by Tamas and a stunning strike from Canadian starlet Junior Hoillet gave Blackburn a comfortable victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Manager Steve Kean decided to head out with an untested 4-4-2, diamond formation, with new boy Jermaine Jones playing the holding role in midfield, and Roque Santa Cruz partnered up front alongside Nikola Kalinic.
Roque Santa Cruz
Blackburn almost got off to the worst possible start. A sloppy touch from Morten Gamst Pedersen saw James Morrison release Odemwingie, who’s first time volley from 25 yards as spectacularly saved by Rovers Number One, Paul Robinson. WBA continued to enjoy the early spell of possesion, with Jerome Thomas and Scharner both trying their luck.
Rovers However did start to push on further up the field. Olsson and Salgado attempted to get forward at every opportunity, with debutant Jermaine Jones filling the whole in midfield well. David Dunn was displaying a solid passing game which was missing from previous weeks, whilst Roque Santa Cruz should some clinical touches up front.
Rovers tested Myrhill twice in succession, a miscleared corner was struck by Olsson, with Myrhill reacting late and clearing. Samba followed up with a turn and shot, tipped wide again by the WBA keeper.
With Blackburn hitting hard on the attack, they were prone to the counter. However, Samba, Givet, Salgado, Olsson and Jones proved to be as solid as you would like of your defensive line. Samba was first to every ball, whilst Salgado and Givet weren’t shy of a challenge. Jones played the holding midfielder role perfectly, shutting down the space and tracking back well.
Jerome Thomas was proving to be the main thorn in the Rovers defence, his pace and trickery provided a nice opportunity from out wide, however Robinson was up to the task, tipping wide.
The deadlock was finally broken, minutes before the break. David Dunn darted down the right flank, sending a cross in. Kalinic pounced, however WBA defender, Tamas, got his head to it first, and into the back of the net. An Own Goal. 1-0 Blackburn
Roque almost doubled it just before the break. Hoillet dashed down the flank, cutting the ball in for Santa Cruz. Roque let the ball roll across his body, striking with his left, forcing Myrhill to pull off a neat save to his left.
Half Time 1-0 Blackburn
We barely had time to return to our seats for the second half, as Rovers scored their second of the afternoon. Dunn chipped the ball in, with Kalinic chesting it into the path of Hoillet. Junior then drilled it home from 25 yards, a cracker to open his Premier League goal scoring account for Blackburn. 2-0
Whilst we could of sat back and played the game out, Michel Salgado thought otherwise. He and Olsson were superb in defence, getting stuck into tackles whilst progressing the ball in a sharp and quick fashion. Roque was hungry to get onto the score sheet, but it was his all round team game which delighted the faithful.
Robinson was forced into another fine save from Thomas, determined to keep a clean sheet. Kean made 2 changed, Dunn and Kalinic replaced by Nzonzi and Roberts. Grant Hanley also came on for Salagado, forcing a reshuffle in defence, with Olsson moved to Right back to contain the pace of Jerome Thomas.
As WBA pushed for an equaliser, they were unlucky to be denied a penalty, as a lunging effort by Jermaine Jones appeared to be inside the box, however Mark Clattenburg ruled it to be just outside. Rovers had their own penalty claim, Jason Roberts tugged back as he slipped a ball through, but that was also denied.
Late chances to Olsson and Santa Cruz could of extended the margin, but 2-0 it finished, a delightful performance riding Blackburn up to 7th position.
Paul Robinson 9
Made some fantastic saves, including his first minute tip, forcing the faithful into chants of ‘Too good for England’
Michel Salgado 8
Showed hunger beyond his years. Hunted every ball down, moved it fast in attack, and didnt back out of any challenge. Give the man another season
Chris Samba 8
A Captains knock in defence. Was not to be beaten all night, first to every header, and solid as a rock
Gael Givet 8
By far, his best game of the season. On the money with every challenge
Martin Olsson 9
Superb game from Martin. Oozed of confidence down the left flank, taking on his man and leaving them in his stride
Jermaine Jones 7
Solid debut from the American/German. Tracked back superbly, good range of passing, and another one who isnt shy of a challenge
Morten Gamst Pedersen 4
Worst on pitch. Very, very sloppy, bad touches almost leading to 3 goals. Also disturbed the game in attack, his passing game was poor
David Dunn 7
Much better performance from Dunny. Moved the ball well, tried taking on his man as needed, and worked hard all out. Still not a 90 minute man, as Kean realised
Junior Hoillet 10
Best game of his career, and one of the best performances of anyone in a Blackburn Jersey this season. Flashy, pacey, hungry, exciting
Roque Santa Cruz 8
Played the back to goal role superbly. Held it up well, moved it around as needed, oozed of class. Should of scored late on
Niikola Kalinic 7
Played second fiddle to Roque Santa Cruz, however a delightful touch set up Hoillet’s goal
Didnt understand the formation, a diamond in midfield, however, with Olsson and Salgado hitting on the flanks, he got it spot on.