Date: 26th February 2011 at 8:25pm
Written by: LHrover

Blackburn Rovers got what they deserved today after a lacklustre display against Aston Villa at Villa Park. Fabio Capello watched Villa dominate throughout and come away with a well deserved 4 – 1 win.

What started as a promising afternoon, with the chance to rise into the top half ended in disaster as Rovers conceded four goals against Villa and had club Captain Ryan Nelson sent off.

Villa`s form was exactly the same as ours leading into the match with a loss and two draws in their last three premier league games. Rovers beat Aston Villa 1- 0 in this fixture last season.

Blackburn lined up today with a defensive 4 – 5 – 1, which surprised me a bit. After our recent good attacking play this seemed like a step backwards for me. Santa Cruz was our lone front man, with Pedersen and Emerton on the flanks. Grella, Jermaine Jones and everyone`s favourite Keith Andrews played in the heart of midfield and our back four was a normally very solid combination of Salgado, Olsson, Nelson and Hanley.

It seemed to me that we were set up to play for the draw today, which at Villa away is not a bad thing, though with Villa`s recent form I thought that we may try and take the game to them?.how wrong I was.

Rovers kicked off the first half and after a lifeless start Aston Villa nearly made us pay. Ten minutes into the game Ashley Young fed a good through play into Bent whose shot was well saved by Paul Robinson this was a sign of things to come.

Throughout the first half Rovers were on the back foot, but to our credit we defended quite well. Nelson was producing good tackles to stop the likes of Pires from breaking through.

Rovers first shot came after 17 minutes, Pedersen and Andrews combined in the middle to give Olsson space to shoot, however his shot was wide of the mark.

Salgado started really well at right back, tackle after tackle he made on downing and Pires, but young Albrighton was getting the better of him by using his pace.

Blackburn then went on the attack, playing the ball out to Pedersen who whipped a dangerous ball in searching for Santa Cruz at the far post, the cross was headed away by Baker and the Villa counter attack was on, it ended with Jones bringing down Pires and earning himself a yellow card for his actions.

On the 25th minute came our best chance of the half so far, Pedersen took the corner and Ryan Nelson met the cross with a strong header, which unfortunately went over the bar.

he game was quite scrappy at this point, with most of the football played in our own half.

There was a penalty shout for Villa next as Hanley brought down Bent in the area, from where I was sat it did look like Hanley made contact, I`ve seen penalties given for similar challenges and we were lucky it was not given. Villa played on and the loose ball fell to Downing, who skied his shot.

Villa was dominating play and Rovers struggled to get the ball past the halfway line. Villa had another chance when Downing worked the ball inside finding Pires, whose shot went wide.

Next there was a dangerous free kick at the edge of the area for Villa after Olson caught Young. Downing whipped in the free kick only for the commanding Paul Robinson to come out and punch the ball away, taking out Baker in the process. Baker then went off with a head injury, Delph replacing him.

Another dangerous Villa attack followed, Albrighton beat Salgado round the outside and whipped a dangerous cross in, the ball came out to Pires who hit a powerful shot from 20 yards, Paul Robinson provided the heroics to keep Blackburn level.

Villa were really piling on the pressure at the end of the half and soon they had another chance. Pires had a 20 yard shot parried away by Robinson, the ball fell to Bent who was odds on to score, only for Robinson to be the hero again as he made an instinctive save to keep us in it.

Villa wanted to score before halftime and nearly did well the ball came to Walker who unleashed a powerful drive from 15 yards, Robinson saved well and the ball fell to Ashley Young who really should of scored, however his shot was well over.

Next came disaster from Pedersen, who had been playing well so far. Pedersen intercepted a pass only for the ball to go to Darren Bent who raced on goal, we were lucky. Bent hesitated for a second and Ryan Nelson made an inch perfect tackle.

Half time 0 – 0. After starting well Villa dominated from 25 minutes onwards. Little to write about Rovers going forward, we did well defensively so far, Hanley was looking ok and Nelson was on form. With Robinson showing exactly why he should be England`s number 1. Santa Cruz had little to do and was looking lonely up front.

At the start of the second half came our best chance so far, Rovers came out all guns blazing, Santa Cruz won the ball in midfield before charging forward and playing in Jones, whose shot was well saved by former Rovers legend Brad Friedel.

Sadly that was it from us.

What seemed to be a little pressure situation turned into disaster for Keith Andrews. Pedersen played it back to Keith, who failed to clear the ball, instead opting to show everyone his undoubted skill on the ball. Ashley Young won the ball and was immediately brought down in the area by (you guessed it) Keith Andrews, no doubt about it stonewall penalty to Villa.

Ashley Young stepped up for the Penalty and drilled the ball into the back of the net, sending Robbo the wrong way. 1 – 0 Villa.

Danger for Rovers soon followed after (yes him again) Andrews sloppy pass found Albrighton, who charged down the right hand side and whipped the ball in, his cross missed everyone and was well cleared by Nelson.

Villa dominated play and you just felt the second goal was coming, Villa didn`t disappoint. A series of corners lead to Villa`s second goal. The first corner was played short to Young who whipped it dangerously into the six yard box, Hanley headed the first one out for another corner.

The second corner went to Albrighton, who crossed into the 6 yard box, Keith Andrews got his head to it and sent it dangerously across the goalmouth and out for another corner.

The third corner came to Albrighton, who came inside and whipped a cross into the middle, Hanley instinctively tried to block it, only to send it into the back of the net. 2- 0 Villa.

A substitution then followed as Aussie Grella was taken off for the prolific Jason Roberts. And service starved Santa Cruz came off for Michael Corleone lookalike Nikola Kalinic

Rovers then seemed to turn off and Villa made us pay again. A foul in midfield by Nelson on Young lead to downing playing on and surging into the clear, his tidy left footed finish curled around Paul Robinson and nestled into the corner. 3 – 0 Villa. Nelson then got his first yellow of the game for the foul on Young in the build up.

Next came a rare chance for Rovers, Olsson was brought down on the left and from the resulting free kick we could of scored. Pedersen sent the free kick dangerously towards the back post, Hanley was stretching but could not reach it, a touch would of probably sent it in.

Albrighton was running the game down the right flank, twice he managed to cut inside in the space of five minutes, both attempts were saved well by Paul Robinson.

Next it was Young`s turn. He charged down the flank, cut inside then back outside before sending a dangerous cross/shot across goal, Bent couldn`t touch it to make it four.

Another penalty shout followed soon afterwards when Albrighton went down after a challenge from Salgado. Albrighton cut inside and sent for ball past Salgado, the referee was nearby and let play on, but I have seen them given before.

Pires then got a round of applause as he left the pitch for Petrov.

It`s safe to say that Andrews didn`t when he was replaced soon afterwards for the Zonz.

A rare goal for Rovers followed. Kalinic hit a powerful strike from 20 yards, the ball deflected wickedly off Richard Dunne and looped over over Fridel and into the ball of the net. 3 – 1 Villa.

Any hopes of a comeback were soon dashed when Ashley Young scored again. Downing took the ball down the right. Olsson backed off and Downing picked out Young who curled the ball home from the edge of the area.

Jason Robert`s idle Emile Heskey then came on for Darren Bent.

Kalinic almost scored again soon afterwards, Nikola Kalinic took a long shot from about 20 yards which went just inches wide, a great effort from the Croatian.

Soon after Heskey shows Jason Roberts how it is done. Petrov sent Downing down the right, his cross from the right fell to Heskey who missed an open net.

4 minutes stoppage time followed.

Ryan Nelson was then sent off in the 93rd minute. Young rushed past him and Nelson brought him down, earning him a second yellow card and a one match suspension.

Player Ratings

Robinson – 8
Excellent game for a keeper who conceded four goals.

See star man.

Salgado – 5
He started well at right back but was soon caught out for pace time and time again by Albrighton.

Needed help.

Nelsen – 5
Made some great tackles over the course of the game and was unlucky to be sent off.

Brave to even be playing.

Hanley – 5
Scored an own goal. Looked very shaky after that and struggled to keep his cool.

Learning curve.

Olsson – 6
Wasn`t as good going forward as he normally is, had a few shots off target.

Still operating at left back.

Grella – 5
Did he do anything this game?

Ah yes, got booked in the first half.

Emerton – 6
‘Sasman’ had some good input at times, I would like to see him play in the middle.

(Preferably ahead of Andrews or Grella!)

Jones – 6
Did a good job on the whole, made some good passes, got booked in the first half.


Andrews – 4
‘Irish Kaka’ made some sloppy passes throughout and a horrible mistake that lead to Villa`s breakthrough goal.

They’ll be on his back again will the boo boys.

Santa Cruz – 6
The one time he got the ball he played Jones through and we almost scored.

Needs more service.

Gamst Pedersen – 4
Confusing runs, poor movement and sloppy passing.

Must do much, much better. Frustrated his team mates.

Kalinic – 7
The Croatian came on and scored, and almost got a second, did his job well.


N’Zonzi – 6
Not much time to make an impact.

Kept it steady but couldn’t affect the game.
Same as N’Zonzi really.

Bought on to assist Kalinic.


26 Replies to “Rovers make it easy for Villa”

  • This was the most unprofessional performance since the Paul Ince show away to Wigan. We were sloppy throughout and Andrews’ mistake to give away the penalty was pathetic. I hate to add that Nelson’s action in getting himself sent off and so suspended was very amateur. The midfield playrs looked like strangers – not surprising as they had never played together in a match. Make no mistake, Villa were a poor nervy side and their crowd were almost silent and our abject failure here suggests we should be afraid – very afraid for the rest of the season. Now is the time for Steve Keen to show us he has what it takes to be a Premiership manager. Make no mistake, another performance like this against Fulham and the odds on relegation will fall like a stone.

  • we all knew it was disaster waiting to happen after we saw the lineup. absolutely no attacking intent. givet should have started a center or left back….not sure if the midfield made any positive contribution…Kean is as confused as ever…not sure what happened in dubai

  • “Make no mistake, Villa are a poor nervy side and crowd almost silent”

    You were the worst team ive seen and an away following of 2 taxis to boot, get real. Even though you were poor, we ran you ragged, the second half in particular and some sublime keep ball attacking football. Be very afraid my friend your looking at the championship on this performance

  • like blackburn, but you were awful today. villa passed the ball far too slowly in the first half but only the excellent robonson and poor finishing kept the scores level. once the goal went in, stupid penalty, one way traffic, you could well be in trouble/ shame

  • like blackburn, but you were awful today. villa passed the ball far too slowly in the first half but only the excellent robonson and poor finishing kept the scores level. once the goal went in, stupid penalty, one way traffic, you could well be in trouble/ shame

  • Very poor, looked at the line up in utter disappointment. N’Zonzi and Givet shoulda started and maybe Kalinic with his scoring record against AVERAGE teams like VILLA. I’m fed up of saying it but Olsson is no left back he’s a winger. I’m all for giving Kean a chance but I’m starting to think he doesn’t really know who our best 11 is for each opposition. With Villa’s leaky defence this was a game we should have attacked from the start. Sort it out Kean.
    Oh and very good report LH I enjoyed the sarcasm, especially “The Prolific Jason Roberts” and “Irish Kaka, Keith Andrews”

  • cracking read, pretty much covered the game well….we were disgraceful! and to think i flew back into sydney for the weekend for this abyssmal performance to end what was a good weekend back! arghhhhhhhh….back to work i go!

  • ITSALLROVER, our AVERAGE team is alot better than yours and on paper a top 7 team, we hammered you not only once but twice this season and dont forget all the times last year. You were ***** poor and it was the easiest game for us all season, the quality between the sides showed today and it will show come end of the season when we are back up where we should be.

  • P.Avfc – mate you won, fair enough… but didin’t we do the league double over you last season, and we beat you at ewood in the league this season too? Yes, you have beaten us in the cup games, but yesterday was the first hammering we’ve taken.

  • “And dont forget all the times last year” – We did the league double over you matey last season so don’t pretend it was quite so one sided. Well done on your win yesterday you were clearly the better side. But don’t behave like a fool mate.

  • Can’t understand how Andrews/Jones/Grella get in the team before N’Zonzi. When we need solid experience away from home Hanley plays before Givet. Looks like the lack of experience from Mr (I can get rid of Mr Williams) Kean is beginning to show through. It appears that Santa Cruz is a shadow of his former self and it is not to much of a worry that we have not got first option on his signature. The rest of the season looks a tad worrying.

  • You forgetting the times we hammered you in the cup delap? We did you good and proper yday, tbf i shouldn’t be gloating about beating blackburn because we are heads and shoudlers above these teams around us, just having a bad season.

  • Bring back Mark Hughes if the indian chiefs wants the club to move forward. Steve Kean is clueless, relegation dogfight is on the cards.

  • “You forgetting the times we hammered you in the cup delap?” – No I am not but you are forgetting the times we beat you. “We did you good and proper yday, tbf i shouldn’t be gloating about beating blackburn because we are heads and shoudlers above these teams around us, just having a bad season.” – You shouldn’t be gloating full stop you big headed tool and you have no right to beat anyone.

  • P.Avfc yet again… Sounds like you’re so desperate for praise on a (look at your league position and tell me different) very AVERAGE team. Your team was looking good under O’Neill but he’s gone and so will your best players come the summer. Wasn’t 2 minutes ago you were all moaning about Houllier so what’s changed? Bent won’t hang around for long when he sniff’s the money somewhere else. Time to wake up and realise You are now the second best team in Birmingham after last night, oh and congratulations to B.C.F.C Carling Cup Winners 2011… must be very hard to swallow!!

  • strange old game all in all. First half was ‘dead’ on and off the pitch. Second half once our lot scored things looked so much more relaxed, confidence came back … would / could have been different if Brad hadn’t saved your early second half chance though. Would disagree on your assessment itsallrover think MON had had his day, our style of football was awful and I do think we were being ‘found out’ albeit, still we were difficult to break down I guess. Think Houllier has the signs of getting us playing better / passing football. He tried to do it a bit too quickly with some of the wrong players for that job though. Think – and know you are trying to fight fire with fire v P.Avfc who does seem to love to wind others up – that Blues have a long way to go before ‘taking’ the City… but agree, congrats to them, they won so they deserved it. Good luck for the rest of the season folks, always like the good people on Vital Rovers!

  • ITSALLROVER so a team wins a cup we have won oh iv’e lost count and they are suddently better than us? Even though we are ahead of them in the league, far better history and squad. How can you say our team under o’neil was better? We have signed makoun and bent arguably 2 world class players and since january our performances have been picking up, only lost to man utd AWAY and win our next 2 games and we go into the top 8 or 7. HA! The blues did well fair play, but they have 2 trophies now in the history of their football club, talk about embarrasing! And rovers LOL got no time for small clubs.

  • wat did i tell u kean doesnt have a clue why does he keep playing andrews every time he plays we conceded goallllllsssssssss and loads of them i really think he should be took in to the dressing room and bet the crap out of no way is this lad premiership stuff i wonder does kean fancy hanley keeps playin him i think to slow to think movement not great he needs to be loaned out for 2 3 more season but no in england

  • P.Avfc… got no time for small clubs… that old chest nut. Tell ya what mate when you’re so called BIG CLUB’s name appears engraved on the Premier League trophy alongside… Blackburn Rovers F.C just give us a shout and i’ll eat my laptop. I wouldn’t hold your breath too long though. nuff said

  • “And Rovers LOL got no time for small clubs.” – these types of fans are embarrassing. What does the size of the club matter? If a fan came up to me from say, QPR and said to me – where is the ground from here mate and I said “sorry mate, I ain’t got time for small clubs”. How much of a moron would I be?

  • LOL ITSALLROVER, go to wikipedia, our website or anyplace which will explain the clubs history and you will see that aston villa are the fourth club behind man utd, liverpool and arsenal to win the most trophies in history. If liverpool are a big club then arn’t we HAHA!

  • But fair is fair, we we rubbish and didn’t deserve anything from the game. Despite our run of three league victories against the second best team in Birmingham, we couldn’t make it four – massive shame.

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