Despite dominating possession, and most of the opportunities, it was regular scenes for Rovers, going down 2-0 to a Tottenham outfit who are looking good to at the very least, break into the top 6 after another victory on the Road.
Blackburn, without Chris Samba, David Dunn and Brett Emerton, resorted to a 4-4-2 formation,
Jacobsen, Nelsen, Givet, Chimbonda
Salgado, Nzonzi, Grella, Hoillet
Benni, Di Santo.
It was Rovers who were off to the brighter start, looking to exploit the pace of Junior Hoillet down the left flank. After a clean clearance, Hoillet`s run was brought to an end, 30 yards out from the goal by a sliding tackle. Benni McCarthy stepped up for the free kick, striking it well over the goal. Tottenham were almost rewarded down the other end, Grella`s slick sliding tackle found the ball roll out to Chimbonda, who`s wayward pass to Nelsen was intercepted, Kranjcar took the ball out wide, however his cross avoided everyone.
The battle of the midfield was definitely on the side of Grella and Nzonzi. A short exchange between Grella and McCarthy was followed by a defence splitting through ball by the South African. Di Santo managed to hustle his way past the defence, but was forced out wide to no avail. Grella continued to press in the midfield, whilst Nzonzi was proving to be a strong force, years ahead of his time. A switch of play found Hoillet down the left flank, and once again, he was brought down, this time on the left flank. Benni McCarthy`s free kick took a wicked deflection, landing on top of the crossbar.
It was Hoillet’s turn to turn play maker, after a touch from McCarthy, Hoillet knocked it long, putting Di Santo into space. However, the young striker was out muscled by Bassong. Tottenham immediately countered, Kranjcar darting through the midfield, finding Defoe out wide. His first touch put him through on goal, however, his strike was well wide of Robinson`s far post. The action was flowing fast, and Rover`s can claim to be unlucky not to have gone a goal in front.
Benni McCarthy looked like a man on a mission, holding the ball up, and then skipping past his man. Benni then found Di Santo with a delightful chip, the Argentinean controlling with his chest, then volleying. A metre either side would have been net, however Gomes was up to the task, parrying the strike away from goal. Great play, unlucky Rovers
Rovers were almost left to rue some dodgy set piece marking. Kranjcar stepped up from 40 yards, floating his free kick into the box. An unmarked Bassong should have judged it better, an open header glancing wide of the post. However, Crouch was not to be denied deep into Injury time. A stray shot found its way out wide, with the following cross heading to the 6 yard line, Robinson failed to come out, Nelsen was out muscled by Crouch, who headed into the far corner, 1-0, and half time….
No Changes were made at the break by either team.
The second half got off to a slow start, both teams lacking any immediate flair. Benni McCarthy took the bull by its horns, his perfect through ball finding possibly the slowest player in the Premier League, Salgado, who unfortunately could not make much of his 10m start, opportunity gone. Minutes later, a superb cross by Grella found McCarthy, who chested and volleyed, Gomes with a reflex save, forcing the ball onto the post and the ball then ran across the goal and outwards….What price a goal please?
Gamst came on for Salgado in an attempt to bring a touch more creativity onto the pitch. Rovers continued to dominate, with long range attempts from Hoillet, Di Santo and McCarthy all spraying wide. Nzonzi was starting to fatigue in the midfield, but he and Grella were doing a superb job.
Tottenham were denied a second goal by the assistant`s flag. A great cross by Lennon found the 14ft head of Peter Crouch, who made no mistake of it, however, was called back for offside. Kalinic on for Di Santo, Roberts on for Hoillet.
Rovers` were then made to rue their lack of luck up front. Jermaine Jenas on the counter found Peter Crouch who had perfectly checked his run. Crouch lined up the goal, slotting it past Robinson into the far corner. 2-0 Tottenham
Blackburn had two late chances to worry Tottenham, a well driven strike by McCarthy almost crept in, with Gomes reaching it with his finger tips, tipping it wide of the goal. A McCarthy corner found Ryan Nelsen, who headed straight down from 3 metres, however, the ball took a wicked bounce, straight over the goal.
It wasn`t to be for Blackburn, as Tottenham walked away with the 3 Points at Ewood Park.
Paul Robinson 5
Sorry, but should of come out for the first goal. Must of had half time on his mind, apart from that, not much to do
Lars Jacobsen 6
Really looked of the pace. Must be hard, play one game, sit out 6, but thats the reason why….
Ryan Nelsen 6
Completely out muscled for the first goal, a hint of a foul, however cant be put to blame.
Gael Givet 6
Quiet from the Frenchmen, really not in the same form as last season
Pascal Chimbonda 5.5
Struggled to link up with Hoillet, kept his end tight, however both goals did come from the left flank
Michel Salgado 5
Quality player, but really out of position, would of preferred Olsson getting a run out on the left and Hoillet or Diouf on the Right
Vince Grella 7.5
Very solid game from Vince. Some stray passes towards the end of the game cost him an 8, now just please stay fit so everybody can see what your worth
Steven Nzonzi 7
Made his prescence felt in the midfield, exactly what we want to see. Worked well with Vince, shutting down the midfield, and moving on the counter
David Hoillet 7
Good play from the wing man, sign him up ASAP. Fast on his feet, eye for a pass, would like to see him cross rather then take on his man all the time
Franco Di Santo 7
I’ve been harsh to the young man before. His work ethic tonight was again top notch, and it looks like he and McCarthy are the way forward, they feed off each other, Di Santo toiling, and McCarthy creating. But, again, no goals.
Benni McCarthy 7.5
Very unlucky not to have 2 two his name, plus 2 or 3 assists. Ran, worked hard, hopefully can get a few runs on the trot, and a few goals
Gamst Pedersen 4
Sell, give Treacy or Olsson a shot. Enough Said
Tried to get involved, but not much happening
Who walked under the ladder?
Or did somebody kill a black cat? Who will be the striker that breaks the drought first…..this aint looking too good
Off the Topic- Mark Hughes
Jesus….Sacked! Bloody hell, 2 losses all season, the poor bugger is on his way….Their is no way a team bought in the offseason can gel and win the competition in the first season. Look at Chelsea when the revolution happened, they didnt win it immediately, but look what has been built….Poor Poor Sparky…