In what was one of the worst, most one dimensional football match in recent history, Stoke ended a home losing streak, extending Blackburn’s run of games without a win, a 3-1 victory giving the hosts breathing space between themselves and the drop zone. As for Blackburn, its not looking good at all.
Jason Lowe was welcomed back into the starting 11, whilst Formica and Rochina were both chosen in midfield.
Lowe, Dann, Hanley, Givet
Rochina, Gamst, Pedersen
Overall, it was a game of nothing. Both teams failed to string consecutive passes together, both teams slid in on every tackle and both teams wanted to have a running arguement throughout the game. The difference was, Stoke took their chances, Blackburn did not. And whilst Steve Kean will rave on post game about how well we played and created so many chances, at the end of the day Sir, our team is in the drop zone, and does not even look like clawing its way out…
Stoke exposed Blackburn early, Etherington and Pennant given plenty of space down either flank, whilst Crouch was the obvious outlet up front, knocking the ball on for former Rover Jon Walters. However the opening goal came through an unlikely source. A Steve Nzonzi foul handed Jermaine Pennant a free kick from 30 yards out. Whipped into the box, Rory Delap evaded his marker, pouncing to poke a header in from 6 yards…1-0 Stoke
Stoke continued to maintain some pressure whilst Blackburn were happy to return the ball to the home side on every opportunity. Gamst Pedersen and Nzonzi must of been seeing red throughout the game, as their pass percentage would not of climbed 25%. As for Ruben Rochina, I dont think he registered a pass percentage, attempting to take on the whole team at times with no success. Junior Hoillet lost the ball way too many times down the left flank, going to ground at the slightest of touches whilst Yakubu was not being fed up front.
All that criticism and we have not even got to the defence yet…that will come later. Half Time 1-0
A movie moment occured early in the second half as garbage bags managed to find their way onto the pitch, the crowd chanting, ‘What a load of Rubbish’..
Blackburn’s best opportunity could of changed the game. Rovers came out firing in the second half, moving the ball well (if you call stringing 3 passes together well) and getting into the Stoke box. Rochina finally managed to skip past a few players and when it looked like his final touch was a bit too strong, a deft back heel created a golden opportunity for Mauro Formica, facing an open goal from 4 yards out. The Argentine fluffed it though, a clean air swing, and that was that…
With 30 to go, Stoke put the game beyond doubt. Jon Walters rolled it back to Whelan, who lined up his strike from 25 yards. A desperate Scott Dann attempted to block the shot, however all he managed to do was redirect the ball, leaving Paul Robinson stranded, 2-0 Stoke
The worst was yet to come for Blackburn. Marc Wilson sent a long ball over the Rovers defence, with Jason Lowe and Scott Dann left watching. Peter Crouch picked up the scraps, poking home past Paul Robinson who should of done better…3-0 Stoke
The Rovers players must be getting paid incentives, as they turned up in the final 15 minutes. Nzonzi made tackles, Gamst moved the ball, Yakubu found space and Rochina found the back of the net. A neat run saw Rochina cut back in on his man before unleashing a left footed strike, 3-1 Stoke
Yakubu was next to try his luck, Nzonzi dropped a through ball onto the Yak’s right peg, who managed to take the ball in his stride, however his strike was straight at Sorensen. Rochina almost made it 3-2 as his 30 yard bender was tipped just wide by Sorensen
Paul Robinson 5
Left stranded on the first 2 goals, but a poor read on the third goal and some really poor distribution did not help the cause
Jason Lowe 5
One of the better performers on the night. Tried to nullify Etherington down the flank, but they continued to pepper him
Scott Dann 4
The 6 Million Dollar Flop? Might be too early to judge, but he needs to start living up to his price tag if we are to have any chance
Grant Hanley 5
Didnt do much wrong, didnt do much though!
Gael Givet 5
A quiet one from Gael on the left, we really need him more central as he goes in, hard, every time
Steve Nzonzi 2
I dont award many sub 3 ratings, so when I do, you know its worth it. Steve was abyssmal. We could of had so much possession in the first half, yet we managed to hand it over all the time. A running battle with the Stoke midfield is sure to earn him a few weeks on the sideline after cameras picked up an elbow off the play…
Gamst Pedersen 2
Double whammy. Both central midfielders giving the ball away means your not getting anything out of the game. Add to that wasted set pieces and any chance we had gone out the window
Ruben Rochina 5
Jeckyll and Hyde performance. First half poor, second half Ok, final 10 minutes brilliant…
Junior Hoillet 3
Shocking, absolutely shocking. Took on his man every single time, got past him not even once. Was double marked all game, meaning he should of moved the ball rather than take the both on…
Mauro Formica 4
Chose to come into the game rarely. At times forgot he was playing, but when he does get involved it gives you a touch of hope..
No service all game, apart from the late ball by Nzonzi…Frustrating for the Yak