Date: 2nd March 2008 at 8:21pm
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Another 3 players will get credit and another 3 will get a knock this week as I rate and slate the performances of the weekend’s game in the 2nd ever Weekend’s Winners and Losers.

Well after the Saturday game and St.James Park I think we can all agree we were somewhat fortunate to leave Newcastle with all 3 points in the bag…. but who made the cut for the Winners and Losers???


– Brad Friedel –
Well bet you couldn’t see this man coming first guys eh? He was an absolute rock and 95% of the reason we came away from Newcastle with 1 point let alone 3.

Two world class saves and several numerous interventions kept everyone calm at a time when the pressure was really on. We take his excellence for granted far too much but he is worth 15 points a season and you really can’t put a price on that.

The Premier’s Leagues’ best goalkeeper… bar none.

– Matt Derbyshire – Capped a great week for himself personally with a last minute winner. He has become a father for the first time when his girlfriend gave birth to 2 baby boys in the week and capped it off with the winner in the last minute of the game with an ice cool finish. He was only on at the end but remember this…

He did more in 20 minutes than Benni did in 70.

– Zurab Khizanashvilli – Only just beat Morten to this. Quietly yet confidently getting on with things at the back. He had plenty to do on Saturday yet whilst the full backs and Samba elaborate most of the time, Zurab just keeps it simple and efficient and never shirks a tackle. 6 months ago it looked as if his Rovers’ career could be over due to lack of first team chances that fell his way.

He is now the reason that Nelsen can take his time coming back.


– Benni McCarthy – Oh no. He has gone from Winner to Loser in one week. He was ineffective and posed little threat. The energy was still there but he needs to find a better way to apply it. Instead of trying a fancy flick when we are under the cosh try to hold it up and wait for others to join in. I’ll say it again…

We have seen the skill and know it is there, lets see the passion to go with it.

– Roque Santa Cruz – He gets an A for effort everytime as he chases and hassles everything and always stands up to be counted. His holding up of the ball is also of a good standard and is a excellent target man with a golden touch. However, he hasn’t scored since December and looks a little nervous in front of goal.

His scoring will come back but maybe he needs a little hug and a word with Sparky just to get himself back on track. We’ll all back him to do so soon.

– Brett Emerton – Deployed in a right midfield role which was his usual position in his early years with Rovers he showed pace and kept his head up which shows us how much he has improved as a player.

The only problem was that he didn’t track back nearly enough and often left Andre Ooijer with 2 men on the overlap to deal with on his own. It did show a lack of discipline and allowed Newcastle to raid down their left at will. This is probably die to the lack of games Emerton has played at right midfield this season.

Even so, it is something Hughes should consider before playing Brett there again.

Well folks, that is indeed all this week. Hope you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it. Till next week….


22 Replies to “Weekend’s Winners And Losers”

  • Doubtless everyone will have there own opinions about who should of been where… but thats what it is all about.

  • Is anyonelse thinking that Zurab is our best defender at the moment, I mean its going to be a big decision for Hughes when Nelsen comes back. Does he play Zurab or his captain

  • Superb article Mikey, I can see this being a feature that we are really going to enjoy, the debate about the rights and wrongs should be good too (just don’t keep picking Emerton as a loser of Sas will kick off lol!!!)

  • I’ve alwasy said Zurab is a quality and assured defender. I do agree about Roque. He definately is playing for the Rovers cause which is great but I want to see that next goal from needs to come soon or does Hughes drop him???

  • I didn’t see the match (hangs head in shame) but the papers have said that Reid or Bentley were man of the match? is this true??

  • was it just me, or did rovers miss dunny’s influence on the game this weekend? realy hope the calf injury was just a little niggle and its gone now!

    think ooijer is our best defender, prefer him at centre back to right back, emo is better at right back thn RM now!

    march should hopefully be a good month for us, ive got tickets for all our games home and away, and travelling from sussex, i sure hope were gona be picking up the points at home!!

  • Agreed whitey… we did miss the Dunny. Warnock did look a bit sloppy at times but made some crucial blocks. Reid was man of the match in the news of the world which will no doubt get a Bommy special at some point!!! lol. Bentley looked very comfortbale on the ball and played very well.

  • Khizanashvilli is really impressing me at the moment and rightfully makes it onto the list of winners. Deserves enormous credit for the way he’s going about his business at the back. Agree with what Big Man Up Front said above – he is looking like our best defender at the moment.

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