Visit Tanzania! screamed the scrolling Ewood Park pitchside neon. It seemed an obscure place to extol the virtues of the Serengeti but I’m sure the advertisers know their market. Perhaps the huge gaps in the home stands can be explained by coachloads of Rovers regulars re-enacting hunting trips of old on the African plains in preference to seeking the head of Steve Kean at home.
On paper it looks the straightforward win we’d been hoping for and half expecting but in fact it was the second ‘ugly’ win of the week. The combination of Pedersen’s accurate left foot and long throws, the man mountain Samba and the jinking runs of the far from toilet Junior Hoilett was nearly enough to make a large dent in our league ambitions. Some late scrambled defending combined with a fine tip over from Friedel was enough to ensure that we ultimately held on to the lead given us by Van der Vaart’s fine strikes but it was a close run thing and a nerve wracking ending.
Samba created havoc whenever he attempted to get on the end of the string of hopeful punts and throws hoisted into our area. Blackburn didn’t take the option of throwing him forward permanently until it was too late which must’ve been a great relief to the beleaguered Kaboul and Bassong who never found a method of dealing with him.
We put on a generally frustrating show with virtually all of the players mixing the slapdash with the slick in equal proportions. Van der Vaart and Parker were the exceptions. The formation left Adebayor isolated and forlorn for long periods as Rafa played deep behind him. There were too many hoofs from the back and possession was casually thrown away too often. It all gave the impression somehow that we weren’t playing to the best of our ability, that there were shackles but they were self-imposed, bringing on Rose to play out of position being the best example. Or, maybe it was just that Blackburn played well and we were having problems matching their industry in midfield and trickery out wide.
Three points though despite my whingeing and three away victories already. Last season we all moaned about the inability to get results against the teams near the bottom but with the scalps of Wolves, Wigan and now Rovers hanging from Harry’s belt that’s something we can’t complain of in this campaign. A week off and then QPR next Sunday and the return of one man team (in his own head anyway) Adel Taarabt. Another good chance to keep the pressure on those above us.
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