September 27, 2009
They say a week is a long time in politics but it's light years as far as football is concerned. Last weekend brought doom, gloom and a great sense of forboding for the cold and dark months which lie ahead. Fast forward 6 days and optimism oused out of Ewood, the like of which we have not seen for some time. We maybe getting ahead of ourselves slightly but there are fundamental reasons why this victory may prove significant in shaping the rest of a very long season ahead.
The manner of the performance and the tempo at which we took the game to the opposition even after the sending off, was unique in the current campaign. If Sam's system is going to be effective and worth pursuing, you need a target man who is mobile and able to lead the line. He also has to bring into play the runners from midfield. This has been missing up to now. Step up Di Santo! He fulfilled the criteria and ran himself into the turf. If he continues to impress, the current Chelsea transfer embargo may unfortunately force his quick return to West London.
N'zonzi was also instrumental in the victory. His distribution was excellent and he controlled the midfield for long periods. His performance should finally see the end of the 'none' dimensional Grella/Andrews partnership particularly after the former saw red by doing a great Paul Scholes impression under the nose of the ref.
Dunny took us all back a decade with an inspirational display. In fairness, he does appear fitter, stronger and more confident than at any time in recent seasons.
There is still much to do for Sam to convince the Ewood faithful that his methods and formations are the most pragmatic way of keeping the club in the top flight, but Saturday certainly helped his campaign.
September 21, 2009
The glorious 'Indian Summer' weather we had this weekend was in complete contrast to the mood that all Rovers fans were feeling leaving Goodison on Sunday. The performance raised more questions than answers and was the latest in long line of away days where the faithful travelled in hope rather than expectation.
I have said many times before that we do not have the quality to play a passing game, equally we do not have the personnel in the right places to do justice to the current system. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place and that should worry us all. I still have faith in Sam to fulfill his remit of keeping us up but by continually playing a 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 formation, he is testing the patience of the most loyal supporter.
As for poor Jason Roberts, it is nothing personal. He gives 100% and I appreciate the effort he puts into every game. But unfortunately that is not good enough. By asking him to play as the lone man upfront, with the total lack of service he receives, it is akin to kicking a blind man's stick away!
September 13, 2009
I've never played a game of Rugby League. I do realise however that the basic premise is that you have 6 attempts to score a try and if you are too predictable the ball will be 'turned over' to the other team. The first half yesterday resembled just that. The late Eddie Waring would have been in his element!
For 45 minutes, one side was a poor man's Stoke, the other was far worse than that. The pattern of play went something like this; Long throw,long throw,long throw,corner,goalkick. Long throw,long throw,long throw,corner,goalkick. Long throw,long throw......(you get the idea!) There were kids in front of us snoozing to their hearts content. With Jason Roberts again all alone up front, Rovers were limited in their attacking options. Wolves were worse than awful and with more adventure, Rovers would have gone in at the interval with more to show than Diouf's opener. The 2nd half was different.
Rovers were inventive and mixed things up and the default mechanism was thrown in the bin.They removed their shackles and with the instrumental Dunn surging forward with energy and purpose, they threatened the Wolves goal on countless occasions. There was a spell on the hour mark when Rovers treated the faithful to an exhibition in the art of passing which had some of us looking through the history books as to when that last happened!
September 8, 2009
It's been 7 days where nothing in the football world has got me truly excited. The transfer window let in a slight draft...yawn,yawn! Chelsea have had a transfer embargo placed upon them, but deep down we all know that the ban will be overturned or suspended at the very least. And now we have to brace ourselves for weeks if not months of similar stories involving clubs who may not have signed youngsters by the most ethical means. The coverage could make the Telegraph's expenses extravaganza seem like a one day news item.
But the lack of eyebrow raising stories always seems to occur during International week.It does feel strange to have a break so early in the season, but the Premier League have their hands tied when it comes to the International calandar. It was a pointless game against Slovenia despite what anyone might say. Some will argue that it was good for Capello to try out some 'fringe' players before the Croatia game but if the guy does not know his squad by now, he might as well pack it all in and retire to Lake Garda.