The dawn of the new decade has been heralded as a chance to forgive and forget some of the mistakes of the last 10 years and to look to a brighter future. For all Rovers fans, the immediate future is one of uncertainty and insecurity. The defeat today in Part 1 of the Villa trilogy was largely expected and less consequential than the result of the 2 legged League Cup Semi to come. I'm sure both managers would have settled on a game of stone,paper,scissors to sort this one out. As for Mr Diouf, cage fighting rather than football was the name of the game!
Rovers have been mediocre at best over the holiday period. The first half against Sunderland was appalling. It is the time of year where we can become nostalgic and sentimental and the faithful were racking their brains as to when the football played at Ewood has been as frustrating and uneventful. Only those of a vintage age on the Riverside could pinpoint such occasions. Indeed rarely will there have been such a groan in a ground when a fourth official reveals there is only one minute of added time to play and the discontent was not because the crowd wanted the hlf to be extended!
The second half performance improved only after Sunderland had taken the lead. This highlights a fundamental problem with Rovers tactics at the momment. The team only become adventurous after the status quo has been lost. Pedersen began crossing the ball and the full backs and midfield realised that the death penalty has not been re-introduced for those who support the forwards.
It is clear that Benni Mac is off to pastures new and that Jason Roberts (MBE) is a wholehearted character but has had enough chances to make the target man position his own.This leaves Di Santo and "the future of Croatian football" as our first choice strikers. This will hardly spook out centre halves across the country with a grand total of 1 league goal between the pair of them.
Sam says there will not be much movement in or out of the club in the next month, but getting rid of the deadwood and bringing in some fresh faces is imperative to restore the fans faith in Sam's plan. I am not advocating the decisions of some who are signing online petitions to hopefully fast track change at the club. This will be totally counter-productive and in any case the club cannot afford to pay up the contracts, but there is an insipid atmosphere around Ewood at the moment.This can can be eased by an old school up an' atom cup performance on Tuesday night.
The League cup has had its profile raised this year by the BBC decision to take an interest in it. By showing the final live, a unique situation may arise where the little brother of the two domestic cups might have more viewers watching it than the older sibling on ITV in May. What better way to surprise the nation that Rovers can not only mix it with best but can also play some football along the way.
Attacking football is the only way forward on Wednesday. We must take some sort of lead to Villa Park in order to have any chance of progressing To Wembley. I said some time ago that the Villa triology will define the season, even more so now. Part 1 is over. Let's hope parts 2 and 3 show an improvement.
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