After last week's 4-3 defeat at Accrington Stanley, Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler suggested that his playing staff should make a contribution to the supporters travel costs following a dismal performance in Lancashire. If being defeated by the odd goal in seven generates such a response, then the Rovers supporters who braved the elements at the Emirates should be entitled to an all expenses paid luxury break to the Caribbean!
It was not just the scoreline that Rovers should be ashamed of but the manner in which the side capitulated and allowed an out of form Arsenal to dictate proceedings with such ease without playing particularly well. Too many Rovers players made fundamental errors time and again which were exploited by Arsenal's creative players and finished off by their goalscoring generals. Rovers lacked leadership on and off the pitch and without the imposing presence of their former skipper, Arsenal were allowed to dominate as they pleased. Not since Old Trafford, 14 months ago has a Rovers side capitulated in this way and we all know what action the Venkys took after that one. Something tells me that history will not repeat itself!
Gael Givet's sending off cannot be criticised and even if he had have stayed on the pitch, it would have made no difference to the eventual scoreline. Rovers were so poor that Arsenal could have played with 5 players yesterday and still have turned Rovers over. The midfield partnership of N'zonzi and Petrovic was a marriage made in hell and the latter after making steady progress in recent weeks produced a performance that epitomised his early days at Ewood. Indeed those of us at the Emirates were left trying to recall a more embarrassing performance by a Rovers player in recent times.
The reality is, Chris Samba must start against QPR next Saturday. A resolution to the ongoing dispute must be made in order to give Rovers a fighting chance of getting anything from the game. It is one thing for a club like Manchester City with the wealth of resources available to it to freeze out Carlos Tevez but it something that a club like Rovers who are staring down the barrel of the gun cannot afford to do. I don't for one minute condone Samba and the attitude and stance he is making but he is under contract and has to play.
As Andre Marriner blew the final whistle yesterday, I looked around the stadium firm in the belief that aside from possible cup ties we would not be back for some time. Rovers fans have put up with much this season on and off the pitch but deep down are resigned that we will be playing in another division next season and all the ramifications that would follow. Without the promised January window signings ( who ever truly believed that they would materialise) there seems little to suggest that the team will be able to achieve the 6 or so victories necessary to have a chance of survival.
Ryan Nelsen's departure from the club last week brought to an end seven years of wonderful service. The manner of his exit from the club was in keeping with all that is wrong with the current set up at Blackburn Rovers. Nelsen was an honest individual who could be trusted to give his best. Unfortunately, that is a rare commodity nowadays at Ewood Park.
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