Blackburn Match report

#1
I was apprehensive before this one. As a relatively long-time AFCB supporter, it doesn’t feel right when the bookies have a Bournemouth away win as the most likely of the three options. So far this season we’d yet to go on a real run of wins in the league, three in November (Birmingham (A), Reading (H) and Forest (H)) being the current best. Although AFCB would equal that with victory against an erratic Blackburn side and, should that happen, be favourites to extend this with Coventry at home next Saturday. It’s a good time to hit form, particularly against an opponent that hadn’t won in five and had just lost at bottom-side Wycombe. But delve into those games further and there are creditable results (drawing at Norwich, and at home with Swansea, and losing by the only goal against Brentford in an even game). Blackburn don’t concede many either, since March they haven’t let in more than 1 goal, and have 2 clean sheets. Scoring hasn’t been easy for the Lancastrians though; in those last 7 games the ‘average’ result is 0.57 scored and 0.71 conceded per game. This looked set for a nervous game which would be a punch to the stomach if we lost, and feel a disappointment if we only got a point. Blackburn have been missing Adam Armstrong, 3rd in the Championship scoring table, but he was fit to return, we had three in the top 12, although one of these, Stanislas, wasn’t fit. Brooks was back, which was good news if the talented version shows up, less so if it is the off-form version seen recently. The other changes were predictable, Kelly in for Rico, and Pearson in for Rico. It’s beginning to feel like we have a fairly-settled system, with a majority of the team picking itself. The front four of Solanke, Danjuma, Brooks and Billing would trouble any defence in this league, what is to be seen is how much we can get the ball to them and to what extent Blackburn park the bus.

The first 25 minutes were drab and of low-quality, as though each team was only allowed up to four passes before they had to give the ball back to the opposition. In the 29th minute, however, Smith played a one-two with Brooks (with a backheel we’d have moaned at if it had been cut-out, which it almost was) and progressed down the right. He crossed it in to Billing on the edge of the ‘D’ who fed Lerma, out to Danjuma on the left-hand side. He jinked inside in trademark style, but the shot was blocked but fell perfectly to the lurking Billing to rifle it in: 1-0 to the Cherries. The goal woke Blackburn up, and for the rest of the half we were under pressure, continuing the worrying trend of almost dozing in the run-up to half-time. We limited Mowbray’s team to long-range efforts and had glimpses of breaking on the counter-attack, but I was pleased to hear the whistle for half-time as we weren’t the better team at that stage. The question now was whether being in front would reduce our attacking intent, hopefully not, as whilst we appear to be handling set-pieces better, I wouldn’t back us to get a clean sheet if we invited pressure. As an aside, Danjuma’s dead-ball delivery wasn’t an improvement on Stanislas’, maybe the plan is to catch the opponents by surprise when we put in a good one.
 
#2
The ref may have left his cards in the dressing room in the first half, but there were quick bookings for Lerma and Solanke, and a very soft free-kick for Pearson on Johnson, perhaps he was feeling pressured by the cardboard cut-outs in the stand. We had a step-over corner that Billing skied, but the pressure was mounting, when Carter Vickers performed a brilliant bloke (although Cook was diving in too) in a near replica of the chance Billing had put away. We were playing on the counter, and a sloppy pass from Brooks to Billing when it seemed easier to find the Dane brought groans of frustration. Almost immediately Stacey came on for Brooks although this was probably pre-planned. The game was scrappy, which is always worrying if you are only one-up. Then two pieces of skill had looked to have sealed it. First, a great drag-back turn from Pearson who has chopped down, with the ball running to Danjuma, with the ref either playing a good advantage or continuing not to award AFCB standard free-kicks. The Dutchman nutmegged the defender and coolly slotted it in the corner. 2-0. There were a surprising six minutes added which were more eventful than we would have liked. Smith brought down Gallagher for a clear penalty. Armstrong thumped it down the middle and Begovic diving to his right kicked it out. With his heartbeat racing, Begovic then came disastrously for a freekick approaching the halfway line and was stranded with a flick on, but Cook cleared off the line. We hung on, but the last few minutes were worrying, particularly when rivals were winning. That’s 3 wins on the spin and effectively only 7 teams can make the playoffs. With Barnsley and Reading having tougher games (on paper) than us in the next round, we may break back into the top six next week.



Scores.

Begovic: 7. A mixed display, he had little to do, but saved a penalty, but over-excitement immediately after almost cost us a goal

Kelly: 8. Hardly put a foot wrong all game. I’m still surprised by those that don’t rate him; he is firmly established as our first-choice left back.

Carter-Vickers: 8. One exceptional block and generally had Armstrong in his pocket most of the game

Cook: 8. A no-nonsense performance and a goal-line clearance. The Carter-Vickers / Cook partnership is blossoming at the right time.

Smith: 7. Did well for the first goal, but a rash tackle for the penalty put us under pressure

Pearson: 8. Was quiet in the first half, but the drag-back turn brought a smile to my face and resulted in a goal. Suitably irritated opponents too.

Lerma: 7. Did his job well. Patrolled in front of the back four, and presumably was told not to break forward too often

Billing: 7. Continuing his goal-scoring run, but became a little more anonymous in the second half. It’s credit to him that we didn’t have a better replacement in the ‘10’ role even when he was fading.

Danjuma: 8 (MOTM). A close call between Arnie and Kelly / Carter-Vickers / Cook for the MOTM but the second goal clinched it and it was the type of skill you pay to watch.

Brooks: 5. Was largely missing for a lot of the game, and is still coming up to speed. Needs that extra bit of match fitness to bring back the spark, but the embers flashed a little. The 70 minutes he got into his legs will help

Solanke: 6. A whole-hearted performance from Solanke, but didn’t get a chance all game.
 
#3
And just because some of you love it so much :). The xG timeline.

The 90 min mark is both the penalty and the Cook clearance from Johnson. It is hoped they had they scored the penalty the second chance wouldn't have happened though.

Blackburn.JPG
 
#8
We weren’t great, but an away win is always a good result.
Woodgate just needs to stick with this setup and pretty much that starting XI (Stan in for Brooks) until the end of the season now. Billing as a 10 further up the pitch and the likes of Lerma and Pearson doing the dirty stuff. We’re a team that has suffered from too many changes over the last few seasons. It’s a system we have the personnel to play and just need to drill it into the players for the rest of the season that that is how we play. It’s our best chance of promotion.
 
#11
So according to xg Blackburn deserved to win!.....lol it's just shite isn't it?
It can certainly skew the picture if there are big chances in the last minutes when a game is largely decided,

But, if you only saw up to the attacker about to hit the ball would you have preferred our chances or theirs? This is the way I’ve always judged games. I think i‘d prefer theirs as a penalty is more likely to be scored than Danjuma’s chance, and Billing’s and Johnson’s chances (with the great CCV block) were fairly similar. We didn’t create too many others. Would I have thought we‘d have been robbed with a draw, no. Did Blackburn deserve to win, No.

I’m glad it gives us something to discuss, and seeing as I’m not precious about it, plus it only takes 5 mins, I’ll keep rolling them out for talking points.
 

NWCherries98

Fans' Favourite
#12
It can certainly skew the picture if there are big chances in the last minutes when a game is largely decided,

But, if you only saw up to the attacker about to hit the ball would you have preferred our chances or theirs? This is the way I’ve always judged games. I think i‘d prefer theirs as a penalty is more likely to be scored than Danjuma’s chance, and Billing’s and Johnson’s chances (with the great CCV block) were fairly similar. We didn’t create too many others. Would I have thought we‘d have been robbed with a draw, no. Did Blackburn deserve to win, No.

I’m glad it gives us something to discuss, and seeing as I’m not precious about it, plus it only takes 5 mins, I’ll keep rolling them out for talking points.
I think it paints an interesting picture of the games. Ultimately we “deserved” the win because we were clinical and good enough to take those chances. Thought our performance was ok, nice to win in 1st gear ;), Blackburn were very feeble though, can see why they’ve been struggling.
 
#13
It can certainly skew the picture if there are big chances in the last minutes when a game is largely decided,

But, if you only saw up to the attacker about to hit the ball would you have preferred our chances or theirs? This is the way I’ve always judged games. I think i‘d prefer theirs as a penalty is more likely to be scored than Danjuma’s chance, and Billing’s and Johnson’s chances (with the great CCV block) were fairly similar. We didn’t create too many others. Would I have thought we‘d have been robbed with a draw, no. Did Blackburn deserve to win, No.

I’m glad it gives us something to discuss, and seeing as I’m not precious about it, plus it only takes 5 mins, I’ll keep rolling them out for talking points.
If they had their way people would only be allowed to mention the final score, anything else is nonsense. ;)
 
#16
but great performance from that hair, homage to brit-pop circa 1994......
he invented those 6 minutes added time just so we'd have a bit longer for us to clock that barnet.......
It was great hair.................Too be fair though, we've all got great hair at the moment. It seems only players are getting lockdown haircuts.
 
#18
But we mustn't give any iota of credit to Samuel Surridge..for anything...his name is far too 1950s sounding and English..and he cost nothing..doesn't fit the Elite narratives of 2021 KingsParkoCracy! Oh f√cking No!
 
#20
But we mustn't give any iota of credit to Samuel Surridge..for anything...his name is far too 1950s sounding and English..and he cost nothing..doesn't fit the Elite narratives of 2021 KingsParkoCracy! Oh f√cking No!
It's really very simple Brian... Just judge players on their performances. You're the biggest culprit of judging players on their fee, nationality, shoe size or whatever other criteria you've decided is important all of a sudden.