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BigDub’s BIG Match Report: Balckburn (H)

It feels nice, I think we all must admit. Getting three points from a Premier League match is something we have come to expect, until our recent run here. Let’s just all take the time to enjoy the feeling of getting three. There were plenty of positives to take from this match, first and foremost the fact that we scored 4 goals. This is something we have been missing lately, particularly in the league. It is a great sign to see us put up 4, even if it was against a Blackburn side that made several key mistakes that directly led to goals. The midfield was generally good and I also thought that Kaboul, Gallas, and Gomes all played well, particularly in the first half. Those two saves off the line were unbelievably huge.

That said, there were several negatives from today. First were the extra knocks that we seemed to pick up there at the end. Gallas, Kaboul, and Bale all were limping at some point today. These are just injuries we cannot afford. The misses by our forwards today were also discouraging, but can be mostly overlooked due to the fact that we did score 4. Generally, though, our guys did great. Thanks for giving us 3 points fellas.

Gomes– Our keeper made some huge stops today. Neither of the goals can really be blamed on him. He positioned himself quite well tonight, particularly on the one save on Diouf i think it was. He also looked much more confident coming out to address crosses. His punches were timed properly and always did enough to get the ball out of the danger area.

Hutton– Nothing spectacular from Alan today. He actually was asked to do a bit more than usual. Hoilett is a quick, shifty player and for the most part Hutton did well on him. He conceded one inevitable free kick outside the box, but otherwise I think he was solid today.

Gallas– The biggest think William did in the match was his clear off the line in the first half. It is clear through plays like this that his awareness on the pitch is good. It is just a matter of physical limitations with him. His experience shows in both areas.

Kaboul– I seem to say this every week, but Kaboul is still growing up a bit. His time at Pompey has definitely paid off as he is a much better player now than when we sold him. He still needs to keep his head in the match for a full 90. He has patches where he wanders a bit and loses his man. In time this will be fixed. Ultimately, I am confident in Kaboul at the back, probably more so at RB .

Assou-Ekotto– BAE played fine, much like Hutton. Most importantly, he didn’t make any huge mistakes that cost us a goal. He and Bale seem to get along really well down the left. Benny makes some really useful overlapping runs that seem to produce space for Bale and others on that side of the pitch. Performances like this warrant BAE’s selection in the team.

Jenas– JJ really didn’t play too poorly today and i’ll take that. He got forward well and combined effectively with Modric in the middle. He got caught forward on a couple of occasions and we were short men on their counter. I have also conceded that he will inevitably give the ball away once or twice per match, as he did today. Again, though, no huge mistakes

Modric– Modders was shifty, quick, and creative as he normally is. He can make moves with very little space. It’s quite impressive really. Luka played his role well. We were playing mostly attacking players for a majority of the game, which left us bare on the counter, but Luka did well.

van der Vaart– I think Harry may be right about Rafa not being able to maintain fitness at the end of the match. His impact on the match is clear and noticeable. Problem is his presence is more clear earlier in the match. That said, he was in dangerous areas throughout the match and probably deserved a goal. Robinson was huge today, despite conceding four and probably did what it took to keep us from tallying several more. Rafa continues to be a huge player in our midfield

Bale– After a couple of quiet games Gareth put his name back in the headlines. Two nice goals to go with numerous dangerous crosses. The ball that led to Pav’s header was absolutely incredible. Bale was running away from goal and somehow put in a perfect cross that hung up just enough for Pav to head home. He was the difference, as he so often is.

Crouch– His first league goal, finally!!!!! One is better than none, that is for sure. I thought Crouch played well. He match the psychical play of Samba both in attack and defending set pieces. It really is a significant advantage to have a player of Peter’s height to come back and help in defense. Here’s to hoping his scoring ways continue next week against the Scum.

Pav– I made my thoughts clear about the negatives of Roman’s play in the match thread. So for now I will focus on the positives, of which there were several. His goal was very well taken. His header was firm and in a perfect spot. Even better though was his hold up play and ability to link up with Modric and Rafa in the midfield. He made a few very shifty moves on the ball including some backheels that set up real goal chances. It is important not to focus too much on the individual negatives, especially when we win.

Like I said, it just feels good to get three points from a league match again. We played well particularly in the midfield. Our fullbacks were solid and our central defenders for the most part did everything they could to keep a clean sheet. Blackburn snagged a couple lucky ones back late, neither of which were the fault of Gomes.

One thing I will say, though, is that if King and Dawson were playing we would not have conceded at all in this one. I am not saying Kaboul or Gallas were directly responsible in either goal, but the close outs were a bit slow. Dawson or King would not have let us concede twice there and that is the difference in our defense these days. I just don’t have that same level of confidence in the current pairing as I do in our preferred one.

At the end of the day, we take the points and look forward to a huge match next week. We need to get healthy this week. I hold my breath and hope that Hudd and Lennon can somehow find some fitness. Our midfield has the potential to give the Scum fits if we can just get our normal first team out there.


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