Filed: Thursday, 27th August 2009
By: Preview Percy
After a week of playing in other clubs’ cup finals we schlep up the Ms 1 & 6 to Ewood Park for a 3.00pm kick-off against Blackburn Rovers.
Last term Rovers finished in 15th place on 41 points, 5 points clear of Sunderland in 16th and 7 points ahead of the Geordies who occupied the final relegation spot. This season they haven’t had the most inspiring of starts as yet, though of course the table is still in its foetal stage. They currently lie in 18th spot ahead of Pompey and bottom-placed Everton on goal difference. Like ourselves, they have only played twice in the league due to the demands of the Europa League. They went down 2-0 at home to Manchester City on the opening day and, despite taking the lead at the Stadium of Light last weekend, a Kenwyne Jones double saw them go down 2-1 to Sunderland. They did get a win in midweek, proving to be too strong at Gillingham where they came away with a 3-1 win to send them into the next round of the League Cup.
There’s been a bit of transfer activity during the window. They’ve signed/are signing no fewer than two right backs. Michel Salgado has come in on a free from Real Madrid, no doubt finally fulfilling a life-long ambition to play his home matches at Ewood Park having spent so many years having to put up with the Bernebau. The move marks a return to Allardyce’s old transfer policy of bringing in veterans from abroad, something that was a bit of a trademark of his at Bolton. In competition for the right-back spot will be Pascal Chimbonda who is reported at the time of writing to be “close to signing” a deal for a reported fee of £2m. Chimbonda spent a while at Sunderland where he announced on arrival that he hoped to help the Mackems mount a challenge for the title within five years, only to return to Tottenham once it started to look like that title was more likely to be the Championship than the Premiership.
Chimbonda has been known to play on the left in the past and it may be this role that Allardyce has in mind for him in view of the impending departure of Stephen Warnock. Warnock was left out of the matches at Sunderland and Gillingham (though he was on the bench at The Priestfield) and he seems set to fulfil a life-long ambition to get the hell out of Ewood Park with Villa seeming to be the most likely destination.
Roque Santa Cruz departed to join Manchester City where he is, no doubt, looking to fulfil a life-long ambition to play in the FA Premier Reserve League (North). Rovers raided Hajduk Split to sign 21 year-old striker Nikola Kalinic for a reported £6m and plundered Stamford Bridge for Franco Di Santo who is on loan until January, though there is an option to extend the loan until the end of the season. The first two games have seen them tinkering up front with Roberts and McCarthy getting the nod in the first match. Di Santo got a start at Sunderland, though his participation lasted barely a quarter of an hour through injury. Kalinic did start against Gillingham where he picked up a yellow before being subbed at the interval. He started alongside Canadian David Hoilett who at least contributed a goal.
Ourselves? Well it’s been a hell of a week even by our soap opera standards. The horrific events at the Davenport household and the tragic death of Ian Collison should put some things into perspective for a lot of people and the Percy family would like to add its sincerest best wishes to Calum for a speedy recovery and to the Collison family. The mayhem on Tuesday night overshadowed a brave and mature performance from young Jack and the sight of him in tears as he came off the pitch at the end of the match is an image that will stick in my mind forever. Whether Collison feels up to playing this weekend only he will know but nobody would begrudge him a bit of a break under the circumstances and one hopes he will get the best of advice from those around him.
On the football front, rumours abound that we are close to signing the elusive striker to support Carlton Cole, with one piece of gossip suggesting that we may even have a player arrive in time for inclusion in the squad for Ewood. Should that occur I’d expect to see the new arrival on the bench rather than starting. Of course, the other side of the rumour equation suggests that the arrival of a new striker will depend on the departure of someone else, with James Collins’ name firmly in the frame. It would be a bit of a shame if Ginge were to depart before this one as Rovers’ style of football means that this is a match that should be right up his street. Last season’s match saw aerial ball after aerial ball launched into the box where injuries meant that we had to go with Neill and Tomkins in the middle. Most of us who attended the match were grateful that we didn’t have to endure that sort of thing every week. Rovers came in for a lot of stick in the papers for the nature of their performance that day. So much so that Allardyce (or one of his minions) saw fit to use the club’s official website to publish a load of statistics designed to convince the reader that what they had been watching had, in fact, been an exhibition of passing from the home side on a par with that seen from Cruyff-era Holland. However the statistics were less total football than total rubbish – I’d back the evidence of my aching neck muscles against Allardyce’s computer printouts any day and midfielder David Dunn’s comments that their tactic against Manchester City would be to “knock them about” suggests that we may have to wait a wee while longer for any Damascene conversion to the passing game in this part of the North West.
The injury to Ilunga will keep him out of this one and Spector’s performance against Millwall was one that gave cause for concern. I thought he did ok against the overrated Lennon last weekend – but for that slip Lennon would have finished the match in anonymity. However, against Millwall he was targeted as a weak link and he struggled. Hopefully Ilunga’s jaw will heal quickly enough to ensure the current state of affairs will be only temporary.
Assuming that there are no further ins and outs, and depending on how Collison is feeling, I’d probably expect us to remain unchanged from the side that started against Spurs. As for a prediction, well as long as the defence can cope with the aerial onslaught and the rest of the team can keep their composure should the home side continue with the tactic of “knocking them about” I can see us getting a win out of this so I’ll opt for a 2-1 victory to make Mr Allardyce look miserable. Just for a change.
Enjoy the game!
Last season: 1-1 Boa-Morte’s marginal offside in the build-up was missed as Mark Noble’s superb finish gave us the lead only for Andrews to level in the second half.
Danger man: Christopher Samba they send him forward at every set piece and his somewhat dubious style causes havoc in the box. The battle with Carlton Cole will be fun to watch. Also El HajDiouf – bring a brolly if you’re within spitting distance.
Referee: Phil Dowd his last match for us saw him fall for an Everton dive and send Tomkins off.
Look out for: A home pass played along the ground. Statistics prove that they do it all the time. Apparently.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
by French rover (BRFC)
12:48PM 27th Aug 2009
''What a lot of words (some quite amusing I must admit) to write, only to get the 'punchline' wrong! Yes it could be 2-1 on saturday - but only to the Rovers - never in a million years will it be 2-1 to West Ham!
I am glad that you dropped the 'happy' from everything to do with WHU now. Got really fed-up of hearing about "Appy Hammers and 'Appy Harry - you couldnt even spell the word right!
For the other one - not Cashley - make the most of Carlton as if he continues to play well he will be away for sure in January. It's a bugger when you can't keep your best players - we know all about that at Blackburn. We even lost one good one to you - LuCASH Neill....but heard that he now wants away from you lot also. Bleeding mercenaries all of them...
Have a good journey, enjoy the pies and dont regret it all too much when you are on the way back down the M6 and M1 after being stuffed 3-0 minimum. (not 2-1)....''
by bob easey
10:26AM 27th Aug 2009
''First review I've read from you lot... did make I laugh, keep up the good work.''
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