|Swansea City||(2) 3 – 0 (0)||Blackburn Rovers|
|Sigurdsson 37, Dyer 43, Dann (og) 63|
|Referee: M. Clattenburg||Attendance: 18,985|
Since our back-to-back victories over Wolves and Sunderland and the launch of the “Early Bird” scheme to entice fans to renew their season tickets before the end of the season, we have played five and lost five. In those five games we have scored three goals and conceded thirteen. If Paul Hunt can put a positive spin on that to shift season tickets, he’s a better man than I. Quite simply, under the inept ownership of Venky’s a once proud club has become a national laughing stock and at Swansea even the travelling fans finally got the joke and joined in the mockery of a second-rate manager and third-rate players.
Once again Gael Givet was not in the squad, although he did get on the pitch during the half-time interval to share a laugh and a joke with the substitutes as they partook in “a half-hearted kick-about” masquerading as a “thoroughly professional warming-up session”. One assumes that sending Givet out to warm up, despite not being named on the bench, was Kean’s attempt to have his own little joke at the expense of those who had travelled down from Lancashire to witness this latest debacle.
Swansea opened the scoring after 37 minutes and it’s something of a mystery why they took so long to make the breakthrough. After the opening couple of minutes, when the Rovers actually suggested they might make a game of it, the home side took control and completely dominated the rest of the match.
The opening goal came about when the Rovers again failed to clear their lines and Gylfi Sigurdsson found himself with time and space on the edge of the area to clip a pin-point effort over the head of Robinson and into the back of the net. The Rovers ‘keeper had wandered no more than a yard or so off his line, but it was sufficient for him to be unable to get back and attempt any sort of save. Sigurdsson had looked a threat from the start, but, of course, the Rovers opted against doing anything as mundane as actually marking him.
The second goal, on 43 minutes, was another personal nightmare for Scott Dann, who has endured a torrid time during his first season with the club. His attempts to clear a dangerous situation ended with him sending the ball straight to Scott Sinclair, who looked as if he might score himself before laying the ball off for Nathan Dyer to sweep the ball past Robinson from about eight yards.
The Rovers left the field at half-time to a chorus of boos from the travelling support, who then spent the rest of the match chanting “Steve Kean and Venky’s are taking us down”. It was, perhaps, the most succinct comment that anyone could make about the mess that the club now finds itself in.
Grant Hanley, who had been injured just on half-time, didn’t reappear for the second half as Kean was forced to rearrange his side with Jason Lowe, who had started at left-back, moving to the right, Orr dropping into the centre and Marcus Olsson filling in at left-back. Mauro Formica replaced Hanley to try to bolster a faltering midfield. Early in the second half, injuries led to the withdrawal of Junior Hoilett and Yakubu, but the introduction of Anthony Modeste and David Goodwillie did little to improve matters.
The game was done and dusted after 63 minutes when Sinclair waltzed around three defenders before giving Sigurdsson the opportunity to shoot for goal. His shot struck the post and then rebounded against the luckless Dann and into the net.
The Rovers huffed and puffed, but apart from a couple of efforts from David Dunn, one of which struck a post, they did little to suggest that they were up for the fight. The travelling support merely joined in with the home fans in pouring scorn on those wearing the yellow shirts. There is now a general acceptance that the Rovers are coming to the end of their period of rubbing shoulders with the elite of English football. The Championship and possibly worse beckons as Venky’s are proving that whatever Jack and the Trust had built over 20 years, they could destroy in less than 20 months.
While David Dunn may no longer be the quickest or fittest in the squad, he is one player who genuinely plays with pride and passion and the only one who left the Liberty Stadium with his head held high. Robinson made three or four decent saves but seemed badly positioned for the opening goal. However, like Dunn, there is a feeling that he cares and is clearly unhappy with the present plight of the club. Having said that, does anybody seriously believe that Robinson will hang around to sample Championship football?
As for the rest, what can one say? Reports suggest that Givet refused to play because his “head wasn’t right”. One might ask what was the reason for the rest, Dunny and Robbo apart, for not playing?
Defensively the Rovers were, yet again, shambolic. Bradley Orr and Jason Lowe were both turned inside out by Swansea’s wide men and quite why Lowe was playing at left-back is a complete and utter mystery. Grant Hanley, before he was injured, and Scott Dann again proved that they are not a Premier League centre-back pairing and Dann seems to go from bad to worse as he struggles to find any sort of form.
Apart from Dunny, the midfield was appalling. I have been a great admirer of Steven Nzonzi, but I have now come to the conclusion that he needs to be left out. Yesterday he looked totally disinterested from the start, while Marcus Olsson is clearly out of his depth and Morten Gamst Pedersen again failed to have any impact on the game.
Up front, Junior Hoilett was very subdued as was Yakubu and one suspects that both started the game without being fully fit.
As for the manager, there is nothing left to be said. Defensively he has failed to sort out the problems that have plagued us since he took over. Michel Salgado was a convenient scapegoat for many to blame for the inadequacies displayed when defending down the flanks, but the truth of the matter is that no matter who was playing at full-back, they would struggle with the way in which the Rovers defend. Wide players simply don’t track back and too many players aren’t prepared to do the donkey work in midfield. How we miss the likes of Robbie Savage, Jermaine Jones and, dare I say it, Aaron Mokoena. Our midfield is bereft of anyone who is prepared to tackle and attempt to win the ball and we don’t seem to have the energy levels to press the opposition.
With four games remaining, we are likely to need at least seven and possibly eight points to have any hope of survival. Having lost our previous five games, I suggest that not even the most optimistic of fans can believe that the club is destined for anywhere other than the Championship. Sadly, Blackburn Rovers has been destroyed by owners who are every bit as much out of their depth as the manager who they appointed and the players who they have bought.
Michel Vorm; Angel Rangel (Gary Monk 89), Ashley Williams, Steven Caulker, Neil Taylor; Leon Britton (Mark Gower 70), Joe Allen; Scott Sinclair, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Nathan Dyer; Danny Graham (Leroy Lita 85)
Subs not used: Gerhard Tremmel (gk), Josh McEachran, Wayne Routledge, Luke Moore
Manager: Brendan Rodgers
Paul Robinson; Bradley Orr, Scott Dann, Grant Hanley (Mauro Formica 46), Jason Lowe; Morten Gamst Pedersen, David Dunn, Steven Nzonzi, Marcus Olsson; David “Junior” Hoilett (Anthony Modeste 56); Yakubu (David Goodwillie 61)
Subs not used: Jake Kean (gk), Martin Olsson, Radosav Petrovic, Ruben Rochina
Manager: Steve Kean
Swansea City – None
Blackburn Rovers – Junior Hoilett, Mauro Formica
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