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Goal Shy Rovers


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Rovers 0 Arsenal 1.

Post Match Editorial.

In his post match interview Mark Hughes stated.

"We did okay in the first half, but conceding the goal when we did, deflated us a bit and we struggled in the second half.

"We found it really difficult to get any sustained momentum and we lacked a bit of energy.

We huffed and puffed, but the longer the game went on, the less likely it looked that we would get a goal."

The last comment being the most telling and worrying comment, bearing in mind Rovers are joint lowest scorers in the Premiership.

Saturday's game was a dress rehearsal for the FA Cup semi final, and if Rovers don't resolve their forward line options I dread to consider the outcome when Arsenal are at full strength.


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From the fans point of view, the worrying factor all season has been, “Where are the goals going to come from.”

Once again, with a 4-5-1 formation, Rovers showed their weakness in front of goal. Now I'm not knocking the formation of only playing one striker up front, but it has to be the right personnel who can hold the ball up and bring the midfielders into play. For all his industrious energy, an injury carrying Paul Dickov is not the answer. I would go far as saying that due to his manner of play, with his continuous moaning to referees, claiming for a foul every time that he backs into a defender, Dickov is more of a liability that benefit, and I wonder if when a genuine claim is made, the ref brushes it aside like the kid who cried wolf to many times. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if Graham Poll hadn’t sent Dickov off on Saturday for his continuous moaning throughout the latter stages of the game.

Mark Hughes has done wonders in gelling the Rovers defence, his next objective is to rejuvenate the forward line, persisting with Dickov as a solitary striker is in my opinion a receipt for disaster. Without stating the obvious, if you don't score you don't win. Whilst the glory of the FA Cup, will bring back some of the supporters, however the current negative attitude is killing the entertainment factor. Failure to provide entertainment will result in lower attendances, when the team needs all the support it can get, now that the gap at the bottom has closed to just 6 points. The majority of supporters attend games not to admire technical merit but to see a winning side and the ball hitting the back of the net.

If Hughes wants to play with one striker up front, then maybe it's time for a rethink and bring in Jon Stead, who doesn’t carry the same moaning reputation as Dickov, and also has more pace. The end of his season long goal famine at Goodison must have lifted his confidence, followed in my opinion by a good display at Anfield midweek.

For the next few weeks Rovers have to forget the Cup and concentrate on Premiership survival. The gap at the bottom has closed to 6 points and if Rovers don't resolve their goals for ratio the relegation dog fight will go right to the last game of the season.

Click here for fans views on the game

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