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[Archived] Blackburn Rovers 3 West Ham 2

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13th August 2005

Well this Saturday sees us entertain West Ham at Ewood park. After two seasons out of the premiership, our last meeting came on the opening game of this premiership season, resulting in a 3-1 defeat.

I distinctly remember that prior to the match, all pre-match interviews and statements were emphasizing how motivated the players were for the game and how much they wanted to get the season off to a good start. This was not the case.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in London, Rovers started the better team, carving out numerous chances and scoring once, but failing to capitalize on a long stretch of possession.

In the second half the players showed a distinct lack of spirit and motivation and the Hammers wanted it more. They over ran us in midfield, with Benayoun taking us to pieces. Coupled with numerous defensive mistakes we conceeded three times and lost the game. It would appear that we still suffer from the same problems 15 games on.

I posed a number of questions to a Hammers friend and these were his thoughts on the match...

What are your memories of the opening game of the season and the last time our clubs met?

Mostly I remember how worried I was after you scored so early. I genuinely thought we were going to get a hiding, a tough welcoming back to the Premiership. Thankfully a bit of luck and some shoddy defending on your part handed us that game, but I didn’t think that kind of fortune would keep up in our games after. It has.

The one memory from that game that will remain with me forever? The joy when I saw Paul Konchesky, on his debut, shove Savage through the advertising hoardings. After what Savage did to us when he was at Birmingham the season we got relegated (last game of the season, Rufus Brevett for us scores an own goal and Savage mocked him right in his face), it was the least of what we owe him.

Looking ahead to Saturday

At Everton we failed to convert long stints of possession into goals and at Charlton in the cup we made several defensive errors. While we manged to score three times in the same match and turn it around, we were reliant on Chalrton mistakes and a wonder strike from Thompson to seal the victory.

However, with little firepower to call upon, I believe that we should play Kuqi alongside Bellamy as his physical presence caused Charlton a lot of problems. I also think that we will need the pace of Zura to deal with Harewood and his reliability in a game that is fast becoming a must win.

I think Savage's role in the match will be vital as he will have to perfrom two duties; protecting the back four and allowing Tugay to control ther midfield, while also preventing Benayoun from stealing the show.

This is the side I believe that we should play on Saturday:


Neill / Zura / Nelsen / Gray

Thompson / Savage / Tugay / Pedersen

Bellamy / Kuqi

I predict a 1-1 draw with Bellamy scoring for us and Sherringham for them.

My friend commented further on this weeks match:

From the Rovers side, who do you think will be the biggest threat or cause you the most problems?

We’ve got a quick defense so I don’t see Bellamy causing too many problems, Dickov can have a nasty knack of being quiet then turning up in the right place at the right time though. But we’ll have Reo-Coker out and in his place is a nice little star for the future in Mark Noble – unfortunately though it’s left us a bit weak physically in midfield, so I think Savage and Tugay overrunning our boys in the middle of the park will be your biggest threat.

Conversely, from the Hammers side, who do you think will be the biggest threat or cause us the most problems?

Well Harewood has all the physical qualities to cause you guys some real trouble – pace, power, stamina – just a shame he can’t kick a football really. And Sheringham has the game sorted in his head, just a shame he runs in slow motion. I think our biggest threat will come via Benayoun or Noble, both very good passers with good vision. Etherington might cause some problems though if he can be bothered, which is unlikely.

What score and result do you predict for Saturday and whom do you think will score?

We’ve been pretty dire away from Upton Park this season, so I reckon you should get a point at least. But I think it’ll finish 1-1, Noble to get his first goal for us and maybe Pedersen to score for you.


Current Form:

Rovers: LWDLWL

Hammers: WLLWDL

Past Meetings:

Opta Stats:


Games 14

Goals 15 10

Shots 133 8

Conversion % 11% 13

Passes 4800 9

Pass % 75% 9

Crosses 320 10

Cross % 21% 18

Tackles 433 7

Tackle % 75% 2

Fouls 245 2

Yellow Cards 28 1

Red Cards 2 3

Shooting Player Shots Shot %

1 Shefki Kuqi 22 23%

2 Craig Bellamy 18 56%

3 Morten Gamst Pedersen 16 44%

4 Steven Reid 12 17%

5 Paul Dickov 11 55%

Passing Player Passes Pass %

1 Kerimoglou Tugay 514 76%

2 Lucas Neill 472 74%

3 Robbie Savage 414 74%

4 Steven Reid 411 78%

5 Ryan Nelsen 386 76%

Crossing Player Crosses Cross %

1 Morten Gamst Pedersen 104 30%

2 Brett Emerton 39 24%

3 Robbie Savage 38 23%

4 David Bentley 23 19%

5 Craig Bellamy 21 26%

Tackling Player Tackles Tackle %

1 Robbie Savage 64 69%

2 Morten Gamst Pedersen 49 73%

3 Lucas Neill 48 69%

4 Ryan Nelsen 38 64%

5 Steven Reid 31 73%

Dribbling Player Dribbles Dribble %

1 Morten Gamst Pedersen 57 53%

2 Brett Emerton 53 54%

3 Lucas Neill 36 54%

4 Steven Reid 34 75%

5 Craig Bellamy 29 59%

Team WEST HAM UNITED League Rank

Games 13

Goals 17 5

Shots 119 14

Conversion % 13% 6

Passes 4639 12

Pass % 74% 13

Crosses 279 16

Cross % 20% 19

Tackles 419 12

Tackle % 70% 15

Fouls 183 18

Yellow Cards 16 19

Red Cards 0 11

Shooting Player Shots Shot %

1 Marlon Harewood 32 34%

2 Yossi Benayoun 24 46%

3 Teddy Sheringham 18 39%

4 Nigel Reo-Coker 8 12%

5 Bobby Zamora 8 38%

Passing Player Passes Pass %

1 Paul Konchesky 587 76%

2 Hayden Mullins 582 74%

3 Daniel Gabbidon 464 74%

4 Tomas Repka 399 78%

5 Matthew Etherington 376 76%

Crossing Player Crosses Cross %

1 Matthew Etherington 94 30%

2 Paul Konchesky 51 24%

3 Tomas Repka 33 23%

4 Yossi Benayoun 32 19%

5 Marlon Harewood 15 26%

Tackling Player Tackles Tackle %

1 Hayden Mullins 64 69%

2 Daniel Gabbidon 55 73%

3 Nigel Reo-Coker 53 69%

4 Yossi Benayoun 50 64%

5 Tomas Repka 44 73%

Dribbling Player Dribbles Dribble %

1 Matthew Etherington 92 53%

2 Yossi Benayoun 83 54%

3 Nigel Reo-Coker 70 54%

4 Marlon Harewood 58 75%

5 Paul Konchesky 39 59%

General Overview

This has been somewhat of a inconsistent season so far for Rovers. A bit of bad luck, a general lack of quality in the final third and some defensive errors have resulted in us being far further down the table than perhaps we deserve. I think that Hughes is getting the most out of the players and, in midfield in particular, we are looking a very good outfit. I think that our "bully boy" label is laughable when watching our current standard of football and I think we

Briefly, how would you summarize West Ham’s season to date?

A bit of luck and a lot of team spirit and ‘character’ has carried us where our actual ability shouldn’t be at. We’re doing better than most people expected and we’ve already got some good results on the board and shown we can score – I think how it continues will depend on what happens with us and the clubs around us in the transfer window though.

Rovers have for a long time now been considered somewhat of a physical, or even dirty team. Rovers fans believe this to be unjust. What are your feelings on Rovers style of play?

It can’t be denied you have a lot of reputedly ‘physical’ players in your team – Savage, Todd, Neill etc – I don’t think that’s done you any favours in being seen as a ‘dirty’ team. I think it’s alright to exploit the physical side of the English game a bit in order to get results, you do have your little ‘moments’ though.

I consider Mark Hughes to be one of the premierships top managers, who has masterminded a complete turn around at the club. What are your thoughts on Hughes?

I thought he really would turn you boys around when he first came for Souness, he really seemed to pick you up that season. I’m not so sure now though – I think he’s a good manager, but you haven’t quite had the revolution in form I thought you might, and his choice of players is questionable. I’m sure he probably knows them well from the Welsh team, but one of the only people I dislike as much as Savage and Bellamy is Hughes himself.

Where in the premiership do you think West Ham will finish?

I’d be happy with anything above 17th really, but given our start, I think about 12th/13th ?

Conversely, where do you believe Rovers will finish this season?

Around the same as us.

A bit of fun

A West Ham fan came onto our board and asked us what players we would enter into a 5-a-side team. What would your selection be?

Of your players I guess? Friedel, Nelson, Emerton, Pedersen, Bellamy maybe?

Yourselves and Rovers have both made bids for F.C Porto striker Benni McCarthy. We believe he would a huge signing and a massive boost to the club. What are your thoughts on the McCarthy situation? Who else would you like to sign in January?

Well he came here and agreed terms, only for Porto to pull out at 11pm on the deadline day. For me, that was a massive disappointment – we really need a striker as Sheringham can’t last much longer and outside of him we have no natural goalscorer. As for particular players to sign in January, I’m not sure, we’re linked to all and sundry right now. Perhaps a genuine right mid and maybe a right back for when Repka leaves, other than that I’d be happy with just a decent striker.

- An anagram of West Ham United is WEED HUT MINTS...

- Rovers recorded our highest ever premiership victory over West Ham, winning 7-1 on Sunday, 14 October, 2001.

Edited by tcj_jones
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Great preview tcj. One error- we pasted Nottingham Forest 7-0 to record our biggest win in the Prem. Totally agree with your selection.

Who knows which Rovers side turns up this Saturday- the lucky one or the unlucky one (alternatively the one which can convert easy chances or the other one).

What is highly likely is that it will be an entertaining game, particularly if both Tugay and Benayoun get playing.

After Saturday, this is in the must win category if a top half placing by Christmas is to be achieved. I think the score draw is the most realistic forecast though: 2-2.

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We really should win this one. West Ham should come and look to play football (which has been much to their credit this season) but we can outplay them at home. Tugay a must for me, bring back Dickov in place of Bentley (bringing Kuqi on as a supersub means giving him a bit more time than last Saturday), Zurab for Todd (presuming he is suspended already or is that starting next week?) and Savage in for Reid. I'd actually be interested to see how a Mokoena-Tugay midfield pairing worked.

All in all should be a enjoyable game with lots of passing, skill, goals and entertainment...

...so a 0-0 bore draw it is tongue.gif .

Nah, I'll be positive it's coming up to Christmas...3-1 t'Rovers. tinykit.gif

PS - Good preview tcj, although I am interested in how many previews will begin with the word 'Well...'. That's two in a row now after 1864's Everton preview. wink.gif

Edited by FourLaneBlue
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Having been alomost spot on with my latest predictions, here is your chance at making some quids.

Rovers 5

West Ham 2

Att: 17 452

Get down to Ewood people, this is going to be a cracker of a match, end-to-end stuff. Hughes will bring Savage, Emerton and Kuqi back in the starting XI.

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Hughes will bring Savage, Emerton and Kuqi back in the starting XI.


Savage should stay out of the XI, he's not good enough compared to Reidy at the moment! Reid has impressed me lately in the centre of midfield with good games.

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Sorry guys, cannot believe the 7-0 at Forest slipped my mind!

I agree that Reid has played very well recently, but defensivly he is lightweight to say the least and I think Savage will be key to compete against the likes of Noble, Etherington and Benayoun in midfield.

Unless we play 4-5-1 I think we should stick with Savage.

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I am ususally one of the more positive posters on here but I am feeling nervous about this.

The loss against Everton will of sapped some of the confidence of the side and also we now look more than a little unsure about our best line up. After the recent spate of goals against I think Hughes may cosolidate the side a little.

If we lose this suddenly our run against the weaker teams looks like it could be wasted.

My prediction of who Sparky will go for:

                  Kuqi      Bellamy

Pedersen    Tugay    Savage      Thompson

  Matteo      Nelsen    Kishi      Niell


After three below average performances and with Matteo coming back I think Gray will, unfortunately, lose his place. This will affect our attacking play somewhat but many of the goals against have come from the left. We need a stiker and another midfielder but it would be such a advantage to have a left back who can get forward while also providing bite and strength in defense. A neill for the left hand side if you like.

Sparky seems reticent about starting Kuqi but I think it needs to be done. As Rover6 said we need that long ball get out option and he stirs things up in a way that bentley cannot. I did not see the game on Sat where Thommo was supposed to be atrocious but still I would be suprised if he still does not start ahead of Emerton.

After one lacklustre performance sans lily I think Savage will return. With Reid and Bentley likely to be on the bench it could be a possibility that Emo does not even make the sixteen.

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"Rovers have decided not to appeal against the red card given to Andy Todd during Saturday's match against Everton. He'll serve a 1 match ban vs. West Ham on Saturday."


Shocked about this. Hughes seemed so adament against it as well!

Maybe just a diplomatic way of dropping Todd?

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For the handball? wink.gif  Hmm, must be, because he could have dropped Todd for the Everton game but didn't. It has to be because Todd handled the ball.


Well it does sound a little stupid but with amount of neutral support for todd's case (pundits and even some of the opposition fans thought it certainly wasn't a sending off) it seems bizarre we are not appealing it.

The only reason I can think of is that Hughes is not that worried about it, and when you drop your captain it can be useful to do it indirectly as it would otherwise seem like an undermining of authority.

Just a suggestion.

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wham are currently winning at big city fc 2-1, not much between the teams although wham appear to be a little bit better organised.

big city club hit with 2 hamstring injuries before half time tongue.gif

dunn just looks like he wants to come home ohmy.gif

stop press

another brum injury, all subs used tiny taylor injured !

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