Stuart Posted February 27, 2011 Share Posted February 27, 2011 Match Context As I write this, Rovers have just lost, no, been humbled, again, by Aston Villa. EDIT: actually, as I edit this, Arsenal have just lost another chance at silverware, thanks to a footballing moment to make Sunday League players at Pleasy get the p*ss ripped out of them for a fortnight. And left Whinger, curled up and crying inside the modified sleeping bag that he wears as a coat. Meanwhile, back at Villa Park: We played badly, conceded a penalty which “killed us”; suffered an own goal; one of the leaders on the pitch, Ryan Nelsen, following possibly the worst week of his life, saw red and will miss the Fulham game; and Karl Pilkingt..., sorry, Steve Kean is looking as out of his depth and as promoted above his station as Keith Andrews. Let’s not mince words here though: we are facing a relegation battle. We do, however, have a chance and it’s a chance that we have to take. I don’t think it’ll be easy by any stretch and it could be we are now hoping for 17th place but the chance, as I see it, albeit fairly pessimistic, is this: Fulham Away = 1 pt Blackpool Home = 3 pts Birmingham Home = 1 pt Bolton Home = 1 pt West Ham Away = 1 pt Wolves Away = 1 pt This may well be pinned up in the office Steve Kean’s broom cupboard – and would probably have been pinned up in Jerome Anderson’s office (allegedly) when Allardyce used to work there (except it would probably have had 3 points each for Birmingham and Bolton). Sam may well have taken us to upwards of 44 points, possibly already. As it is Kean will be hoping for a minimum of 40. Rovers / Steve Kean Starting with that point at Fulham – if Kean is to get it, he might want to do a few things: 1. Although a point will be enough, don’t start the game aiming for a 0-0. Kean is not Allardyce, he can’t do it. And I don’t want the team killed again. 2. Get Gael Givet fit – pronto – and back in to that left back slot enabling him to… 3. Stick Olsson back on the left wing where he can do some damage which will allow him to… 4. …improve our presence (surely) and quality (not difficult) in midfield whilst at the same time… 5. …replace Keith Andrews with one of the new South American lads – or the tea lady. (Ok, the last one was a dig but I don’t care!) Assuming the new lads still aren’t ready, and Junior and Santa Cruz are fit, my formation for this game would be: Fulham / Mark Hughes As things stand, we are facing a Fulham side who are 13th in the league, one place above Rovers, and level on points following their creditable draw with Man City. (The Hughes’ Curse? – see below) Oh, and it’s a relative grudge match because of a certain man who would have loved, nay, would probably still be here if he’d been given a further £5 million to spend, an amount which subsequently had to be made available for Allardyce (yes, he did get some cash) and then Kean (albeit not from the same source – at least as far as we know). But I digress. Mark Hughes has faced Blackburn 5 times since leaving Rovers and oddly enough is unbeaten against us; although I vividly recall the fate-tempting refrains of "You're Getting Sacked In The Morning", in his first return to Ewood Park – only minutes before Robinho's 94th minute heartbreaking equaliser at Ewood. The record books show this much: Hughes has sent out five sides against Rovers since leaving for Man City in June 2008. The first four being City: - 28 Dec 2008 H (2-2) – Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts scoring Rovers goals before Matt Derbyshire inexplic… well it’s all water under the bridge now - 2 May 2009 A (1-3) – A rare Andrews goal as Rovers’ consolation - 15 Aug 2009 H (0-2) – Adebayor, with Rovers fans still finding their seats, and Stephen Ireland, with Rovers fans still leaving the ground, in injury-time flattering Hughes men - 11 Jan 2010 A (1-4) – Pedersen scoring in a match that was to prove a turning point for Rovers and Big Sam. Over the same period that we have been struggling against Sparky, we have actually had some success against Fulham, winning 3 out of 4 games – although our most recent trip to Craven Cottage did end in a 3-0 defeat. - 20 Sep 2008 H (1-0) – Matt Derbyshire doing the business with a certain Clint Dempsey an unused sub - 11 Mar 2009 A (2-1) – Diouf and Roberts for Rovers, Dempsey for Fulham - 25 Nov 2009 A (0-3) – Dempsey scoring a brace with Rovers unable to find the net - 17 Jan 2010 H (2-0) – Samba and Nelsen not only scored but also kept Dempsey quiet and he was subbed after an hour (not before he hit the bar with an overhead kick). In July 2010 Hughes joined Fulham, and Hughes promptly got a draw in his first game at what used to be known as “Fortress Ewood”. No chanting for his head this time, and ironically no counting of chickens either from the Rovers fans. - 18 Sep 2010 H (1-1) – Samba for Rovers with Clint Dempsey striking again, making it 4 goals in his last 4 games against us Perhaps there is a Hughes’ Curse after all? Current League Form Rovers last 6: LWLLDL (scored 6, conceded 14 – 4 in two separate games, 2 clean sheets) Fulham last 6: WLWDDD (scored 6, conceded 4 with 3 clean sheets) Hughes has brought into Fulham what he brought into Ewood Park, building from the back, defending from the front, etc, sickening when you think about it (or research it for a preview) – although Fortress doesn’t really sound right. Castle Craven? Castle Cottage? Cottaging Cavern…? Anyway, Rovers go into this game having won only once in the last 6 (against West Brom – the Liverpool game now seems an awfully long time ago). We also managed a draw at home to a poor Newcastle, unable to find the net. Only away win under Kean was West Brom and that was six games ago. We’ve since followed that with 4 consecutive away defeats. Sam’s away record wasn’t that great, in fairness, but Kean has it all to do to motivate us against Fulham next Saturday. Fulham Home – DLWWWD (scored 7, conceded 3 – 5 clean sheets!) Rovers Away – LWLLLL (scored 8, conceded 16 – no clean sheets!) If there’s one silver lining, it’s that Rovers haven’t kept a clean sheet in our last 6 away games, conceding 16 goals; whilst Fulham have 5 cleans sheets in their last 6 home fixtures, scoring 7 times. You just know what’s going to happen, don’t you? Yep, Fulham 2 – Rovers 0. Er, I mean, Fulham 1 – Rovers 2. Come on you Blues! Finally, if there’s any possible chance that Mark Hughes would return to Rovers then the Venky’s should be climbing over each other for the big cheque book to throw at him. In fact, make it one of those lottery winner style cheques and get yourselves in the photo! And give him the Ronaldinho budget – it’ll last him about 5 years! Quiz Finally, finally, in a bid to provide a distraction from my current mood and everyone else’s, I’ve compiled a short quiz for our bemusement. 1) Former Rovers manager Mark Hughes went on to manage Man City and Fulham but Which former Rovers player also played for Manchester City and Fulham? 2) In the 2000/2001 Division 1 Season, Fulham did the double over Rovers winning both matches 2-1. Which two players scored in both fixtures. 3) What was significant about the 2001/2002 season for Craven Cottage? 4) Fulham and Rovers were both automatically promoted back to the PL in 2001. Fulham finished as champions but how many points did Rovers finish behind them? 5) Fulham (2009) and Rovers (2007) both played and won in Europe against which Lithuanian side? Tie-breaker: Caption this (without mentioning the phrase “Big Issue”) Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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