It is not often that Blackburn Rovers are on the receiving end of a heavy defeat in the Premier League; however Sam Allardyce’s men were outperformed and outclassed as they were beaten 7-1 by a rampant Manchester United side on Saturday.
Dimitar Berbatov was the star of the show at Old Trafford, as the Bulgarian striker became only the fourth man in Premier League history to put five goals past an opponent. Midfielders Park Ji-Sung and Nani also managed to breach the visitors’ defence, as the Red Devils climbed to the top of the table.
At his pre-match press conference, Allardyce pointed out that Manchester United were unbeaten in the league so far, therefore his side would have to be at their best in order to get a result. At their best they were certainly not, as Rovers looked suspect at the back, with full-back Pascal Chimbonda performing particularly badly.
However, the Lancashire outfit were without a number of key players for the game. Grella, Nzonzi, Olsson, Andrews, Kalinic and Pedersen were all unavailable, while Gael Givet was named as a substitute despite being ill. Norwegian midfielder Pedersen’s absence was a big blow for Rovers, seeing as he had been in excellent goalscoring form over the last month. Although these injuries cannot be used as the main excuse for such an abject performance, the story may have been different if Allardyce had more first-team players at his disposal.
However, Blackburn have conceded 11 goals in their last two away games and that will come as a surprise to Big Sam, as his side are usually reliable at the back. The manager will undoubtedly pay extra attention to this aspect of their game in training, nevertheless Saturday’s performance should be treated as a blip and the Blues will have to forget about it quickly in order to move on.
A busy December will see Allardyce’s side come up against Wolves at Ewood Park next week, before facing Bolton, West Ham, Stoke and West Brom. The home game against Wolves will give the team a good opportunity to react to the last defeat and encouragingly, Rovers should also be looking to give the rest of December’s opponents a good run for their money.
Meanwhile, with the January transfer window fast approaching, Allardyce is looking to add an ‘impact’ player to his squad. When asked at a press conference whether former Rovers star Roque Santa Cruz came within that category, Allardyce responded positively, saying: “He
Santa Cruz’s wages could prove a stumbling block, but with Rovers under new ownership a deal is looking more likely. Nevertheless, Allardyce will have to work with what he has at the moment ahead of a busy December for the Blues.