Morten Gamst Pedersen is in a rich vein of form for Rovers and it was the Norwegian midfielder who opened the scoring for the home side on the stroke of half time. The Blues won a free-kick from a tight angle on the right hand side of the field, in a similar position to where Pedersen scored from in the previous home game against Wigan. And he did not disappoint, lashing the ball into the top corner, much to the delight of the home fans. Pedersen was reportedly being tracked by Manchester United a few years ago thanks to some brilliant performances back then – and some believe that his early season form shows that he is getting back to his best at Ewood.
The Norwegian international wrapped up the game in the second half with another goal. This effort may have been less stylish, but it was just as effective and ended any hopes of a Villa comeback. Pedersen was duly awarded the man-of-the-match award and Sam Allardyce will be hoping the midfielder can keep up his good form over the coming weeks.
Rovers were well worth their win and Villa struggled with the hosts’ set pieces. Houllier started with a youthful side and this was evident throughout. Indeed, the likes of Bannan and Clark are bright prospects for the future, but they were never going to get an easy ride at Ewood Park. Next week, Allardyce’s side will travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in a game that could go either way. Rovers are a tough match for anyone on their day and whilst United are unbeaten, they have hardly been impressive themselves this season.
But the big story of this week for Rovers was definitely the takeover, which was completed three years after the club was put on sale. Eventually, Venky’s managed to seal the deal at a price of £43m and fans will now be waiting to see whether the new owners invest heavily in the playing staff come the January transfer window. It is thought that Big Sam will be given a transfer kitty of £5m, which is more than he had in the summer, but if the comments of the new owners are anything to go by, the club will be relying more on loan players when the new year finally arrives.
A big talking point surrounding the takeover is whether the owners decide to change the name of the stadium. The Rao family are toying with the idea of renaming Ewood Park to the Venky’s Stadium or something similar. How well this will go down with the home faithful is yet to be seen, but such an issue is indicative of the challenging decisions the new owners will have to make in the future. Nevertheless, things are certainly looking up for Blackburn Rovers.