Club Focus – Blackburn Rovers – Rovers bounce back with convincing win over Wolves

Blackburn Rovers climbed into the top half of the Premier League table after a convincing 3-0 win over Mick McCarthy’s struggling Wolves side. Following last weekend’s thrashing at the hands of Manchester United, Allardyce’s men could not have responded in a better way in front of the home crowd.

Rovers began the game on the back foot and looked vulnerable in defence for the first few minutes, as Wolves tested Paul Robinson early on and then struck the woodwork twice. However, Blackburn slowly got back into the game and began to create chances of their own. It took just under half an hour for Allardyce’s side to break the deadlock, when influential midfielder David Dunn’s header crept over the line.

Brett Emerton doubled Rovers’ advantage as he rifled in a shot just before half time, after a neat flick from striker Jason Roberts. Wolves then failed to deal with Morten Gamst Pedersen’s free-kick, from which defender Ryan Nelsen tapped home a third. By that point, the hosts had more or less secured all three points, but Wolves did create some glorious opportunities which were not converted thanks to some splendid goalkeeping from Robinson, who made a few outstanding saves to ensure Rovers ended the game with a clean sheet.

Both the result and performance will have delighted Allardyce, who was looking for a response from his side after the disappointing display at Old Trafford last time out. Credit must be given to the Rovers boss who has seen his side pick up 21 points so far this season, just two less than Bolton. Owen Coyle’s side have been praised for their achievements so far this campaign and rightfully so, but for a team like Blackburn to be in the top half of the league having spent no money in the summer is also a brilliant accomplishment at this stage of the season.

Another impressive factor in Big Sam’s management of this team is the way in which he has blended experience with youth in order to craft an effective yet balanced side. The likes of former Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado, ex England stopper Paul Robinson, the well-travelled El Hadji Diouf and many others ensure that the Blues remain a competent and solid outfit on the field, with the right strength and determination to encourage the other, younger players in the side. The emergence of Phil Jones, Junior Hoilett and recently Josh Morris not only show that Allardyce is prepared to give youth a chance, but also ensures that the team, who have not been blessed with a bottomless pit of money in recent times, remain self-sufficient on the field.

Big Sam came under a lot of criticism after his team’s performance against Manchester United last week, but this result against Wolves shows that he is capable of getting the best out of his side and that in terms of managers working on a shoestring budget or indeed no budget at all, he is one of the best in the business. Next up for Rovers – a local derby against Owen Coyle’s Bolton Wanderers.

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