Much had been made about Rovers’ poor defending prior to this match, particularly following the 4-3 defeat against local rivals Wigan last time out, however the Blues were back to their defensive best as they kept Newcastle at bay during a relatively uninspiring 90 minutes.
The Magpies will claim they dominated the game and indeed the statistics show that the visitors had more of the ball and created many more chances than Rovers, though in the end they were slightly unfortunate not to score. Argentine defender Fabricio Coloccini came closest to breaking the deadlock with a powerful second-half drive which forced a splendid save from Paul Robinson, but Rovers could argue the three points could have been all theirs had Roque Santa Cruz sent his thumping header into the net instead of crashing against the post within the first ten minutes.
In the end, both sides had to settle for a point, and Rovers fans will be somewhat disappointed that their team did not manage to put in a solid enough display to pick up a win which would have seen them leapfrog their opponents and climb back into the top half of the table. In the previous home game against Tottenham, which the Blues lost, Rovers created some good opportunities and looked capable of scoring. However, Steve Kean’s side lacked that spark this time around and will have to improve in the middle of the park if they are to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle.
In his pre-match press conference, Kean admitted that the main priority for the Lancashire outfit was to secure the 40 points which would probably keep them safe and with Rovers just eight points away from that magic total with 11 games to go, it seems likely they will exceed that total. However, with tough away games against Aston Villa and Fulham next to come, before a home clash against local-rivals Blackpool, Rovers will have to improve quickly.
New signing Mauro Formica could be the one to inspire the side to a victory next time around. The Argentinean attacking-midfielder is currently still strengthening up before he makes his debut for the club, but when he does finally put on the Blue and White shirt, fans will be expecting him to lighten up the league. Formica may prove to be the driving force that the team is currently crying out for. The Blues are terrific at terrorising opponents down the wings, with Junior Hoilett and Martin Olsson the main culprits; however the team lack that same drive and determination through the middle. Formica could provide that with his creativity, which could help produce more chances and goals.
All in all, although Rovers failed to win yet again, Kean’s side managed to keep an important clean sheet which will give them confidence ahead of the tough games to come. And with the likes of Rochina and Formica still waiting in the wings to make their mark, there is still much to look forward to for Blackburn supporters.