Tactic Talk – Blackburn find a hero in Yakubu

Blackburn Rovers claimed only their second victory of the season with a 4-2 victory over Swansea City at Ewood Park. In a result expected to secure the short-term future of Rovers manager Steve Kean, one key performance in particular sealed the win for Rovers, a four-goal display from Yakubu sealing a priceless three points for the hosts.

The Nigeria striker gave his side the lead on 20 minutes, arriving onto a loose ball to lash home, past Michel Vorm in the Swansea goal. This advantage would be cancelled out just 15 minutes later, with Leroy Lita’s free header at the far post putting the visitors on level terms. However, it would be the head of Blackburn’s star man that would put the result beyond doubt, sealing his hat-trick with two headed goals either side of the interval.

Yakubu would restore the hosts’ advantage on the stroke of half-time, meeting a skewed strike from Simon Vukcevic was nodded in to give Rovers the lead at the break. Into the second half, Yakubu would secure the match ball, reacting first to Christopher Samba’s header across goal, to again nod home from close range.

Rovers were then forced to survive another scare, as Luke Moore rifled home to reduce the visitors’ deficit with 25 minutes remaining. However, Yakubu would add a fourth from the penalty spot to seal three vital points for the hosts. Despite a rare win to lift spirits at Ewood Park, aside from the standout performance of the Blackburn goalscorer, defensive flaws are still prominent in a Rovers defence which conceded their 31st and 32nd goals of the season in only their 14th league match. In attack, a four-goal performance would depict an onslaught of attacking dominance, however, the hosts created just a single shot on target outside of their goals scored, with four created by the visitors. While it is clear that the difference was the clinical finishing when opportunities were created, the dominating performance of Yakubu effectively secured the points single-handedly.

While four goals and three points in front of a home crowd will be a major boost for Blackburn’s hopes of pulling away from the relegation dogfight, against a tenacious Swansea side, Kean’s men would continue to leak goals. Although the success of the Rovers attack, spearheaded by Yakubu, would outscore the opposition, in the long-term, as has already been shown, this approach will lead to further heavy conceding of goals, which Rovers will be desperate to avoid as they look to build on this recent success in a bid to climb up the Premier League table. Although the victory over Swansea may only form the early stages of a revival, this win and the form of their lead striker could well set Rovers on their way.

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