Category Archives: Blackburn Rovers

EFL Championship Update: Top two both lose

Another round of Championships fixtures sees the top two lose, Derby drop to bottom and another five goal thriller for Watford. Blackburn, Forest and Rotherham all win at home, while Bournemouth pick up a good away win.

League Leaders Lose Again

Reading started brightly at the Madejski Andrew Yiadom cross from the right found Alfa Semedo, who headed straight at Angus Gunn in the stoke goal. Gunn was called into action again tipping another Semedo header over the bar.

It was Stoke who took the lead when Reading failed to clear and Tyrese Campbell slotted into the corner with a well taken shot. Stoke doubled their lead in the 35th minute. A poor ball from Reading keeper Rafael was headed back towards goal by Tom Smith, flicked on by Campbell into the box where Steven Fletcher tucked home. Fletcher beat The Royal’s offside trap for his fourth goal of the season.

Stoke almost had a third, Tyrese Campbell hitting the post with a curling right footed shot which had Rafael beaten. They did, however, get their third in added time. Lewis Gibson failed his attempted back pass, and left Jacob Brown with a one on one with the keeper. Brown rounded Rafael and put the ball into the empty net despite Gibson’s attempt to get back and clear.

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic said:

“This is a serious league in which mistakes – in both boxes – can kill you. There is a mix of immaturity in some moments and a mix of fatigue, accumulation of games and injuries that we are going through”.

Stoke manager Michael O’Neill told BBC Radio Stoke:

“We had to dig in at the start of the game but once we got ahead we looked capable of scoring again”.

Reading remain top despite three defeats in a row but their lead is down to one point. Stoke are now in eighth after three wins in five.

Swans Drop from Second

Swansea had the best chance of the first half at Carrow Road with Andre Ayew heading against the post from a Swansea corner. Jamal Lowe saw his shot pushed out for a corner from Tim Krul. Teems Pukki, meanwhile, found space in the visitors box but was tackled well by Conner Roberts before he could get a shot off.

Krul was once again in fine form again saving again from Lowe in the second half. Norwich then found the winning goal with six minutes to goal with Marco Stiepermann. Bali Mumba’s ball into the box was touched back to Stiepermann by Buendia for the German to fire home.

Another Five Goal Thriller

A second half thriller at Vicarage Road saw Watford beat Coventry 3-2.

The Hornets took the lead on 53 minutes, Andre Grey with the goal. A low ball across the City box ricocheted off a Coventry defender before hitting Grey to go in.

Coventry then scored two in two minutes to take the lead. The first from Gustavo Hamer, heading back towards goal after a Watford clearance, his head caught out Ben Foster going over the keeper to dip inside the crossbar. Just a minute later the Sky Blues lead Maxime Biamou heading a long ball onto Tyler Walker who stuck the ball first time low into the corner.

The lead, however, lasted just two minutes as William powered his header into the goal from James Garner’s corner.

Watford’s winner came in the 83rd minute, Ismaila Sarr scoring from the spot after Callum O’Hare handled in the box.

Rams Drop To Bottom

Derby are now bottom of the league after losing 2-0 by Barnsley at Pride Park. Derby had chances, Tom Lawrence forcing two saves from Jack Walton. It was disaster for Waltons opposite number as David Marshall’s loose pass went to Conor Chaplin who found the net.

Victor Adeboyejo confirmed the win for Barnsley with a well taken curling shot from outside the box. Barnsley’s victory ensured they bounced back from their defeat in Cardiff and make it three wins from four.

Derby first team coach Liam Rosenior said:

“This is a huge football club and we are not doing it justice. There’s no way the club should be in the position it’s in and I have to hold my hands up to that as well”.

Bristol Take Spoils From Severnside Derby

It was a smash and grab for Bristol City as they left Cardiff with three points in Friday’s Severnside derby.

Starting out quickly Bristol found themselves with an extra man on Cardiff’s left. Antoine Semenyo played a low ball into the Cardiff six yard box which was met by Chris Martin. Martin cut across Sean Morrison to tap home from close range.

With an early lead, Bristol were happy to let Cardiff control the game without ever really threatening Daniel Bentley’s goal. Back to back wins sees the Robins move into fifth place. Cardiff are 15th with just one win in five.

Bournemouth took a two nil first half lead at St Andrews with Arnaut Danjuma and David Brooks scoring. Brooks got his second five minutes after the break to make it three. Scott Hogan pulled a goal back for the Blues but they suffer a second straight home defeat. Bournemouth’s win now sees them fourth, just two points from leaders Reading.

Amazing Armstrong

After three without a win, Blackburn ended QPR’s winning run with a 3-1 win. Brereton scored on 50 minutes for Rovers before a penalty from Lyndon Dykes levelled the game.

Adam Armstrong put Rovers back into the lead on 73 minutes, before scoring his second in added time.

Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray praised Armstrong telling BBC Radio Lancashire:

“Adam has matured and his explosive pace allows you to play both ways and his dynamic movement has a devastating effect”.

Lyle Taylor’s brace helped Forest to a second straight home win as they beat Wycombe.

Taylor’s first came from a header at the far post from Cyrus Christie’s cross. Wycombe created some chances but were unable to really test the Forest keeper. A quick counter attack allowed Taylor to score his second and give Forest three points.

Elsewhere, Preston lost on the road for the first time this season. Rotherham lost their last two heading into this fixture but led after Richard Wood smashed home from close range. Ryan Ledson equalised for Preston after 80 minutes, his shot from the edge of the box flying through a crowd of players to nesle in the bottom corner. But it was Rotherham who took the points, Matt Crooks finishing after a good run from Matthew Olosunde.

Middlesbrough are proving hard to beat as they drew 0-0 at Brentford.

Neil Warnock’s side sit in seventh place after their sixth draw of the season.

Brentford had the lion’s share of possession but were unable to break Boro.

It was one way traffic at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday produced seven attempts on goal to Millwall’s none.

Millwall, however, will be the happier side leaving with a point. George Moncur put Luton ahead against Huddersfield after 21 minutes. After 60 minutes Carel Eiting levelled for Huddersfield with a towering header into the Luton top corner. The point sees Huddersfield up to 13th while Luton drop to 10th.

Reading still lead the league heading into the international break, but Watford are breathing down their necks now in second. Norwich, Bournemouth, Bristol City and Swansea make up the play-off places. With just six points from sixth to 18th, nothing can be taken for granted this season.

Blackburn Rovers v cardiff city: preview

Sixth placed Blackburn welcome Cardiff City to Ewood Park this Saturday in matchday four of the Championship. Rovers come into the game in good form following big wins over Wycombe and Derby (5v0 and 4v0). Cardiff lost for a second time this season last time out falling to Reading 2v1. Last season the sides drew 0-0 at Ewood Park while Blackburn won at Cardiff City Stadium 3-2. The Bluebirds are without a win in Blackburn since 2012 so will face a huge task to pick up the points.

Team News

Cardiff manager Neil Harris confirm that Lee Tomlin and Josh Murphy would be unlikely to play 90 minutes. The pair could make an appearance from the bench again as they did against Reading, Tomlin scoring for Cardiff. There could be returns for Joe Ralls and Joe Bennett, with harris saying:

“Both trained today (Thursday) which is really good news”. “Hopefully they train tomorrow and be ready for the weekend”.

As for Blackburn Corry Evans and Sam Gallagher have both trained this week with Rovers boss Tonybray saying:

“Corry Evans has come back training this morning (Thursday), Sam Gallagher has trained this week“.

He continued:

“Tyler Magloire is another two weeks and there are a couple of other younger players on the route back”.

Joe Rankin-Costello is ruled out with a slight hamstring strain.

Managers

Cardiff boss on Blackburns good start:

“Blackburn have been in good form the last couple of weeks, scored some good goals, every opportunity they’ve had has gone in”.

“They’ve got good players and attacking players, good continuity. They’ve added two or three. They are a dangerous side at the moment, Adam Armstrong a top striker at this level”.

When asked about a lack of creativity:

“I think that’s a fair assessment. When you play at home and its 0-0 and you haven’t started great you want the fans to get behind you”. “We have had moments but not sustained periods”.

“We had it at Nottingham Forest our best 45 minutes of the season. Against Reading we were the better team, dominated the stats, but didn’t win the game”.

Tony Mowbray focus on his players speaking about Sam Gallagher:

“As long as he comes through training today. He’s trained all week, he’s trained a little bit at the end of last week and if he gets through today he’ll be in some form of contention this weekend”.

Key Players

For Blackburn Adam Armstrong is in fine form scoring four in Blackburns last two wins, with a total of five for the season. With Gallagher doubtful they will be looking for Armstrong to lead the line.

Cardiff most likely without Tomlin from the start and possibly no Joe Ralls will have to find a solution to fill the gap in the number 10 role. With callum Paterson leaving this week to join Sheffield Wednesday, Leandro Bacuna will be the man tasked with sparking some creativity for the Bluebirds.

Prediction: Blackburn 2 v 0 Cardiff

Blackburn have been scoring for fun and Cardiff will do well to stop them. A lack of service for Kieffer Moore has seen the striker playing off scraps. History is also against Cardiff, this should be a comfortable win for Blackburn.

Analysis of the Championship Run-in

Championship fans up and down the country were today (June 8) given a huge boost of excitement with the EFL announcing the restart schedule released – along with confirmed TV selections.

The journey will continue for Sky Bet Championship clubs with the action kicking off again on Saturday 20 June. They couldn’t have gone for a juicier opening fixture with promotion contenders Fulham & Brentford clashing in front of the Sky cameras for a West London derby.

So with just nine games remaining, who is in the running for promotion and relegation? Let’s break it down and give a final prediction of what could go down starting with the relegation candidates.

We all know what gruelling and outright horrible season the Championship can be for clubs. It is 46 games of tough, physical games of football and we would usually be talking of these remaining nine games as the last hurdle, but truthfully, with the break, everyone has now had, anything could happen. Even more, than it usually does. Seriously, the Championship has become even more unpredictable – let the party begin.

Last term, 44 points renewed Millwall’s Championship status and the year before that, 43 points kept Bolton up. Yet with 27 points still up for grabs, Hull City sit one place out the drop zone on 41 points which makes you realise we could be in for a much higher points total to guarantee safety.

So who are all the teams in the relegation run-in? I suppose this is almost impossible to pinpoint with the dramatic changes this league can produce but all the way up to seventeenth spot we have Stoke City who are just three points adrift. Below them are Huddersfield, Middlesbrough Wigan and Hull. The drop zone meanwhile contains Charlton, Luton, and Barnsley.

Given the number of ridiculous results that the Championship can produce I almost feel it a pointless exercise to start analysing the run-ins that the teams have but some crucial relegation clashes are coming up – one of them being Hull vs Middlesbrough.

The Yorkshire derby (I’m sorry) has been selected for Sky coverage on Thursday 2 July and could play a pivotal part. The Tigers made a terrible gamble in January by selling their dynamic duo of Jared Bowen and Kamil Grosicki to West Ham and West Brom respectively and it’s fair to say it couldn’t have gone worse for them.

At one stage it looked like Hull might be in for a fairly stable season but since Christmas, they have picked up just eleven points from a possible forty-two, including heavy defeats in the last two outings to Leeds and Stoke.

Elsewhere, the pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time for Wigan Athletic who were in the form of their lives and picked up huge wins over the current top two, Leeds and West Brom. It’s a huge fight meanwhile for Barnsley, who, despite some half-decent form themselves, are still bottom of the pile and seven points adrift. Gerhard Struber has not done a bad job with the Yorkshire club but the sheer awfulness of their start to the season before he took charge in November means that it still hasn’t been enough.

Charlton Athletic have been hit with a huge blow, which has been a big talking point ahead of the restart with several players including top scorer Lyle Taylor, refusing to continue. Taylor (30) is out of contract and states his physical health as reasons for not agreeing to a temporary extension as he doesn’t want an injury to prevent him from a move next season.

Even with Taylor’s goals, Charlton are two points deep in the relegation zone and without them, you do wonder where the results are going to come from. Below the Addicks, we have Luton Town who for most of the season have just looked a little bit out of their depth. It would be a shame for Luton to go down as their epic rise, fall and rise again has been a great story. Do they, however, have enough to stay up?

Huddersfield and Stoke may be living life dangerously sitting just three points clear, but the misfortunes of Charlton and Hull I think will keep them safe enough and out of the equation. Huddersfield will, however, have crucial games against Wigan and Luton, meanwhile Stoke will have to fight off tough opposition with three of the top six still to play.

Final Prediction
21: Charlton Athletic (Survived)
22: Hull City (Relegated)
23: Barnsley (Relegated)
24: Luton Town (Relegated)

So on we go to the epic prize that is the Premier League. Once again this is going to be a tough one to predict and it really wouldn’t shock me if a team I mention in this somehow ends up in a relegation scrap. This division is mental, it really is.

With just six points separating sixth and thirteenth – don’t shoot me if I end up getting this horrifically wrong.

I reiterate that form could completely go out the window with the big break that we have had and the run-ins could make no difference whatsoever but nonetheless, we’ll start with the current top two.

Leeds and West Brom have looked the best bets for promotion for a lot of this season and six points currently separates West Brom from Fulham in third with Leeds one point ahead of Albion in first. Both have had their bad spells this season and at one point it seriously looked like both Fulham and Brentford could take up the top two spots.

Before the pandemic, however, Leeds were in tantalising form winning their last five games and conceding no goals in the process. For West Brom, it was a little more up and down drawing away to Swansea and losing at home to Wigan but the Baggies did register big wins over Preston and Bristol City before that.

With Brentford ten points behind West Brom, we have to suggest at this stage that Fulham are the main contenders to challenge the top two.

However, a reminder that Fulham do host Brentford in the first game back and an away win for the Bees could give them a very good argument that they are still in the mix. Thomas Frank’s side will then have to face West Brom immediately afterwards at home so those two games perhaps could give us a good idea?

In that same game week, Leeds will host Fulham in what could also prove to be huge. My word I have missed this barnstormer of a league!

We must also not forget Nottingham Forest who sit level with Brentford in fifth, however, since their big home win over Leeds back in February, the form for Sabri Lamouchi’s men has been very up and down. They were shocked at home to Charlton and since been well beaten in their last game at the hands of Millwall. Forest have been crying out for Premier League football even longer than Leeds but still strike me as a team that is developing under Lamouchi.

There is no doubt that Lamouchi has transformed Forest into a much better side than we have seen over the years and for that reason, in my opinion, it puts him in the running for manager of the year. Should they, however, fall short this season they’d have to be big favourites next year.

Four points behind Forest in sixth we have Preston where thankfully we can now just be talking about who is going to take that spot come July. Not that I should completely disregard Preston ploughing through everyone in nine games and go up as champions but let’s just pretend that isn’t possible. Alex Neil is another manager who has done a tremendous job this season, turning Preston from a mid-table team to a side that is mounting a promotion challenge.

They do, however, face stiff competition from Bristol City, who are just a point behind The Lilywhites, while Millwall and Cardiff are just two points adrift. Oh, but then we have Blackburn, Swansea and Derby who are also very much in contention…I give in, please no one shoot me for this prediction.

To make matters more difficult these are all teams who’s form has been very inconsistent, I mean that’s probably why they are where they are. I do make a strong case for Gary Rowett’s Millwall though, who, since Rowett’s appointment I’ve identified as dark horses for promotion.

Rowett has had a lot of talk about him since his shock departure from Birmingham as to how good a coach he is and it did not go well for him at Stoke. At the time it looked a risky decision to take the managerial role at The Den, given that the previous season Millwall had very narrowly escaped relegation and were sat in seventeenth spot at the time of his appointment.

The Lions though have lost just five league games in his 23 game tenure and with just two points separating them and Preston they do look a good bet. Bristol City meanwhile were in very bad form before lockdown and despite that potentially making no difference anymore, they aren’t a team that has struck me as one that would maintain a spot in the playoffs. I would also say similarly with Guy Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers, who have been in and around the mix for a while now and for a long time topped the form table, but ultimately I see them coming short.

Swansea and Derby are interesting ones because the Swans were at the top end of the table for a while before Christmas but a bad run of form led to their slip down the table. They are a young footballing side that given time under Steve Cooper, they could be well in the mix next season.

Derby, on the other hand, have had a very eventful season.  The signing of Wayne Rooney in January to the sacking of captain Richard Keogh. Focusing on the football, they’re a team that has tried to play out from the back under Phillip Cocu but just haven’t done it that well. Their fortunes have however recently changed and the results have started to come, which has led to them being back in the mix but I think it will be too little too late for them.

Final Prediction
1: Leeds (Promoted)
2: West Brom (Promoted)
3: Fulham
4: Brentford (Promoted via Playoffs)
5: Nottingham Forest
6: Millwall

Joe Lolley Forest require penalties to see off eight-man Mansfield to reach the EFL Football Manager Quarter-Finals

The last 16 of the Virtual EFL Football Manager Cup certainly delivered up its fair share of drama this past week.

The round featured a classic Championship versus League Two tie between Nottingham Forest and Mansfield Town. Following the game virtual manager Joe Lolley said:

“Well if that’s not repeated on sky sports classics for the next 20 years there is no justice.”

Indeed, Lolley’s Nottingham Forest side had to overcome the spirited effort from Jamie King’s Mansfield Town. The League Two side went ahead twice but their discipline certainly proved problematic as the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

In extra time Forest had as many as three goals ruled out before ultimately coming through on penalties against FM content creator King’s troops.

A remarkable hat-trick from Birmingham City’s centre back Harlee Dean meanwhile saw the Lee Camp’s blues progress to the last eight at the expense of Luton Town in another thrilling 3-2 Championship clash.

Following his side’s victory, virtual manager Camp said:

“We took the game to them, took the lead like we did last week and controlled the game.  They had a couple of moments but it’s cup football and you expect the opposition to come out and ask you questions but overall I thought we managed the game very well.”

Elsewhere, Brentford and Preston North End emerged victorious from their respective local derby matches against Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rovers.

Sam Jaques’s Brentford side ultimately emerged with a 3-1 victory over their fellow Londoners, while Tom Barkhuizen rounded off Preston’s 2-0 victory over their Lancashire rivals.

There were also wins for Fulham, Huddersfield Town, Swansea City and Middlesborough  who complete the line up for the last eight.

Who do you fancy to go all the way?

Don’t forget that throughout the tournament you can donate on the JustGive page to Mind UK. #haveyourmatesback.

https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/TheEFLFootballManagerCup

TOWN TAKE ALL THREE POINTS FROM ROVERS

A fixture which has seen more draws in the last few years than an other score-line, fans on both sides would have been hopeful for more than just a point a piece.

Image result for steven mounie 2019
A second goal of the Christmas period for Huddersfield’s front man

Following this weeks news of star striker Bradley Dack being ruled out for the season due to injury, a heavy weight laid upon a Blackburn side who were looking to continue their unbeaten run dating back to 9th November. For Huddersfield, Danny Cowley made two changes to the Boxing Day starting line up which included the return of left back Jaden Brown who came in to replace Flo Hadergjonajat.

As expected, the beginning stages saw both teams very open in defence with both sides having chances in the primary stages. Danny Graham was the first to capitalise one of these chances for the visitors as he headed past Grabara, leaving the Huddersfield players to simply watch as he nodded down to the near post. Up at the other end shortly after referee Andy Woolmer waved away penalty claims as Karlan Grant was brought to ground in the penalty area. Woolmer was keeping the game flowing choosing not to be disciplinary with cards where other officials might have been during the first half.

Shortly before half time a whipped in free kick from Juninho Bacuna reached six yard box to be met by Town’s centre half Jon Gorenc Stankovic who recorded his home turf debut goal with a bullet header to make it 1-1. Stankovic arguably Huddersfield’s best player of the day was up against Blackburn’s Sam Gallagher who caused problems for the home side on multiple occasions, a great contest to watch throughout the 90 minutes.

It was Huddersfield who fought back in the second half to take the lead through a skilled strike from Steve Mounie who, from middle distance, struck the ball into the top right hand corner of the Blackburn net in the latter quarter of the game. A good strike which turned out to be the winner for the Terriers, however this wasn’t before Huddersfield’s keeper Grabara was needed to pull off a close range save to deny Rovers an equaliser.

Nine minutes added on for injury time led to a majority nervous atmosphere at the John Smiths but the home side managed to cling on to their one goal advantage. A good game of football from both sides with some real glimpses of talent in youth players from John Buckley for Rovers who showed intent to get the ball forward and supply his strikers. Similarly, Lewis O’Brien who balanced maturity and desire to attack well, stepping up to replace the injured Jonathon Hogg.