Blackburn Rovers v Swansea City – Match Preview
Rovers slipped to the foot of the table following last week’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Stoke at the Britannia Stadium last week as they made it eight top flight games without a win. Manager Kean was once again the subject of derision from his own supporters who vociferously informed him that he is unwelcome in their dugout. It’s been a tough year in charge for the Scot who has managed just six wins from 34 games in charge since taking over last December after owners Venky’s dispensed with the services of Sam Allardyce. The club has evidently gone downhill since the Indian company took over and appointed Kean and they angered fans even further by handing the boss a new two-year contract despite club looking strong candidates for relegation. It’s a mystery as to why Rovers are performing so badly with a dressing boasting the likes of of Christopher Samba, Scott Dann, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Yakubu. Talented youngsters like Junior Hoilett, Steven N’Zonzi, Mauro Formica and Ruben Rochina are also at the club and have shown flashes of their potential this season after being given their chance by Kean. Despite the talent in the dressing room Rovers have looked a shambles at times this season with teams able to cut through them like a hot knife through butter. Stoke cruised effortlessly to three points last week and there is no doubt Kean will demand improvement as they come up against Swansea who have picked up only two points on the road this season.
Boss Brendan Rodgers has seen his side struggle on their travels losing four of their six games away from the Liberty Stadium although he’ll be confident of breaking that run at Blackburn. Performances have been encouraging from the Welshmen who have surprised every single critic who predicted they would be propping up the table going into the festive period. In fact the Swans have performed well above expectations and now sit in 13th place following their goalless draw with Aston Villa last Sunday. Their staunch possessional play and slick passing game has won them a hoard admirers with their approach to games proving a refreshing change from the usual caution applied by promoted teams in the past. However one element of concern that remains for Rodgers is his side’s lack of creativity in the final third which was something that became evident in Sunday’s stalemate. Despite possessing the attacking talents of Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer along with the predatory Danny Graham the Swans failed to break down the Villa defence or test goalkeeper Shay Given throughout the 90 minutes. They’ve failed to score in their last two home games and have found goals hard to come by on their travels scoring only four times in their away games. A trip to Blackburn should change that with the Premier League’s bottom team losing five times at home although Swansea haven’t won in the North West since 1971.
Blackburn – 20th
Last Five: Lost 3-1 v Stoke (A), Drew 3-3 v Wigan (A), Lost 1-0 v Chelsea (H), Drew 3-3 v Norwich (A), Lost 2-1 v Tottenham (H)
Potential Starting X11: 1. P. Robinson 5. G. Givet 4. C. Samba [C] 15. S. Dann 3. M. Olsson 23. J. Hoilett 15. S. N’Zonzi 35. J. Lowe 12. M. Gamst Pedersen 10. M. Formica 24. Yakubu
Injury News: Kean should have captain Samba and left back Martin Olsson back for the visit of Swansea whilst Ryan Nelsen could return the week after. Simon Vukcevic and Vince Grella are also out and don’t look like returning until the new year.
Key Player: Junior Hoilett
The Canadian winger has been one of the few bright spots in a relatively dark start to the sea season for Blackburn with his energetic performances giving supporters hope for a revival. Hoilett’s combination of pace and skill on the wing have lit up Ewood Park at times this season and he looks like a threat every time the ball is at his feet. Should he be given time and space on Saturday he could do real damage to Swansea who will likely field inexperienced right back Ashley Richards.
Match Fact: Blackburn haven’t met the Swans at Ewood Park since 1984 and will certainly be hoping for a repeat of the scoreline the last time the Welsh club came to the North West. Rovers won out 4-1 winners that day and have lost only once in their last seven clashes.
Swansea – 13th
Drew 0-0 v Aston Villa (H), Lost 1-0 v Manchester United (H), Drew 0-0 v Liverpool (A), Won 3-1 v Bolton (H), Drew 2-2 v Wolves (A)
Potential Starting X11: 1. M. Vorm 27. A. Richards 2. A. Williams 16. G. Monk [C] 3. N. Taylor 27. M. Gower 24. J. Allen 7. L. Britton* 12. N. Dyer 11. S. Sinclair 10. D. Graham
Injury News: Rodgers has one injury worry with Angel Rangel forced off against Villa last week and looks likely to miss the trip to Blackburn.
Key Player: Leon Britton
It’s amazing to think the midfielder has played for Swansea in all four divisions in English football and is now finally getting an opportunity to display his talents in the Premier League. Britton has taken to the top flight like a duck to water and certainly hasn’t looked out of place on the big stage. Blessed with a natural elegance on the ball he has shown just how good his vision and range of passing is whilst his passion for the club see’s him put no less that 120% into every game he plays.
Match Fact: The Swans have never met Blackburn in the Premier League era and you have to go back even further to find their last win at Ewood Park. A 2-1 win in the old Division Three in 1971 was the last time they left the North West with maximum points and they’ll be hoping for much of the same on Saturday.
Last Time at Ewood Park
Premier League 7 March 1984
Blackburn 4-1 Swansea
Blackburn’s season continues to lurch from one crisis to the next under Kean’s stewardship and the negativity coming from the stands isn’t helping the teams performance. They’ve won only once this season and don’t look like that doubling that any time soon having failed to taste victory in 12 of their 13 games this season. Swansea, on the other hand, were predicted to be propping up the table at this point of the season but sit gleefully in 13th having enjoyed a tremendous start to their debut Premier League campaign. Winning games away from home has been a problem although they will be confident of securing their first victory on the road at Ewood Park.