Premier League Preview Number 13: Blackburn Rovers

09 August 2009

Blackburn Rovers

Biggest Ins: Gael Givet’s permanent move after his loan at the end of last season adds much needed stability to the back. Elrio van Heerden is someone who can come off the bench and be that burst of speed in the midfield. Lars Jacobsen can provide depth in defense, while Franco Di Santo’s loan from Chelsea gives them additional options up front.

Biggest Outs: The loss of Andre Ooijer and Tugay are massive losses in terms of leadership. Roque Santa Cruz did nothing in his second year in the Prem, so his loss can’t be anything more than a good profit. Matt Derbyshire was competent cover up front, and moves off with a chance to get regular starting time.

Easiest Month: November. Blackburn open hosting Portsmouth before traveling to Bolton. The month ends with Stoke City coming to Ewood Park. In November, seven points are possible.

Toughest Month: October. This month is just brutal. Blackburn open the month at Arsenal before hosting Burnley. Rovers then go away; first to Chelsea, and then Manchester United. The only place I see Blackburn getting points is against Burnley.

Five Questions About Blackburn Rovers This Season
1) Who is Sam Allardyce’s answer in center and right midfield? Nineteen different players ended up in those two positions last season, and off the top of my head I can’t think of any injury problems. The back four was pretty stable last season and need the midfield to get it’s act in gear.
2) Will Paul Robinson keep his mistakes down in goal? Robinson just makes too many mistakes to be considered a reliable keeper and is a reason I think Blackburn struggled so much last season. If Robinson cuts down on just one-third of his mistakes, Blackburn are in a much better place this season.
3) What is the partnership up front? As much as I like Jason Roberts, he is a striker who is better off used later in matches. If Blackburn in January are able to extend Franco Di Santo’s loan, I think you have to use the partnership up front of McCarthy and Di Santo.
4) Is Lars Jacobsen the answer at right back? He was only a squad player at Everton and with the loss of Andre Ooijer, he’s it. I just don’t think he’s all that good.
5) Will Blackburn Rover fans be accepting of Sam Allardyce’s tactics? Look they worked at Bolton whether you want to admit it or not. He never got a proper chance at Newcastle United because of inept management. This is the perfect job for Allardyce to prove everyone who doubted him (hint: English media and Newcastle United fans) wrong.

My Ultimate Reality: Sam Allardyce knows how to keep teams up. Last season, he was put in one hell of a situation and came through it with flying colors. Now he can slowly build on last season’s success. I think this squad needs one more year together before they start to rise the ranks again with Allardyce at the helm. That said, after a bit of a brutal early season schedule, they will balance themselves out and finish comfortably away from the relegation zone.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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