After their “planned” capitulation at Cardiff City on Tuesday, Swansea City’s visit to Ewood Park could have spelt disaster for Rover’s manager Steve Kean. Alas, as Abi Davies found out, there is nothing worse in football than a centre forward scorned.
A whole host of defensive errors from the Swans on Saturday, along with many great tactics applied by Steve Kean’s side, further prolongs Swansea City’s wait for a first Premier League victory away from home.
The visitors got the game under way and enjoyed the superior spells in possession early on. However, despite Swansea’s initial dominance it was evident that the hosts had done their homework on Brendan Rodgers side as they pressed us high up the field, not permitting us to play out from defence. On the rare occasion that they did allow us time to build from the back, Blackburn doubled up on our wide players cutting off our sources/outlets and forcing us to spontaneously alter our strategies.
As we continued to grow into the game, we started to assert more pressure and push forward with more conviction, as Neil Taylor and Scott Sinclair combined and demonstrated glimpses of the link play we became accustom to seeing from them in the Championship.
For me Neil Taylor was the pick of the Swans defenders at Ewood Park, despite over-committing himself offensively a few times, the left-back posed one of our biggest threats pushing forward, delivering infinite dangerous balls into the box.
I feel Sinclair and Taylor worked more as a partnership on Saturday, with Sinclair seemingly more willing to help out defensively, tracking back in order to regain possession.
The swans constituted abundant chances to break the deadlock, however efforts from both Lita and Sinclair failed to test Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson.
With 20 minutes on the clock, the Swans were shown why you need to make the most of your chances in this league, when Blackburn took the lead. Yakubu found Givet out wide on the overlap, before the French defender got the better of Richards and pulled the ball back for Yakubu who was in acres of space inside the area. The Nigerian’s sublime strike into the top corner provided Blackburn with the lead.
With 10 minutes of the half remaining the visitors hauled themselves back on level terms. After some rhythmically alluring football on the edge of the Rovers area from the Swans, Mark Gower’s perfectly weighted ball into the box was met by Lita who rose well to connect and head home to level proceedings.
Swansea were working their way into great positions, however failed to apply substantial pressure on Robinson.
Blackburn boast a squad consisting of so many target men, it is no wonder as to why they are renowned for posing such a large threat from set pieces, and on the stroke of half time the home side used their height advantage to restore the lead. After Gary Monk cleared the initial danger from a Rovers corner, Vukcevic’s volley back into the danger area found Yakubu unmarked, the striker headed in at the far post, ensuring Blackburn were a goal to the good going in at the break.
Rodgers opted for change at the break as Routledge was introduced in place of Nathan Dyer.
Swansea created the first chance of the second half as Taylor played through Sinclair and after some fancy footwork the winger picked out Lita who’s shot fired high and wide of the target.
With little under an hour played, the hosts extended their advantage as Yakubu rounded off his hat-trick- Swansea undone by another set piece. Pedersen’s corner found Samba at the far post who headed the ball down for The Yak, making no mistake from close range to open up a two goal margin.
Brendan Rodgers instantly elected to change things as Gower was replaced by Luke Moore.
The change proved an inspired one as we picked up the tempo and 5 minutes later Moore found himself on the score sheet, with the Swans now back in the game having reduced their arrears to one goal. Having been a menace since his introduction, Routledge worked his way into a shooting position and although his initial effort was parried away, it fell straight to the feet of Luke Moore who blasted past Robinson.
Swansea’s fate was however sealed when they were reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Joe Allen for a second bookable offence, before Neil Taylor brought down Vukcevic inside the area. Having been substantially biased towards the home side for the majority of the afternoon, there was no denying the referee got this big decision right as he made no hesitations in pointing to the spot. Yakubu stepped up to take the penalty and remained calm, sending Vorm the wrong way to net his and Blackburn’s fourth of the game. Sealing all three points and lifting Rovers off the bottom of the League with their first win in 9.
Despite becoming the first Swans player to see red this season, Joe Allen would have been my Swansea man of the match against Rovers. The midfielder pulled the strings in midfield, winning the majority of 50/50’s,with an outstanding work rate once more.
Having done a stern job containing the pacey Agbonlahor last weekend, Jazz Richards retained his place in the side following the news that Angel Rangel is to face a lengthy spell on the sideline. Richards found himself exposed on numerous occasions at Ewood Park as his inexperience was exploited.
Having played such a significant role in helping steer Swansea to the topflight, Stephen Dobbie must be wondering what he has to do to warrant a chance in the Swans side. An unused substitute once more on Saturday, I still believe the Scot could play a pivotal role if given a run of 4 or 5 games to adapt to the demands of the Premier League and prove his worth.