Date:Thursday November 2 2006
Blackburn Rovers have five matches ahead of them in the coming month, with three of them at home, which will be a massive bonus.
Another hectic month is lightened somewhat be the cancellation of the Watford Premiership match which had been scheduled for Saturday 25th. Rovers' UEFA Cup commitments and Watford's own Premiership match with Sheffield United days later means the game will be played at some other point.
UEFA Thu 2nd 20:00 - FC Basel (h)
FC Basel of Switzerland are going to prove tough opponents for Rovers in our second UEFA Cup group E match.
The Swiss side have a real European pedigree especially under former Tottenham Hotspur manager Christian Gross in the past few years, so they will be very tough and won't be easy at all.
Had this game seen Rovers have to face them in Switzerland I think we might have found this more difficult, and although Mark Hughes may settle for a point I think we have to be looking for three with Basel not always travelling well. I'm going for a win that will all but ensure safe passage into the last 32.
PREM Sun 5th 14:00 - Aston Villa (a)
Aston Villa currently lie in 7th place in the Premiership with 15 points from their ten matches played, three more than Rovers.
Many of the players likely to be on display for each team have been linked to moves to one or the other at various stages of their careers, but few of the current first team squads contain former playing members of either side. The notable exception is of course Aston Villa's Chris Sutton. Sutton enjoyed some memorable years with Rovers winning the Premiership Title. Didier Agathe also had a trial with Rovers before Martin O'Neill lured the Frenchman to Villa Park.
Last season, on the 27th August 2005, in front of a Villa Park crowd of 31,010 Rovers returned home from the midlands with nothing. Milan Baros' goal after 11 minutes secured Villa's 1-0 win.
With Villa winning three and drawing two of their five home Premiership games this season, with only the one Premiership defeat (coming at Anfield recently) this will be very tough. Villa are a much different side under O'Neill so with Rovers coming into this game off the back of two straight Premiership defeats a point will represent a very good point for Rovers.
PREM Sat 11th 17:15 - Manchester United (h)
Manchester United currently lie at the top of the Premiership with 25 points from their ten matches played, 13 more than Rovers.
Michael Gray and Robbie Savage were former youngsters with Man United so will both be hoping to play against a side that deemed them not good enough.
Last season, on the 1st February 2006, in front of an Ewood Park crowd of 25,484 Rovers won 4-3. In his first game as a full-time Rover, turning his loan from Arsenal into a permanent one David Bentley scored a hat trick, with Lucas Neill getting the other from the penalty spot. At one point Rovers were 4-1 up before a United fight back made Rovers edgy. Rio Ferdinand saw red in the 88th minute for United but the match was very nearly already won.
With Man United having won four, drawn one and lost none of their five away games this season Rovers will have to be at their very best to repeat last seasons success. Despite being a home game, although you would like to think Rovers could win I think a point has to be the least we can expect on United's current form.
PREM Sun 19th 16:00 - Tottenham (h)
Tottenham Hotspur currently lie in 12th place the Premiership with 12 points from their ten matches played, the same as Rovers but one place below them.
Tottenham have been linked with several Rovers players in recent months so this game will give Martin Jol the perfect opportunity to check out these players first hand. I will very much expect all to still be with Rovers come the end of January though.
Last season, on the 24th August 2005, in front of an Ewood Park crowd of 22,375 the teams played out a 0-0 draw. Lucas Neill was given his marching orders, receiving his red card with fourteen minutes to play.
With Spurs having drawn two, lost three and failed to win any of their five away games this season Rovers will see this as a very good opportunity to take a point at least, hopefully even three. A difficult month will come to an end with a win, and possibly the only Premiership win of November for Rovers?
UEFA Thu 23rd 20:00 - Feyenoord (a)
Feyenoord wrap up the month of November. The Dutch giants will prove very tough opponents, but not the toughest of our group E opponents in my opinion.
The Dutch outfit won the UEFA Cup in 2002 as well as winning in it in the 1970's so they have a fine European pedigree.
If this match had been at Ewood Park I'd think we would be absolutely fine. As it is away, although we'll still find it hard I'd back us to get at least a point, and a point that could (providing all goes well against FC Basel) see us safely through to the last 32.
PREM Sat 25th 15:00 - Watford (a) TO BE REARRANGED
The final fixture of the month was due to be against Watford, but this has cancelled due to fixture congestion for both teams and will be played at a latter date.
How do you think the month will pan out? Why not have your say by posting a comment below...
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Date:Thursday November 2 2006
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