Date:Monday November 20 2006
Blackburn Rovers may have stopped the rot with a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday but this came in VERY frustrating fashion.
I'll admit, as I had already that before the game I would have taken a point but having got that point I am anything but happy with it! Football is such a frustrating game at times isn't it and Sunday was no exception.
Neither side created much nor can I remember either goalkeeper making many saves, especially Brad Friedel so maybe a draw was a fair result.
Besides the final pass at times and lack of openings carved out it is hard though to point out too many negatives from the game, the obvious one being Tugay's red card. The penalty was unfortunate as he in no way meant to foul, how could he have meant to foul with his trail leg? Nevertheless it was a penalty, but a red card! Come on there was something seriously wrong there…The lack of penalty for Mido's handball also obviously another bad point.
Mark Hughes can take plenty of pluses from the game though:
Michael Gray - His performance was his best that I have seen all season; he was everywhere, left-back, right-back, midfield and sometimes forward! If he wasn't already playing well before the sending off he found a second wind and deserved his Man of the Match tag (Tugay couldn't really be given this following a red card!) On this showing Lucas Neill should not be guaranteed an immediate return to the starting XI.
Stephane Henchoz - In selecting Henchoz for his first Premiership start since his return to Ewood Park Hughes all but confirmed Andy Todd's Rovers career is over. The Swiss defender didn't have a lot to do, but what he did he did very well. He started the game like a man possessed making some early telling tackles letting people know "he was around". He showed glimpses why Hughes was right to re-sign him and indeed why he was right to start him.
Robbie Savage - Simply having him return so soon from injury was a plus as we didn't expect this!
Tugay - Another superb performances from the maestro, his passing was again of the highest order making everything look so simple. I thought his goal against FC Basel was going to take some beating for Goal of the Month but I think he did this himself with his fantastic 25-yard volley! His red card was very harsh and took some of the gloss of his performance… but not too much!
Team spirit and togetherness - If this was ever in doubt the sending off only proved just how good this is. The red card seemed to give Rovers a second wind and you would have been forgiven for thinking that Spurs had ten men (which obviously in injury time they did!) not Rovers for the final half an hour!
Hopefully this can be built on starting with Feyenoord in the UEFA Cup on Thursday.
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Date:Monday November 20 2006
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