Poor defending could prove Blackburn’s undoing
Blackburn again continued their new style of football this week – winning despite playing badly. From opening day of the season, Rovers have been less than impressive whilst defending, illustrated by the nine goals we have already conceded.
Up front, there are no such problems. Colin Kazim-Richards, Nuno Gomes and Jordan Rhodes all look as though they can contribute to our goal total this season – with Ruben Rochina also looking promising. The question remains however, of whether we can manage to simply outscore our opponents to win promotion this season. After a flurry of signings, only Nuno Henrique is a defender by trade, leaving question marks over who can bolster the defence.
If Scott Dann or Gael Givet were to pick up a serious injury, only Grant Hanley can step into the fold. Henrique has played for the reserves, yet remains a mystery to most Rovers fans, so it is currently unclear as to whether he possesses the quality to complete in the Championship. As both Dann and Givet have limped off in our opening six games, this is a particular worry of mine, especially as Steve Kean has previously admitted that he wasn’t familiar with the player before his arrival from Portugal.
That being said, Jordan Rhodes looks to be a great prospect for the season. Worries that his price tag would prevent his goalscoring have been almost instantly dispelled, as goals against Bristol City and Barnsley have secured points for Rovers. The combination of experience and raw talent in our offense is a welcome sight, with our chance conversion rate hopefully being far superior to last season’s figures.
An improvement is certainly required however, so visible is the issue, that annoyingly ever-positive manager Steve Kean admitted that the performance against Barnsley left a lot to be desired. To have an away side visit Ewood Park, with a depleted squad, and have the lion’s share of possession is not good enough. Yet we won.
Last season was a case of poor performances being paired with bad results, the refreshing change of having quality players winning points on their own is a feeling which I am still growing accustomed to. While some would argue that it is a mark of a quality team to scrape out results during a bad performance, the reality of the situation is that we cannot rely on Jordan Rhodes to score us to promotion without a well organised and solid team behind him.
If we continue to leak goals, I’m unsure whether we will manage to achieve promotion. Whilst our firepower is among the strongest in the division, eventually defensive frailties will be punished, especially in situations such as the play-offs, and we could pay the price for any cheap goals which we give away too often. On paper, Gael Givet, Martin Olsson, Scott Dann and Bradley Orr isn’t a bad starting back four, with Bruno Ribiero and Grant Hanley waiting in the wings. In reality, we need to tighten up and create a solid platform to build upon for the season, or face being punished.