Season | 2004-05 |
Matchday | #9 |
League Game | #8 |
Premier League Match-week | #8 |
Manager Game | #54 |
Saturday, 2 October 2004
Premier League | Away | Blackburn Rovers | Ewood Park | 20,502 |
Manager | David O’Leary |
KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Peter Walton |
HT Score | 2-2 |
FT Score | 2-2 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | DDWDD |
Scorers | Juan Pablo Ángel | 25’ | Olof Mellberg | 80’ |
Assists | Ulises de la Cruz | 25’ | Mark Delaney | 80’ |
League Position | 8th | +1 |
Line Up |
GK Thomas Sörensen |
RB Mark Delaney | ASSIST | 80' |
RB Ulises de la Cruz | ASSIST | 25' |
FB Jlloyd Samuel |
CB Olof Mellberg | GOAL | 80' |
M Gareth Barry | SUB OFF | 76' |
M Lee Hendrie |
M Gavin McCann | BOOKED | 60' |
W Nolberto Solano | BOOKED | 69' | SUB OFF | 76' |
CF Juan Pablo Ángel | GOAL | 25' |
CF Carlton Cole |
M Thomas Hitzlsperger for M Gareth Barry | 76’ |
F Darius Vassell for W Nolberto Solano | 76’ |
Unused Substitutes |
W Peter Whittingham
GK Stefan Postma
M Steven Davis
Yellow | Gavin McCann | 60’ |
Yellow | Nolberto Solano | 69’ |
Team Stats |
Starting XI Average Age | 26.81 |
Oldest Player | RB Ulises de la Cruz | 30.17 |
Youngest Player | CF Carlton Cole | 20.90 |
Monday, 4 October, 2004
Match report by Rob Smyth
Djorkaeff adds gear to Rovers
The theory is simple. Mark Hughes heads off to Cardiff today, leaves Blackburn in the hands of his support staff, and gives Wales his absolute, undivided attention for the next 10 days. The reality is likely to be a little different. Hughes’s nature is such that his train of thought will sporadically lead him to his new life, his new job and, ultimately, his new, porous defence.
Blackburn’s frailties, especially from set pieces, were again in evidence on Saturday when, having barged their way in front after being outplayed early on, they conceded a sloppy late goal. The consequence is that they are only a place and a point off the relegation zone; Hughes’s task is a considerable one.
“We need to be stronger, physically and mentally, and close games out,” he said. “But we’re moving in the right direction.”
The signing of Youri Djorkaeff is a big step. After a dreary start to the season, and with Jon Stead having fallen so alarmingly from grace, Blackburn fans have been holding out for a hero. Even at 36, Djorkaeff fits the bill.
When he was withdrawn, Djorkaeff received a standing ovation for a performance of artistry and Gallic grace. In a team of toilers, he applied the balm. And though Blackburn, instinctively inclined to work the channels, struggled to get him on the ball at times, the dividends were considerable when they did. Most lucrative of all was the angled pass, weighted as delicately as a bowling ball, that Brett Emerton stabbed in expertly.
“Youri’s brought exactly what I wanted,” said Hughes. “He’s got craft, great awareness of people around him and a great appreciation of playing the right ball at the right time. His pass for our second goal was absolutely perfect.”
He also began promisingly in his new, chalk-and-cheese partnership with the outstanding Paul Dickov. It was Dickov, busy and bothersome as ever, who made Barry Ferguson’s surreal equaliser, the danger so imperceptible that the Villa fans were mid-song when the ball flashed in.
The liberated Ferguson was an impressive figure throughout. As well as scoring, he picked Ulises de la Cruz’s pocket to set the wheels in motion for Emerton’s goal, and almost won the match with a fizzing 20-yard strike near the end.
That would have been harsh on Villa, who played some slick, incisive stuff. De la Cruz in particular was rampant down the right, and expertly created Juan Pablo Angel’s ruthlessly drilled opening goal. Villa were always a threat: after Lee Hendrie clattered the post and Brad Friedel performed his usual heroics, Olof Mellberg finally scrambled their equaliser from a corner.
“I’m not pleased at getting a point,” said their manager David O’Leary. “Not at all.”
As usual he dealt in contradictions: first lamenting the failure to win, then pleading poverty and setting his sights low. “Our aim is to avoid what Everton did last year [slide from seventh to 17th],” he said, but he knows his neat side are much better than that, and such disingenuous propaganda serves only to give them a subconscious excuse for failure. Villa have drawn five out of eight this season; in the game of snakes and ladders that is the Premiership’s elongated midriff, taking it one point at a time just will not do.
*Man of the match:*Ulises de la Cruz (Aston Villa)