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Thread: Any changes for the millwall game?

  1. #1
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    Any changes for the millwall game?

    Well it would be very easy to change most of the defence after the west brom performance but I would be inclined to drop lenihan for tosin(if fit) and Armstrong for Buckley.
    Sorry champs but also Gallagher on the bench with graham starting up top.

  2. #2
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    No changes for me, he tinkers too much and too often.
    The defence has been superb until the WBA match.
    Let's forget the knee jerk reactions, keep the team together and build confidence.
    (I'd normally want Bennett out of the RB spot but he must be TM's love child)

  3. #3
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    TM is very committed to having the two holding players in central midfield. In actual fact, Johnson and Travis do get forward more than Evans and Smallwood, but that is not their primary purpose. That means it's difficult to fit in a genuine winger, like Chapman, without going to 4-4-2, which Mowbray doesn't seem to favour.
    As a result, it's really a matter of choosing the front three. Dack is virtually a certainty. Then it's a straight choice between Graham and Gallagher for the No.9 spot. Let's say it's Graham. Who, then, is the third forward? It comes down to Armstrong, Rothwell, Chapman, and Gallagher again. Funnily enough, this game might suit Armstrong better than some recent ones, because we are more likely to be on the front foot. I'd still go for Rothwell myself.
    Are Rankin-Costello and Buckley in contention? Not for a starting-place, I'd have thought.
    Would that XI be my own first choice? No, but I'm trying to be realistic. Having said that, TM usually springs one surprise.
    I share Mowbray's belief that we need different teams for different opponents. As far as Millwall are concerned, I might take a risk myself:
    Walton
    Nyambe Lenihan Williams Cunningham
    Chapman Travis Rothwell Downing
    Dack Graham (but I'm about 50/50 between DG and Gallagher).

    I would then definitely have Johnson back in for Rothwell, away to stronger teams, with Bennett in front of Nyambe. I'm not convinced the "third forward" that TM prefers has actually brought us much joy recently. I'd tell Dack to stick closer to Graham and rely on support from different areas of the midfield.
    I have always thought that 4-4-2 has a lot going for it but you do need the midfield to chip in with regular goals.

  4. #4
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    We have a run of games now which are all win-able, and we have a great chance to build some points and wins up here.
    But we need a positive line-up. If its the same as the Charlton game we will struggle to break Millwall down, as we just seem unable to do that. 2 holding players aren't needed. As we severely lack any kind of creativity. The 3 in forward positions are feeding on scraps. And we still don't possess a midfielder who can unlock a defence.
    I wouldn't bother with Rothwell, he just won't ever be the answer. I can't see Chapman changing his work ethic and attitude in 2 weeks, so he won't be considered. Which just leave Armstrong or Gallagher to play this out wide position that hasn't worked once this season.
    I still say Bennett is a liability at RB. And whoever he picks to play in front of him will expose him badly. While Bennett plays, I always feel the oppo have a chance. And the keeper isn't giving me any confidence.
    I expect that lad from City to still be injured, I haven't heard anything but my guess is he will probably be missing. He has all season, so not sure that will change any time soon.
    All depends on the day, how motivated we are, how we set up which will dictate how we play. We tend to use a system that isn't really working, and are sticking with it. Lets see if it works against sides who will sit deep and not attack us much. And we get on trying to find some creativity.
    If DG starts, we already know the game plan. Hit 40 yard , high balls into him, in the hope it sticks and he plays in others. As the game goes on, it doesn't, and Dack moves further and further back into midfield, isolating the striker.
    The winger (which ever of the 2 who will play) aren't wingers so won't beat anyone and get any crosses in.

  5. #5
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    Unless Bennett dies Auks, he will be starting games. Even if we all know he's crap, he's inexplicably been handed the captains armband. Come hell or high-water, form etc etc ....Bennett starts. First name on the team sheet.
    The problems start there.

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    I don't think the captaincy itself is inexplicable. No-one has worked harder or showed more enthusiasm over the last couple of years.
    Whether he's worth a guaranteed place is another matter.
    Speaking of "holding" players, I've just watched the N. Ireland-Germany match. Evans had a really good game - breaking up lots of German attacks, and distributing well (if not ambitiously).
    There you go! Football generalisations often come back to bite you.
    Back to the Millwall match. As I said, this might be a better game for Armstrong, but Dack would have to allow him to occupy the space in front of midfield, instead of constantly dropping back into it himself. Alternatively, they could take it in turns. Whichever it is, the system doesn't work if the No.9 doesn't have close support.
    Like us, Millwall have only scored five goals so far, so I presume their emphasis is on defence.
    Anyway, statistics aside, I have a good feeling about this game, and that "feeling" has always had a success rate of about...50%!

  7. #7
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    One last thing on Bennett. He wouldn't be my first choice, but I do think, Champs, that you have been watching the last few games with your anti-Bennett glasses on. He has been much better since (and including) the Fulham match. Against WBA, he and Williams definitely looked more assured than Lenihan and Cunningham.
    Being our right-back is a bit of a hiding to nothing, anyway, because we never seem to have as much cover down that side. That's why - in away games - I'd have Nyambe at full-back with Bennett in front of him.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AucklandRover View Post
    I don't think the captaincy itself is inexplicable. No-one has worked harder or showed more enthusiasm over the last couple of years.
    Whether he's worth a guaranteed place is another matter.
    Speaking of "holding" players, I've just watched the N. Ireland-Germany match. Evans had a really good game - breaking up lots of German attacks, and distributing well (if not ambitiously).
    There you go! Football generalisations often come back to bite you.
    Back to the Millwall match. As I said, this might be a better game for Armstrong, but Dack would have to allow him to occupy the space in front of midfield, instead of constantly dropping back into it himself. Alternatively, they could take it in turns. Whichever it is, the system doesn't work if the No.9 doesn't have close support.
    Like us, Millwall have only scored five goals so far, so I presume their emphasis is on defence.
    Anyway, statistics aside, I have a good feeling about this game, and that "feeling" has always had a success rate of about...50%!
    Auks, I have played football to a good standard. Semi Pro. I have been involved in football since I was a kid, both watching and playing. not a 5 a side kick about, actually semi pro inside a dressing room, playing alongside a few who had been pro. Actual football.
    At this point, Bennett is bloody awful. He's a liability. And not one person can tell me different. He is a joke. Way past his best. He isnt a RB, and its a joke he is playing in that position. The manager is part of the problem. He insists in playing a guy past his best, in a position he has never played.
    He did do a decent job (the last time he was playing well was about 12 months ago, but he dipped badly in the second half of the season. The position he did a decent job Auks, was RM. Not RB.
    We got dicked down at WBA, we got the run around. It was a pathetic defensive performance, by all 4, and that keeper. The manager set us up wrong, yet again. So we where set up for failure. And Bennett isn't a RB.
    I fully expect a professional footballer to be able to run about Auks, and put the odd tackle in. That's what you are defending him for. You missed the occasions he was left for dead by his winger. One of the goals (this happens every time we conceed) yet again came from his side of the pitch.
    Of course he has no chance. This isn't his fault. He runs about, gives the ball away so often. His crossing is woeful, he is slow, and costs us goals most weeks. The manager leaves him high and dry. By playing the wrong system, and leaving him woefully exposed. Ok, maybe Nyambe isnt the answer (TM clearly doesn't rate him) but I find it perplexing he believes Bennett is? It makes no sense. Neither does the system thats not currentlly working being used. Neither does exposing a bloke who has never played RB in his career. The issue isnt Bennett, he is just the poor sod who is getting exposed every game. The system is wrong, Armstrong is just at fault. And the manager.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AucklandRover View Post
    I don't think the captaincy itself is inexplicable. No-one has worked harder or showed more enthusiasm over the last couple of years.
    Whether he's worth a guaranteed place is another matter.
    Speaking of "holding" players, I've just watched the N. Ireland-Germany match. Evans had a really good game - breaking up lots of German attacks, and distributing well (if not ambitiously).
    There you go! Football generalisations often come back to bite you.
    Back to the Millwall match. As I said, this might be a better game for Armstrong, but Dack would have to allow him to occupy the space in front of midfield, instead of constantly dropping back into it himself. Alternatively, they could take it in turns. Whichever it is, the system doesn't work if the No.9 doesn't have close support.
    Like us, Millwall have only scored five goals so far, so I presume their emphasis is on defence.
    Anyway, statistics aside, I have a good feeling about this game, and that "feeling" has always had a success rate of about...50%!
    Totally agree about Evans. He played very well last night. I was impressed. Football is harsh and unrelenting. And fine margins separate okay, good and class players. He was very good last night, apart from the goal. There, he was nowhere. That one second was the crucial part of the game. You can have a good game for 89 minutes and 59 seconds, but turn off for that one second, and your done.
    He didn't show me anything I didn't know last night. He passed sideways and backwards very well. But that wouldn't help us. And while he was good last night, the one part he needed to be there, he wasn't.
    I don't mind Evans, he is average. But if we need creativity, he lacks that, and if we need the back 4 protecting, he isn't going to do that. If we want to finish 15th again or lower, get him back in the side. Even at 42 I would be happy to stand in the centre circle and pass a ball sideways or back. And never be expected to score a goal, have a shot etc. There are literally thousands of these types about in professional football.

  10. #10
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    As in the captain. You don't pick the guy that runs about alot, and offers nothing else.
    You pick a natural born leader. That's Lenihan.
    If he is fit, generally he starts. After Dack and Travis (who I think should also have been considered for captaincy) he is one of the first names on the team sheet.
    All those players run about alot too, that's a basic requirement for a professional footballer. I'm yet to come across one that doesn't do that.
    But its about what else they offer. And what they bring to the side.
    I have to admit, I am really struggling with Bennett.
    The reason I said inexplicably Auks, was the reason you already agreed with. He is not a starter. Nobody would start him week after week after week. But making him captain, means he now DOES start every week. This decision I find absolutely mental. Of which I find most people actually agree with.
    His performances early in the season where poor. He cost us 3 points vrs Charlton. Yes, I agree he has picked up a bit.
    From the lowest of low standards he set himself, I bloody expected him to. He was absolutely awful.
    This is the second tier of english football, he fell well beneath that last season, and started woefully this.
    So handing him the armband hasn't worked. As he is a liability. Improved off one of the worst performances I have seen from a RB at Rovers in over 35 years of watching, but not nearly good enough.
    15th again with guys like that, and going nowhere.

  11. #11
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    I honestly think you are expecting too much, Champs.
    We are a middling team from a small, economically poor Northern town. We are unlikely to have multiple, class players.
    Corry Evans makes one mistake in 90 minutes in an international game against one of the world's top ten teams, and you suggest that proves he's not good enough for us! Seriously? What - we only want players who NEVER make an error?
    As for Bennett, he was much steadier than Lenihan and Cunningham against West Brom, and when the goal came down his flank, it was Lenihan at fault - not him.
    No, I wouldn't pick him at full-back myself, but I still think he should be judged on each actual performance - rather than on the back of some generalisation about his overall "poorness". When he plays better than someone who is generally the superior player, that should be recognised. Otherwise, we are going back to the approach that plagued Keith Andrews. Even when he had a good game, his critics among the fans couldn't bring themselves to admit it.
    And I certainly wouldn't pick Dack for captain. He sometimes struggles to think for himself - let alone on behalf of other people!
    Graham played a full 90 in the LSC last night, and he apparently put 100% into the game. He obviously volunteered to play because he recognised he hasn't been at his best so far. That is exactly the kind of attitude we want.
    I think we should wait for at least another month before we start to draw conclusions about how this campaign is going to pan out. Our start has been moderate, but not disastrous. To be honest, if it's anything like last season (for us and numerous other clubs), one match doesn't bear much relation to the next, in any case! Results were often up and down like yo-yos in 2018-19.
    And if we WIN our next two games, it won't mean we are suddenly be heading for glory either.

  12. #12
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    I do agree. That's why we get no fans. It's a very poor town. Alot of it is unemployed.
    But so is Burnley. And they aren't owned by anyone as rich as Venkys. And get similar crowds (once you take away support out of the equation) and they manage to stay up. And get up. Three times since Prem started Burnley, spending nothing, have managed to go up. That's a poor town too. Not bankrolled.
    While I totally agree Blackburn is a very poor town. Does that mean we just accept this is it? Not sure I can go along with that. Not everything has to be achieved by spending millions. Which is the only way we got up. Twice.

  13. #13
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    Bennett- you wouldn't start him. I wouldn't. I don't know anyone that would. Apart from Rovers manager. I think that's just best left as it is.

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    I like Evans. I'm not slagging him off. He's never let us down. I think we have slightly improved on him in the players brought in. But if he steps in, he won't let us down.
    Is he creative? No.
    Will we push on with him? No.
    Is he the type that will help us improve? No, I think we can do better.
    Our midfield is absolutely crying out for some creativity. And between all of them, but one has the core ability. Lots of blokes all doing the same things.
    That also wasn't a world class German side. They are quite a way behind England. And I don't rate England that much. Thet smash poor sides. They will lose to anyone decent.
    All I said was I learnt nothing from Evans game. I knew he was okay. I knew he'd make life tough for them. But alas, it wasn't quite good enough. I don't think that's unfair?

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    Graham has been really poor so far. Way way beneath his best. I don't mind that turned out in that last night. Shows he cares. Hopefully he gets up to speed. He's been bloody awful so far. And I'm questioning why? ....He's started games being so poor? And so far off the pace. Hopefully this addresses it.

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    The absence of a Tugay or even a Cairney/McGinn is the key to me. Unfortunately, I don't think we can afford one. That's why I would give Rothwell a go in the "easier" games, although I doubt that he's the answer. More likely (although not certain) is that either Buckley or Rankin-Costello (both?!) will develop into the type of classy midfielder we need. Johnson and Travis are both good, but the evidence is that they are accomplished "holding" midfielders, rather than players who can split defences apart.
    In the short term, it might be that our best chance of some creativity is to risk playing Chapman as a genuine winger - knowing that will also create even more defensive frailty down that flank.
    Perhaps the answer is just to keep trying to grind out 1-0 victories. Not very exciting, but I suspect three of those in a row would shut the Telegraph moaners up, despite the fact that they are demanding flowing football.
    I don't remember too many complaints during that bizarre sequence under Howard Kendall!
    I keep thinking that 4-4-2 might suit us better, but we have an awful lot of forward players to fit in!

  17. #17
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    The left and the right side have been constant problems.
    He sorted the left short term,with downing and Cunningham but neglected the right.
    Bennett isn't the answer at right,neither is nyambe and to top it off we dont have anyone who is a natural winger in front of them,so Bennett/nyambe is always under pressure.
    Nothing new here but let's forget that and spend more millions on a player with potential.

  18. #18
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    That's why I fail to just put all this down to us being poor. We spent very good money on two strikers. One never plays, one gets shoved out of position, in favour of a 34 year old our of form striker at the end of his career. Hindsight is a wonderful thing however, this issue was here last season. He addressed Mulgrew, he addressed LB. Leaving one huge glaring weakness in our side. That any half decent manager will exploit.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AucklandRover View Post
    The absence of a Tugay or even a Cairney/McGinn is the key to me. Unfortunately, I don't think we can afford one. That's why I would give Rothwell a go in the "easier" games, although I doubt that he's the answer. More likely (although not certain) is that either Buckley or Rankin-Costello (both?!) will develop into the type of classy midfielder we need. Johnson and Travis are both good, but the evidence is that they are accomplished "holding" midfielders, rather than players who can split defences apart.
    In the short term, it might be that our best chance of some creativity is to risk playing Chapman as a genuine winger - knowing that will also create even more defensive frailty down that flank.
    Perhaps the answer is just to keep trying to grind out 1-0 victories. Not very exciting, but I suspect three of those in a row would shut the Telegraph moaners up, despite the fact that they are demanding flowing football.
    I don't remember too many complaints during that bizarre sequence under Howard Kendall!
    I keep thinking that 4-4-2 might suit us better, but we have an awful lot of forward players to fit in!
    I think 4-4-2 could work. But I also think 3-5-1-1 would suit who we have player wise, and help in these sorts of games coming up at home to Millwall then Luton, who will bank 11 behind the ball and be tough to break down. I do feel we overlook this, and I feel Cunningham & Rankin -Costello would be very good wing backs. The 3 at the back would be solid, Tosin,Lenihan & Williams. Bring Bennett more into central midfield. For me it should be him or Downing both going for one spot. Offering better cover for the wing backs & defence. And Travis & Johnson in the other CM positions. Good cover with Evans, Buckley can step in easily. Both wing backs are covered by Bell & Nyambe. Dack & Gallagher in the two forward positions. With tonnes of other options to step in, Arma, Rothwell, Brereton, Samuel, Graham.
    That's a good quality side is that for this division. And you'd fancy their chances vrs most side. If/when it clicks we should finally start beating a few sides by 3 or 4.

  20. #20
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    That does make a lot of sense, Champs, and TM clearly considered the idea last season.
    Nyambe, for me, would be well-suited to being a wing-back, as his relatively poor positional sense is what often caught him out at full-back.
    Your back three would pick itself, and it's hard to drop either Travis or Johnson, so - with the keeper - that's six accounted for.
    The other five are much more open to debate.
    I still can't choose between Gallagher and Graham for the No.9 spot. It's 50/50 to me - promise versus experience and toughness. Dack is very hard to leave out, which leaves the two wing-backs and A.N. Other!
    I don't know if Cunningham has much experience in that role, and you could also make a case for Downing, Bell and R-C on the left.
    On the right? Nyambe or Bennett or R-C again.
    That leaves the fifth spot in the five.
    At the moment, I would give Rothwell a go. It's now or never for him.
    As I said in the other post, though, in midfield and attack, the choice is quite bewildering!
    Last edited by AucklandRover; 12-09-2019 at 08:34 PM.

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