Blackburn Rovers (0) 0 Sunderland (0) 0: only one Kevin Phillips


At a wet Ewood Park, my star was easy to choose after this disappointing goalless draw.

Welcome SuperKev to the ranks of football pundits (well, I hadn’t heard him in that role before even if you had). Clearly intent on a media career, he was scrupulously even-handed in his comments on events for Sky.

He shared our astonishment at Darren Bent’s first half miss and praised Titus Bramble’s display to the hilt – “my Sunderland friends”, he said, had raised eyebrows at the signing but he had proved a rock.

But he (correctly) criticised Lee Cattermole’s Chamakh-style dive earlier – Dunn was almost as guilty in the second half; both escaped cards – talked (correctly) of Rovers domination when there was a period of it, and almost willed them to survive the free kick after Samba’s dismissal (correct) for bundling over Welbeck in a position judged (correctly, again) by the ref, Lee Probert, who was outstanding, to be outside the box.

Kevin Phillips needn’t have worried. Since that rocket of a Kieran Richardson free kick to beat Newcastle United two or three seasons ago. there has probably not been a single instance of SAFC fans expecting a goal from such a spot. And survive, fairly comfortably, Blackburn did.

It was a poor first half, all told. Bent’s glaring one-on-one miss apart, we created little, partly because we were unable to bring Welbeck and Malbranque as much into the game as should have been the case. And partly because we kept surrendering midfield possession and stupid free kicks bringing pressure on our goal.

And it was poor second half too. With rare numerical advantage, and displaying most of the modest amount of skill on show in difficult conditions, we could and should have imposed ourselves after the break. Bent missed another very decent chance, Gyan had a reasonable shot saved, Zended shot tolerably well but well wide and Bardsley offered a comical last-ditch, long-range effort that had Steve Bruce shaking his head. There wasn’t much else and we were grateful that Benjani played like he did at Sunderland when he came on briefly before being hurt.

And Kevin Phillips? A safe pair of broadcasting hands, with wise and witty moments and a fair judgement on Bent. “If he doesn’t score now,” he said late on after a poor header that should have been a good header and a goal, “he won’t sleep tonight. I wouldn’t.”

Monsieur Salut!

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3 thoughts on “Blackburn Rovers (0) 0 Sunderland (0) 0: only one Kevin Phillips”

  1. Keith and Luke both make good points. I’ve always had a lot of time for Bardsley and I have great hopes of Welbeck. And yes, we’re coming together at the back and the potential is absolutely there.
    But Bruce needs to be taking certainly individuals to one aside and talking tactics to them; such as telling Bardsley he needs to think about his options before he simply blasts the ball in the vague direction of the goal and Welbeck that he has to learn to work in tandem with Bent. Together, they could be as potent a force as Phillips and Quinn but otherwise Welbeck is failing to impress so far. It’s not enough that we can keep goals out; we have to start scoring them and we have to stop relying on Bent to score them. Playing draw after draw isn’t going to put the team where it ALMOST deserves to be. Sharper focus on teamwork is what’s needed to put us there and that has to be down to SB.

  2. Same old, same old. Very predictable performance.

    Why the heck was Bardsley trying to rifle in a 20 yard freekick? Why not Henderson.

    With Bardsley at left back – and admittedly not totally appauling – I feel Ferdinand and certainly McCartney may never kick a ball for us again.

  3. We talk of not scoring but Bent gets little help from Welbeck, he reminds me of Wayne Entwhistle gets forward but leaves the ball behind. Gyan must be at the time when he starts a game. Surely him and Bent would compliment each other and form a potent force up front. Again Bramble was a tower of Strength and and has proven to be a snip at 1 bar. We have amazing potential and are starting to knit together in defence the future looks bright

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