I'm sure you're aware of the 'Kean Out' protests. If you aren't, a quick primer. Steve Kean is the manager of Blackburn Rovers, and his job performance during his 10 months in charge has been less than exemplary. Blackburn Rovers are organizing protests and want him fired. The last time they did this, their team defeated Arsenal.
Since that win over the Gunners, Blackburn has been crushed by both Manchester City and Newcastle United before drawing Queens Park Rangers. Now, the Kean Out protests are back. And honestly, I can't help but think the fans' anger is a bit misguided. Not that I think Steve Kean is a good manager or anything, I actually think he's rubbish. That's not the point, though. He hasn't really been given the tools to do more than barely stay up, which means that Venky's went and lied to everyone.
Remember when the Indian chicken nugget makers took over? Promising Ronaldinho and all other kinds of ridiculousness? Instead, the fans were given Ruben Rochina and Yakubu. The most financially aggressive thing the owners have done, the personnel move most exciting, has been not selling Christopher Samba. How ridiculous is that? They sold Phil Jones and did NOTHING with the money. This from an ownership group who said they wanted Ronaldinho.
So, what the hell, Blackburn fans? You're organizing protests to get the manager out? Why isn't your displeasure directed at the board? It's not like they just haven't kept up all of their promises, they've done damn near nothing.
Look at Wigan Athletic, for example. Or Stoke City. These are clubs that gave their managers a little bit of money to get players to stay up. Then a little more. Then a little more. As they spend within their means and stay in the Premier League, a little more money becomes available. Now, Tony Pulis has a small team, albeit one with a lot of history and excellent home support, firmly into the top half and contending for a Europa League place. Is Steve Kean anywhere near as good a manager as Tony Pulis? Almost certainly not, but the management could give him £5m to spend on a center back or winger to find out if they have so much faith in him.
Anyway, Blackburn is not a good team and it'll be embarrassing if we don't beat them. This fixture was an interesting one last year, where a lot of us went into it thinking "this is the kind of game we always screw up." Then we beat the absolute piss out of them. I would really like a repeat performance.
Blackburn have favored a 4-5-1 this year, which should shock no one. They occasionally go to a 4-4-2, but I doubt they'll be so ambitious against a top-half side. Jason Roberts played last week against QPR, but Yakubu is fit and could get his starting spot.
The most dangerous player that Blackburn have is English-Canadian-Jamaican-probably a fourth nationality winger David Hoilett. He's a fantastic talent with blistering pace and great dribbling skills, but the good news for us is that he's the most useless defender in the Premier League. He normally starts on the right, where right back Michel Salgado is out injured. Defensive midfielder Jason Lowe is expected to take his spot. If Harry Redknapp plays Gareth Bale on the right instead of against Hoilett and Lowe, he should probably just resign on the spot.
Morten Gamst Pederson is back from injury, and could come in for either Martin Olsson on the left or for Salgado, taking Lowe's position in a more attack-minded midfield. If they want to play five in midfield, he's actually the most defensive option. Both Mauro Formica and Simon Vukcevic are attacking midfielders. David Dunn and Vince Grella are both out injured. Perhaps a 4-4-1-1 with either Vukcevic or Formica behind a striker is their best option, but that's far too ambitious for Blackburn!
The back line is still missing veteran captain Ryan Nelson, but they won't miss him too much. Christopher Samba and Scott Dann make up perhaps the best central defense pairing on a relegation battler. They're both fantastic defending and attacking set pieces, places where we've been average for quite some time, so watch out for them on dead balls on both ends of the pitch.
Spurs probably won't be making too many changes from their 2-2 draw against Newcastle, but seeing as Blackburn will likely provide little to no attacking threat coming from their center of midfield, I'd like to see some adjustments. I actually have no problem with Scott Parker partnering one of Jake Livermore, Sandro or Tom Huddlestone in most situations, with Modric either ahead of them or wide, VDV ahead of them, wide, or dropped. However, I do in this game, especially if 'Arry anticipates that neither of Formica or Vukcevic will start the match. Start Parker and Modric in the middle with VDV ahead of them and Lennon out wide. We saw on Thursday that he's ready to go, and I'm hoping he was removed early to conserve him for the weekend.
We're struggling with injuries in the center of defense, and it seems likely that Sebastien Bassong will get a start. He's caught a lot of flak over the last year, but he's actually been impressive in his starts this season, though he was average coming in as a substitute against Newcastle. It's always hard for defenders to come on as sudden injury substitutes, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Especially since he'll likely be facing a lone striker, either Roberts or Yakubu. I'm confident that he can get the job done.
I think Harry's lineup is a straight-forward one, but he's surprised us before. What do you think, guys? I think we could probably have a pretty interesting lineup discussion in the comments for this game.
Projected Blackburn Rovers Lineup (4-5-1): Robinson; Givet, Dann, Samba, Lowe; Olsson, N'Zonzi, Petrovic, Pederson, Hoilett; Yakubu
Projected Tottenham Hotspur Lineup (4-4-1-1): Friedel; Assou-Ekotto, Bassong, Kaboul, Walker; Bale, Modric, Parker, Lennon; van der Vaart; Adebayor
Pick: 3-1 Spurs