Blackburn Rovers vs Newcastle United League Cup match preview.

Posted on October 26th, 2011 | 30 Comments |

It's a dog's life at Ewood Park at the moment!
It's a dog's life at Ewood Park at the moment!
Venue: Ewood Park, Blackburn.
Date: Weds, October 26th, 2011
Kick-off: 8:00pm
Referee: Robert Madley.

This evenong’s game sees Newcastle United facing a struggling Blackburn Rovers side for a place in the last eight of the League Cup.

Alan Pardew has been saying he has no worries of relegation and that he will definitely be going for a win. Meanwhile, embattled Blackburn are currently lying right at the bottom of the Premier League, and survival in the highest division will undoubtedly be their highest priority, especially after what happened to last years winners, relegated Birmingham City. On the other hand, Blackburn will have home advantage at Ewood Park, and as we all know, anyhting can happen in a cup game!

Stats, previous matches etc…

Blackburn have actually gone one better than Newcastle in the League Cup, having won it in 2002 when they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in the final. Newcastle’s Previous Best was as losing finalists with the Gordon Lee “Dream Team” in 1976, when we were beaten by the same scoreline, 2-1, by Manchester City.

We have only met twice before in the League Cup, with the previous occaision being a 1-1 draw. However it was Blackburn who went through after winning 4-2 on penalties

Both Blackburn’s and Newcastle’s highest Premier League goalscorer is Alan Shearer. he scored an incredible 113 goals in only 138 games between 1992 and 1996. He scored 148 Premiership goals in 303 games for Newcastle between 1996 and 2006.

Of course, our last game against Rovers was a convincing 3-1 home victory around a month ago. Our all time record against the Lancastrians is as follows.

Played 138, Won 56, Drawn 30, Lost 52, For 207, Against 203.

Team News and squads

Though the Wigan game didn’t seem too bad at the time, in hindsight however it now seems like the lads had been fighting in the trenches of the Somme judging by the injury bodycount. As a result of that game, Shola’s definitely out for an estimated four to six weeks with a pulled hamstring. According to Alan Pardew The Fenham Eusebio pulled it only a few minutes after he went on against Wigan last Saturday, but manfully soldiered on.As well as Shola, Steven Taylor picked up a broken nose and his doubtful, if he does play he will almost certinly be in one of those mask things. Possibly the biggest bombshell of all is that Cheik Tiote’s knacked his right knee in that massacre game too. Meanwhole, long term crock, Mike Williamson, is still nursing his ankle and foot.

One consolation might be that Blackburn have a fairly lengthy injury list too, with Scott Dann, Michel Salgado, David Dunn, Ryan Nelsen and and Vince Grella also crocked. Also, Steven Nzonzi is suspended for a game for too many yellow cards and finally, Jordan Slew is cup tied


Newcastle United (from): Tim Krul (G), Rob Elliot (G), Danny Simpson, Ryan Taylor, Davide Santon, Shane Ferguson, Fabricio Coloccini, James Perch, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Dan Gosling, Danny Guthrie, Hatem Ben Arfa, Mehdi Abeid, Haris Vučkić, Alan Smith, Demba Ba, Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands, Sammy Ameobi.

Doubtful: Steven Taylor

Knacked: Mike Williamson, Cheik Tiote, Shola Ameobi

Blackburn Rovers (from): Paul Robinson (G), Mark Bunn (G), Martin Olsson, Chris Samba, Gaël Givet, Jason Lowe, Grant Hanley, Myles Anderson, Bruno Ribeiro, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Radosav Petrovic, Simon Vukcevic, Zac Aley, Robbie Cotton, Ruben Rochina, Junior Hoilett, Mauro Formica, Nick Blackman, Yakubu, David Goodwillie, Jason Roberts.

Knacked: Scott Dann, Michel Salgado, David Dunn, Ryan Nelsen and and Vince Grella.

Other: Steven Nzonzi (suspended), Jordan Slew (cup-tied).

Tactics, formation and selection

If this were a Premiership game, and without our current injury list, Alan Pardew’s approach would probably be easy to predict. It would be a 4-4-2 formation with more or less the same team being picked for the previous games of the season so far. However the injuries to some key players, combined with the fact that this is a midweek League Cup tie makes things somewhat more unpredictable. With Ameobi out for some time, Pardew may very well rest one of the two big lads upfront.

He has said already that he sees Hatem Ben Arfa more as a “Number 10”, than a winger, and it is within the realms of possibilty that he may get the start he craves playing in something more like a 4-4-1-1 than a 4-4-2. Then again, he may just start in the same fashion, once again bringing him on as a sub to shuffle the pack somewhat.

The injuries mentioned above, especially to Mr.T in the defensive midfield role, and Steven Taylor if he doesn’t start, could have a great effect on our previously sturdy defence, which os a worry. Hopefully though, it will be balanced out by Blackburn’s own injury problems, and a need to keep their eyes on Premiership survival.

Looking at the midfield, Dan Gosling is no stranger to the defensive mid role, but due to his immense injury problems, he will be woefully short of match practice.Of course, the usual suspect when it comes a reserve for the snarling midfield terrier role is Alan Smith, but I can often hear the groans from Tyneside down here in London whenever his name is mentioned in terms of being selected. It also should not be forgotten that like Rob Lee many years back, much feted fancy Frenchman, Yohan Cabaye, is something of a “complete” cental mid. He played mostly in the centre of a 4-3-3 in France and whilst he can handle a creative playmaking role exceptionally well, he is also a very hard worker who can tackle and get stuck into a more defensive role with great aplomb too. “Box-to-box” type, Danny Guthrie, also display defensive tendencies and has been picked in place of a suspended Tiote in the past.

On the wings, while in the Premiership, Jonas Gutierrez and Gabriel Obertan have held firm to their places, Sylvain Marveaux has proved himself to be not too shabby either, and it certainly wouldn’t be considered to be a “weakened” team should he get a starting place on either side

In the back four, with Williamson still out, we’re left with James Perch. Whist Ryan Taylor and Danny Simpson have held their places on the flanks of the back four in Pardew’s “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” Premiership philosophy, it is also within the realms of possibilty that we may see a first start for versatile Davide Santon on either side of the back four.

In the goalkeeping position, of course, there is no more Steve Harper for backup in that position, and should Pardew opt for a change, it will be Rob Elliot who will be between the sticks. Though he disappointed somewhat when he started in our previous League Cup game against Niottingham Forest, he will probably be itching for a chance to put that right.

Apart from those mentioned above, youngsters such as Shane Ferguson, Mehdi Abeid and the immensely talented Haris Vučkić will mo doubt be hoping for a run out in the game too, along with oldie, Peter Lovenkrands too.

On the Blackburn side, I am by no means an expert, this is a Newcastle United ‘blog after all, but much like Pardew, Kean seems to have kept faith with a conservative 4-4-2 formation, though with considerably less success.

Their last game against us saw Yakubu and Formica as the front two, Petrovic and the now suspended Nzonzi making up the central midfield with Hoilett and Rochina on the left and right wings respectively. Samba and the now injured Dann made up the central defensive pairing, with givet and Lowe as left and right backs. So there will certainly be two changes at least, and as I mentioned, the quest for Premiership survival above all else may dictate several more.

Well tht about wraps things up for the moment, but as well as this, I have also done our regular “what the managers are saying” piece as supplement to this match preview. Also, our regular “match banter” feature will go online about an hour or so before kick off, so stay tooned!

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1092 articles on this blog.

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30 Responses

  1. CB concerns me most – is Perch really the only option? Tavenier on loan still?




    Subs: Elliot, Simmo, Jonas, Gosling, Gutherie, Best, Obertan.

  2. i stand by my team selection btw – Santon replace our slightly weaker simmo, Smith was on sub bench and Pards clearly feels his exp counts for inclusion, Marv has looked more impressive than Obertan (who looks like a very early Jonas, or dare i say, Routledge)…..

    Only Vucikc for Jonas is a bit experimental (and unlikely).

    Any links for the game???

  3. All this team selection for tonight it well and good, but what if we win and get manu or Liverpool or Arsenal.
    Will we field a strong team against them or not bother so we can keep players fit for the league instead?

    Yes a pessimist but I see this game as possibly the last game for us in the CUP.

  4. Kadar?????

    Could be wrong but it looks as though the bookies have Blackburn as favourites for the game. So we might be starting as underdogs agaist the bottom team, what???

  5. One change not mentioned is the goal keeper position. I realy hope we don’t use Rob Elliot tonight he was shite in the Forest match and realisticly this is our best chance for a trophy. Keepers don’t need resting if anything match sharpness could be a good reason to leave the Flying Dutchman in the goal.

  6. I´d like to express a couple of pointers. First is that I don´t see how people find it more important to try to win it with our “strongest lineup”. Though we would get an European place it´s like people think it´s certain we´ll win it. I´d never risk the first team players(still I think we have around 20 equally able players) on the cost of younger players. Especially when we have so many unbelieveable good players. In my view Ferguson is even a better left back than Raylor. Vuckic or Abeid would not look out of place either.

    Same with Sammy on the wing instead of Guti. Sammy has the end product and the dribbling! We have Marveaux on the other wing who in my view is one of our top midfielders and if it would not be for the importance of Obertan work ethic he´d have long since started. People also seem to forget that we have the striker Alan Smith as well. And pardew played Alan Smith the last time in the league there, when he came on as a sub.

    We lack players in central defense. But on the same time we have Santon and Kadar who can both play there. I´d at least want to Santon in CB to christmas if Taylor or Colo gets injured instead of Perch! Perch is really dangerous in cb as he commits a lot of fouls.

    Team for me
    Simpson Santon Colo Ferguson
    Marveaux Abeid Cabeye Sammy
    Smith Lovenkrands

    Highly important to give BA a rest. Same really goes with Cabeye but in my view it would be too risky to take him out of the midfield. It would be really only Guthrie who would bring some calmness in the midfield but wouldn´t risk it. Smith is clearly important. Top Top striker in his days and never had to use any speed or so on. That means Best will be able to get rest as well. People will perhaps point at the inexperienced left wing. But both players can run and attack, they´d terrorize the Blackburn defense. Wouldn´t be too scared of Salgado running up the wing(wasn´t he there btw?) Hoilett certainly a risk factor though I can´t see Ferguson doing a worse job on him than Raylor, Sammy would have to give more support though.
    And never ever would I risk putting Elliot in here. Krul all day long for me.

  7. Johann I agree with you about not risking first team players at the expence of game time for the youngsters but, I think too many changes all at once could be a bit drastic. Having a solid spine that isn’t rotated too often is key in my view.
    One point I definatly disagree with is having Smudger up front. He hasn’t scored a goal for us ever ( except pre season under big Sam ) and for me he would be a better option to have on the bench should we need to change anything late on.

  8. Something I was wondering .. Did Jonas make Enrique look a better player than he is? Also, does he deserve more credit for ryan Taylors successful stint at left back? Not only has his end product picked up some what but I think his experience and work rate have helped Taylor no end. Undoubtedly Tiote and Cabaye get much credit and deservedly so, but I for one would like to say Jonas is one of our stand out performers so far this season.

  9. I agree shole unliker with the danger of going too much away from the spine of the team. If S.Taylor is fit I´d play him and move Santon instead of Fergy in left back. Thus having the defense nearly the same. Then having Cabeye in midfield(Tiote injured so forceful change) is sufficient in my view but the team I put up it´s a risk, I give you that but worth it in my view.

    On Smith it´s a wild-card. Might be better suited to change the game later on I agree with that, hadn´t crossed my mind but I mainly want to give rests to both BA and BEST and if Arfa is suited for a start against Stoke I wouldn´t start him here. But you could try to go with Lovenkrands and Ben Arfa and then change lovenkrands for best or ba at half time if he´s ineffective.

  10. Aye Jonas has been even better this term.
    & yea, he did make Jose look better by helping him out.

  11. stoke will try & scare HBA with their ‘tough guy’ stance.
    HBA tonight for me & Marveaux.

  12. Benny and Marv “have” to start tonight. Keeping two players of that class confined to bench is a bad move.

    2-0 to us tonight!

  13. Shocked so many like Shola says:
    October 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    “Something I was wondering .. Did Jonas make Enrique look a better player than he is?”

    He seems to be doing well enough without him at Liverpool Shocked so many like Shola. Unlike Carroll, he has been something of a success there so far.

    Shocked so many like Shola says:
    October 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

    “One change not mentioned is the goal keeper position.”

    You’re right Shola, or you were because I have mentioned it now!

  14. milner says:
    October 26, 2011 at 9:38 am

    “Any links for the game???”

    Milner, If there are any, they’ll only go half an our or so before the game. Check out our “match banter” and there may be some in there.

  15. If we want to win a cup, we should play our strongest team with as many of the regular first team starters as possible.

    We can afford to lose a league game and recover but we cannot do that with a cup game.

  16. Wonder if manusa get sanctioned for fielding 11 changes last night?
    Oh wait…it’s manusa, so scratch that, course they won’t, no one will have even mentioned it.

  17. JE has been an unmitigated success at LFC. He’s already got a few assists this season. Let’s not hate.

    Is Saylor definitely out? If he can play for half an hour against Wigan with a broken nose, why can’t he start tonight? I don’t like Perch starting at all. They’ll own him on set pieces.

    If Williamson is out for a month and Kadar isn’t in our plans we need to hit the scrap heap and get an actual CB.

    Krul must start, though I can understand a fear of overplaying him, as we only have two keepers at the club.

    For me, assuming Saylor can play:

    Santon Saylor Colo Raylor
    Jonas Cabaye Guthrie Marveaux

    Bench: Elliot, Perch, Simpson

    If Saylor can’t make it, unfortunately Perch has to go in and Ferguson is on the bench.

    I’m irritated at the media’s fixation on Shola’s injury. Apparently we’re “rocked” by an injury to our perma-crocked third choice forward but losing Tiote isn’t worth any notice. Pfft!

  18. CLiNT-to be fair, I think that’s a PL rule. Though it would have been overlooked either way.

  19. Clint @ 18

    Yes we can afford to lose v stoke & everton with manc, manusa & chelsea after that.

    However, we cannot recover and cannot continue in the cup competition if we lose tonight.

    One of the reasons we are doing so well is that we are not chopping and changing players.

  20. So is it the general consensus that we should go for the Carling (rabbit shit) Cup, as the only way to get a European spot ?
    Guess in that case do most fans question if we are deserving of our current league position ?

    Well I think this is a good time to check out some of the youngsters, that and about time we gave a starting role to two of our (IMO) best players, HBA & Marvelous.

    So heres my line up,


    We can always sub Ferguson with Jonas.
    Abeid with Sammy or Guthrie.
    And Santon with Raylor.

    At least we should be able to see some nice football,
    with both the left and right sides of the midfield interchanging, just like Barca, causing havoc among the Blackburn defenders.
    Yeah right !
    Not with this manager i’m afraid !
    Ah well , we can dream !

  21. It is not a case of seeing the cup as our best way into europe chuck, in my view it is our best chance at a trophy. Of course i’d love it if we could win the F.A cup but any trophy is welcome ( and long overdue ).

  22. tunyc says:
    October 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm
    JE has been an unmitigated success at LFC. He’s already got a few assists this season. Let’s not hate.

    I didn’t mean to imply any hatred towards Jose infact I haven’t followed much of the Scousers this season. I was also quite gutted to see him leave tbh.

  23. Kamar
    You tend to make these statements as if they were fact.
    I,m talking bout “one of the resons we are doing so well is that we are not chopping and changing players”
    What you mean is, in your opinion, no?
    Face it we were luck in a number of games, Wolves, Wigan, QPR, to name just three and they are all clubs presently in lower league positions, actually the only real opposition has been Arsenal and Spurs
    Where admittedly we did well.
    Are you for instance in favor of fielding the same side against say a Stoke and an Arsenal side and would you employ the same tactics against both, i think not ?
    In the not too distant future, we will see exactly how good a side we are, the schedule against the quality sides will tell the tale.
    My point is a lot of fans are beginning to believe that we are a deserving fourth place team, lets see come Christmas, when the season shakes out who’s who.

  24. I can’t see Guthrie not starting for Tiote. He’s consistently been AP’s first choice for a CM sub.

    I’m very worried about Perch in this game. If I’m Kean, the gameplan is to park the bus and target him and our fullbacks on set pieces. It could work. Then again, it’s Kean so…