Rovers was the wake-up call some of us needed

Anyone na�ve enough to believe that there are any easy games in the Premier League would have received a salutary lesson on Saturday.

Anyone na�ve enough to believe that there are any easy games in the Premier League would have received a salutary lesson on Saturday.

Blackburn might have been propping up the table but they took the game to City and can justifiably count themselves unfortunate not to take all three points.

I’ve talked in previous columns about how hard it is to break down two disciplined banks of four and not only did Blackburn manage to blunt our attacking threat, but also managed to unpick our defence much more effectively than either Sunderland or Swansea had.

Steve Kean had clearly done his homework and it was noticeable that Blackburn worked very hard to deny us space in wide positions and so limited the supply of dangerous crosses that have been so effective in recent games. Rovers also had the game’s most impressive midfield player in Nzonzi, and Hoilett was a constant threat on the left.


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City were indisputably below their best, but credit for some of that must go to the visitors who did an excellent job of upsetting their rhythm.

To be honest, at 3-1 it looked all over, but once Johnson’s shot had been deflected over the helpless Robinson there was a certain inevitability about what happened next as a combination of City’s refusal to give up and Rovers increasing anxiety was always likely to result in a grandstand finish, and so it proved. Was it a penalty?

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First of all I would have to say that waving your arms around in the box when you have no idea of the whereabouts of the ball is not the brightest move.

That said, I wonder how many of the City fans claiming that it was a stonewall penalty would have taken such a sanguine view had the decision been given at the other end? All that really matters is that it was given, and that Holt buried it with such aplomb.

Luck and poor decisions tend to even themselves out over the course of a season and City are still in the debit column on that front, so I certainly won’t be losing any sleep over it.

Saturday may just be a useful wake up call for the players and the fans. So far we have made pretty serene progress and it was always inevitable that there would be setbacks.

It’s a huge credit to the players that they escaped with a point but some of the defensive lapses and the lack of incisiveness in the second half will inevitably concern Paul Lambert.

There are many positives in having a young, hungry squad, but one of the negatives can be inconsistency. Lambert has frequently talked about managing expectations in interviews this season and perhaps we needed a game like Saturdays to bring everyone back down to earth.

Certainly there will be no knee-jerk reactions from the manager and I suspect that we will see a strong bounceback when we go to Villa on Saturday.

As football fans we often tend to over-react to good and bad performances, and just as a point at Anfield doesn’t make us candidates for Europe, so a sub par performance against Blackburn doesn’t make us relegation fodder.

I’m certainly looking forward to meeting up again with the Yellow Army at Villa Park, and if you want to meet someone who knows all about playing in the Premiership don’t forget our Evening with Craig Fleming on November 18th.

Full details can be found at www.incsc.co.uk. Places are going fast; so make sure you book yours and come along to put your questions to a City legend.

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