Very much needed 3 points there. If you could get European football next season I think that will be a massive bonus, both in cash terms and in the quality of player you can attract. The summer recruitment is going to be crucial as every pound you spend is going to have to count.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
A much needed victory!
Easy win at the Riverside Stadium
On Wednesday 18th April we played Middlesbrough, currently 18th in the Premier League table, at the Riverside Stadium and although goals by Lens and Chirivella were ruled out we still fairly easily defeated our mediocre opponents.
After just thirteen minutes Lens skimmed one in hard and scored, but it was ruled out because Chirivella had strayed fractionally offside. We did not let that discourage us though (the win at Swansea had obviously done our lads a lot of good!) and just before half-time a low shot by Bennett skidded on the wet surface and it went in!
We remained the better team, also in the second half, but only Chirivella found the net when he powered a header at goal and scored, only it was ruled out by the linesman's flag as Bennett was offside.
Still, a good team effort and another crucial win! Once again Besic was named Man-of-the-Match, but Chirivella also played brilliantly again. We will sorely miss the talented midfielder when his loan ends on 1st May! Chirivella is a more talented midfielder than Grimes, although Grimes scores more goals.
It is a good thing that we won our match considering to-day's other results! Most of our rivals won their games as well, although Swansea lost to Spurs at White Hart Lane.
So now we have to play Spurs, Man City and Liverpool next. At least we know that the other clubs are bound to lose points as well.
And then Besic has set a new club record! Marshall held the old record with 7 Man-of-the-Match awards, but everyone realised that Besic would break that record sooner or later!
Christ! That's a tough run coming up! Good job you've just got 6 points on the board!
Spurs at home though, pull off a win there and maybe, just maybe you have a chance of finishing 5th or 6th.
Easy win - tough games coming up! - make or break for Europe!
Just caught up with this story:
Season 1 - great achievement getting promoted at the first attempt
Season 2 - a solid season staying in the prem with mainly championship players
Season 3 - still a chance of europe but even a top half finish would be good progress
will continue to follow
Spurs far too strong for Rovers
On Saturday 21st April we played Tottenham Hotspur in front of a crowd of 33,000 and although our lads fought like tigers it must be said that Spurs were simply superb to-day and that 'the battle for 6th place' was very clearly theirs.
Tottenham came out with an attacking formation and they were immediately successful. Kane scored his 35th (!) goal of the season when he out-jumped Steele to score the early opener. We tried hard enough but with half an hour on the clock Wanyama doubled the score with a great strike and we realised we were on a hopeless quest.
Even so, deep into the second half, with Claesson brought on to replace Chirivella, Besic tried a volley and scored a superb effort to give us fresh hope!
For the final twenty minutes or so we even brought on Zeqiri for Lens, but Spurs remained the better team and when Alli was knocked to the floor by Besic we were very fortunate to have the referee turn down the penalty appeal!
In injury time Zeqiri finally did get a decent chance though and he hit the ball high and hard towards goal but Lloris did well to parry it, as he had done several times before in this match.
The truth is, we were beaten in the battle for European football by a vastly superior team!
Remarkably, we are still in seventh position, but it's all very close now and we shall have to play Man City at the Etihad next. They have certainly saved the best games for last for us!!
Hat-trick AgŁero after Henley is sent off at the Etihad
On Saturday 28th April we played Man City at the Etihad Stadium. And miraculously we lasted until deep into the second half when Henley was sent off and our defence collapsed so that AgŁero could score his hat-trick within ten minutes or so!
As was to be expected, City were the attacking team, but they somehow failed to find the net and so we remained hopeful until Henley upended AgŁero and received the red card for his professional foul. Seven minutes later the City forward scored with a fantastic strike!
And with our defence collapsing AgŁero scored his second goal in the rebound after a header by GŁndogan. Steele parried the ball but it fell to AgŁero who was left with a simple finish. And AgŁero completed his hat-trick deep into injury time after cutting through our demoralised defence with ease.
The bottom-line would seem to be that we are simply not good enough yet to challenge the 'Big Six' clubs.
So we dropped to eighth position with the team we have to play next, Liverpool, breathing in our necks!
Dang! Always suspected Spurs would have the advantage over you. I thought that was unlucky but what happened at Man City certainly was!
Ouch ! I think that might be game over as far as Europe is concerned. Now we will see a test of your bouncebackability.
Looked to be heading for a point before Henley was sent off. I hoe that you are going to discipline him.
(as an aside, can he please be sent off before the Scotland v Canada match tonight. I think we have a better chance playing with 10 men without him)
The artist formally known as The Eejit
2 maybe expected results but deserved a point v Spurs for sure - superkeepered!
Europe now a long shot - but get applying for Intertot place
Rovers hold Liverpool to stalemate
On Sunday 5th May we played Liverpool in front of a crowd of 32,964 and after the lost games against Spurs and Man City this time we held our impressive opponents to a well-deserved and very useful goalless draw.
Not enough for European football, but a good result nevertheless as we could easily have dropped to 10th place if we had lost this match.
Henley is suspended and Chirivella has completed his loan period and has returned to Liverpool just before we had to play the Reds, but Marshall, our captain, is back from his injury. Claesson replaced Chirivella and Flanagan replaced Henley and both of them did well. In fact, our whole team performed remarkably well!
Liverpool came out with an attacking formation but our defence was watertight again and in fact we were the ones to create the first scoring chance when Flanagan looked to lob the ball over Karius, but it went just over the bar! Marshall also had a decent chance when he headed the ball towards the goal after a free-kick taken by Nyambe, but it was well held by Karius.
In the second half the best chance was for Liverpool. Manť fed Roberto Firmino who got free in the penalty area and shot hard and low, but Steele did well to parry it!
There were a few more attempts on goal, but neither team came even close to scoring and the 0-0 draw was the logical result.
An excellent team effort against a strong Liverpool side. Akť was named Man-of-the-Match.
We still have both Liverpool and Newcastle breathing in our necks, though. It is therefore essential that we beat West Brom in our final League match of the season!
It would be nice to finish above at least one of the Big Six clubs!
I'm sure you'll bow out on a high 8th would be remarkable imo.
How did Chirivella get on overall in his loan spell?
Can you win and Man City lose? Maybe UEFA spot then? Who have Man City got?
Indeed apply for Intertoto otherwise! (How is that decided? Fair play rules?)
Sorry folks, I hate the Intertoto Cup.
Focus is on getting the right players, a midfielder and a striker at least. And then some decent friendlies to help them adjust to their teammates.
Rovers end season on a positive note
On Saturday 20th May we played West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns and while for the longest time this match, like the previous one, seemed to be heading for a goalless draw, two late goals by Zeqiri (!) and Besic meant that we could travel back to Ewood Park with three points in the bag and 8th position in the Premier League table secured!
We played well and we should have scored much earlier against a team who seemed barely motivated, but it wasn't Lens' day and our midfield also struggled without Chirivella and with Grimes being invisible again.
So deep into the second half when there were still no goals we brought on Zeqiri for Lens and Bilal for Bennett and that had the desired effect. With 87 minutes on the clock Zeqiri found the net with a powerful header after Akť had lifted the ball towards him in the area. And in injury time Besic scored our second goal to secure the victory in our final league match of the season!
We quite outplayed our opponents who seemed to be longing for their holidays. Besic was named Man-of-the-Match again.
So we ended 8th in our second Premier League season. Not enough for European football but a remarkable achievement nonetheless.
We still heavily depend on Steele (who continues to improve, like good wine) and on our defence, who have done just as well as last season, but we did score more goals this year.
Still, our midfield which needs strengthening. It would be nice if we could sign Chirivella plus an additional midfielder. And a decent striker would be nice, too, with Lens getting on in age (he will in fact turn 32 in November).
8th is definitely a good season, i'm sure you'll get europe next year.
Must admit I thought you had over spent on Besic but he's been great.
As you said, another midfielder and striker are probably needed in the transfer window.
What an achievement to finish 8 and just 10 defeats as well. Remarkable stuff
I look forwards to seeing what changes are made throughout the Summer.
Shame that Lens will be turning 32 soon though (or is it 31? It says he is 30 in your table?). Would it be worth cashing in on him if he is starting to age?
It looks like Zeqiri hasn't been too bad either, only 4 goals I know but a good average rating and age is on his side. Would you try and keep him like Grimes this time last year?
Awesome season IMO
Transfer activity needs to be done right.
Similar position next year IMO would be great consolidation
Looking forward to see who is interested and attainable so we can all advise