SussexBaggie speaks…crackers and crimbo
By Site Editor
Updated Wednesday, 21st December 2011
Tom Harper discusses Albion's win at Blackburn and the festive fixtures
Saturday saw us pick up three much-needed points with a 2-1 victory at Ewood Park, against a Blackburn Rovers side who have struggled for form all season.
Having seen extended highlights of the game, I think it is fair to say that we had the better of the play and fully deserved the win, although to score such a spectacular late winner made the victory even sweeter.
The quality of both of our goals has been one of the main talking points following Saturday’s game, with our first goal coming from a superbly-executed 20-yard volley by James Morrison, and our winner coming from an outstanding curling shot from Peter Odemwingie, after the Nigerian striker had cut inside two home defenders.
There were plenty of contenders for Man of the Match, with almost every single Albion player on the pitch producing a good performance.
Steven Reid was particularly impressive at right-back, with his strong tackling and impressive distribution keeping us solid defensively and also helping us start one or two attacks from the back.
Gareth McAuley is fast becoming one of our most consistent performers, with the impressive centre-back marking Yakubu out of the game and showing a very good understanding with Jonas Olsson once again.
The return of Paul Scharner, alongside Youssouf Mulumbu in central midfield, added a bit more physical strength to the side, with both of them producing the kind of performance which won’t receive many headlines, but which knowledgeable football fans will realise is just as important as the contribution of Odemwingie in the closing stages.
James Morrison was again outstanding, this time on the right of midfield. His goal was just one aspect of a very intelligent display from a player who seems to finally be showing exactly what he is capable of.
Odemwingie also deserves some credit for a slightly improved performance compared to his previous display against Wigan Athletic. He seemed to be willing to work a bit harder than in previous games, and his goal alone has led to him receiving plenty of plaudits.
Tonight (Wednesday) sees us travel to St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle United in our final game before Christmas.
This is the first of four games in twelve days, and the fixture computer has not exactly been kind to us. After tonight’s game, we face difficult home games against Manchester City and Everton, before travelling to Spurs.
Our task has been made more difficult tonight by the fact that Morrison is unavailable due to a hamstring injury, although he may well be fit for the rest of our games over the festive period.
To deal with Morrison’s injury and the fact that both Reid and Scharner are just one booking away from a one-match ban, Roy Hodgson has recalled Gonzalo Jara-Reyes, George Thorne and Marc-Antoine Fortune from their loan spells at Brighton, Portsmouth and Doncaster Rovers respectively.
Whether they will get much of a chance now they have returned remains to be seen, but I would have thought Thorne is definitely a player Hodgson may consider at some point over the next few matches.
There is no doubt that tonight is going to be a very difficult game, but hopefully the players can produce another good performance and come away with another positive result!
I would also just like to take this opportunity to wish all Albion fans, and anybody else reading this, a very Happy Christmas.
Who would you play in the absence of James Morrison? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.